Meishans are a medium size heritage pig growing to 250 to 400 lbs at maturity. Light gray to dark gray in color they are sparsely haired. White or pink socks are common Meishans may exhibit one or more white or pink socks extending above a cloven hoof (which is light colored). Socks may or may not be present on all four hooves. Pink may also occur on the tip of the nose and in the belly area extending as high as the belt line with sparse light grey almost white hairs bordering the pink. Full white belting of any kind or color of any kind in areas not listed are signs of probable genetic contamination.
Meishans have pendulous ears and develop deep fatty folds on their faces as they mature. Growth rates are slower than commercial hogs but in many cases faster than many other heritage breeds. Meishan Pigs are a lard carcass hog and produce a higher fat to meat ratio than domestic commercial carcass hogs.
Meishans are renowned as a hyper productive pig. It was this hyper productivity that initiated the desire to study the breed and resulted in the 1989 United States importation. By a sow’s second to third farrowing, litters of 12-18 piglets or more are not uncommon. In support of these larger litters Meishans typically have 16-20+ teats. They are also renowned as excellent mothers. Meishan sows typically have higher weaning to farrowing ratios than other breeds of pigs.
This breed of pig is also extremely docile and even sedentary. Meishan pigs that receive adequate nutrition rarely root and have a significantly lower environmental impact than other breeds of commercial and heritage hogs.
The meat of a Meishan pig is intensely micro marbled and has an extremely fine grain. Combined with a very fine fat structure this results in extremely tender meat.