Turopolje pig

The rich oak forests of Turopolje shaped one of the oldest original European pig breeds – the Turopolje pig. The Turopolj pig is a medium-sized pig breed with a long …

The rich oak forests of Turopolje shaped one of the oldest original European pig breeds – the Turopolje pig.

The Turopolj pig is a medium-sized pig breed with a long trunk, and as a fat pig, it has relatively more meat compared to other fat pigs (Mangulica, Baguna, Sishka and others). The breed has a high degree of adaptability to the environment and a high degree of resistance to non-infectious diseases, and with low requirements, it is excellent for keeping in an open area, which is also confirmed by the centuries-old traditional way of keeping it in forest grazing. It is exceptionally adapted to the biotope of marshy pastures and meadows and floodplain oak and beech lowland forests, where it can stay almost all year round. The breeding and propagation of the Turopolj pig was based on a very simple technology with a specific way of feeding, which was mainly based on forest grazing, acorns and final fattening with corn. Fattened pigs reached a weight of 170 to 220 kg. The meat of the Turopolska pig is juicy and pink in color and is therefore highly valued.

The origin of the Turopolska pig comes from the wild European pig – Sus scrofa ferus (Sus mediteraneus), and is therefore considered one of the oldest original pig breeds in Europe. The first written evidence of pig farming in Turopolje dates back to 1352, when the Croatian-Hungarian King Ljudevit ordered an investigation into pig robberies in Turopolje Lug. It developed through three phases: in the 6th century there was a crossing of the Frisian with the Karst-Polish breed in the area of Turopolje, in the 17th century it was crossed with a “white pig” from Hrvatski Zagorje or Štajerska, and in the second half of the 19th century the pig farmer Miško pl. Through crossbreeding, Leder gets the Turopolian pig as we know it today. Word about quality Leder pigs spread between the Sava and Kupa rivers, which contributed to their spread. The second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century is the period of the rise of the modern Turopolj pig, and it becomes an important economic factor known on the markets of Austria and Hungary. In the period from 1955 to 1970, foreign meat breeds entered Croatian pig farming, market requirements changed in the ratio of meat to fat, forest grazing was prohibited, and the breed lost its economic importance in Croatia and almost disappeared.

The revitalization of the breed comes through the renewal of the Noble Municipality of Turopolje (1991), which, with the program of 1994, starts the project of preserving the breed, and in the same year starts the registration of cattle in the register.

The preservation of this original Croatian pig breed is important from the aspect of preserving cultural heritage, but much more so because of the preservation of genetic diversity. Therefore, work is being done to increase the number of individuals in several localities, further implementation of DNA analysis of the entire population is underway, and the storage of genetic material in the gene bank is also needed, as well as monitoring of breeding and commercialization through traditional products.

As the oldest Croatian and one of the oldest European breeds, the Turopolj pig has a significant role in the process of using the natural resources of the Republic of Croatia, therefore, its preservation and protection is of national importance.