A Breed Profile
Purpose of the Breed:
The Kunekune pig yields a sweet succulent pork with generous marbling recognized by chefs, charcuterie crafters, and artisanal butchers. Keepers value them for their kind and trustworthy nature as well as their thriftiness on pasture. As a heritage breed, they retain the valuable characteristic of breeds gone by such as: climate adaptability, innate mothering instincts, resourceful foraging conversion, and a disinclination to roam.
History of the Kunekune Pig:
The Kunekune (pronounced cooney-cooney, meaning “plump” or “round”) thought to be of Asian descent, was kept as a landrace breed by the Maori tribe of New Zealand in the early 1900s. The Maori valued the Kunekune breed for steady temperaments and copious amounts of fat, traditionally used by the Polynesians in food preservation. As more European colonists started to settle in New Zealand and eating trends shifted the Kunekune population began to diminish. Conservation began in 1980 with only 18 animals as the basis for the New Zealand foundation Herd Book.
The first notable American import took place in 2005 by Jim and Lori Enright, founders of the American Kunekune Pig Registry and our nations Foundation Herd Book.
The Kunekune pig is smaller than standard breeds of swine with sows weighing up to 250lb and boars 300lbs. Their form is relatively long, level, and deep with a uniform covering of flesh and fat. Legs are short to medium contributing to their compact stature. Their broad heads, dished faces, and signature short snouts contribute to their efficiency on pasture. Ears vary from pricked to semi-lopped. The Kunekune is a hairy and colorful breed of gingers, creams, browns, blacks, spotted and solids. Wattles or piri piri are a defining characteristic. A curly tail is preferred.
The complete Breed Standard can be found at:
The Kunekune pig breed boasts a wide following in sustainable and low-impact agriculture. With current trends focusing on small farming, grass fed, and open air husbandry the Kunekune offers a viable option for those looking to turn a profit on flavorful pork. Breeders across the nation are successfully finishing their pigs with alternative feeding options such as forage, whey, spent grains, garden waste, windfall fruit, native nuts, and of course pasture. No other breed of swine grazes leaving pastures undisturbed with little to no rooting. This attribute allows the Kunekune to be utilized in rotational grazing systems and their docile nature permits co-habitation with other breeds of livestock and even poultry. As a heritage breed growing times are slower than commercial pigs but keepers have adapted their market by offering Kunekunes for pork at all ages from suckling pigs and whole roasters to finished hogs.