It’s a pig with a perm!
The Mangalitsa or Mangalica is a very rare breed of pig that is found in Hungary and has an unusual growth of curly hair over its body, very similar to that of a sheep. The fleece of the Mangalista can be black, or red, but is most commonly blonde. There is only one other pig breed that is now considered to be extinct, the Lincolnshire Curly Coat of England, that had a long coat like the Mangalista. With its unusual coat, this pig was nearly lost to extinction much like the Lincolnshire but he 1990s when there were fewer than 200 of them in known existence.
This pig breed was started in the 1830s in the Austro-Hungarian Empire after Archduke Joseph Anton Johann, the seventh son of the Roman Emperor Leopold II, received some Sumadija pigs from a Serbian prince and crossed bred them with Bakony and Szalonta pigs. The result: the Mangalitsa! This pig was well-loved by the Archduke because of its look and because they are inclined to put on much weight rather quickly. Initially, the Mangalitsa was reserved for the Habsburg Royalty, but because of its great taste, it became so popular that by the end of the 19th century it was the main breed in all of Europe.
The care of this rare breed does not require anything special. The Mangalitsa is one of the fattiest pigs int he world with fat accounting for 65% to 70% of its body weight. The flavor of the meat of the Mangalitsa is considered to be one of the tastiest and best flavors of all pigs due to its reddish, highly marbled with creamy white fat. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and natural antioxidants which is due to its natural diet of forage, wheat, corn and barley. The Mangalitsa’s lard is lighter and tends to melt at a lower temperature than lard from other pigs because it contains for unsaturated fat. The fat, bacon and its salami were demanded products in the European market.
Although this breed was almost lost by the 1990s, interest for the Mangalitsa breed was renewed and in 1994, the Hungarian National Association of Mangalica Pig Breeders was established to protect the breed. Following the next twenty years, traditional Mangalica sausage with sweet paprika became available in the Hungarian supermarkets again. Today there are more than 8,000 breeding sows in Hungary producing 60,000 animals each year. The Mangalitsa is now considered to be out of the danger zone of extinction.
So now you know about the pig with a perm!
* Information on the Mangalista can be found at this website or from this website.