The British Saddleback is a breed of domestic pig created in the 20th century from the amalgamation of two similarly-coloured breeds, the Essex and Wessex Saddleback.
The origin of the British Saddleback is better authenticated than most. Lord Western, while travelling in Italy, saw some Neapolitan pigs and came to the conclusion that they were just what he needed to improve the breed of Essex pigs. He procured a pair of Neapolitans and crossed them with Essex sows. One of his tenants Fisher Hobbs of Boxted Lodge availed himself of the opportunity to use the Neapolitan-Essex boars belonging to Lord Western and crossed them with his coarse Essex sows and in process of time established the Improved Essex. Sidney in his last edition of Youatt on the Pig, says “The improved Essex probably date their national reputation from the second show of the Royal Agricultural Society, held at Cambridge, in 1840, when a boar and sow, both bred by Mr Hobbs, each obtained first prizes in their respective classes.” In his 1855 novel Westward Ho!, Charles Kingsley describes one character as a "Fisher Hobbs' pig", and adds:
...and if you do not know, reader, what a Fisher Hobbs is, you know nothing about pigs, and deserve no bacon for breakfast.
—Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho!, Chapter VIII
British Saddlebacks are hardy and noted for their mothering ability. The breed continues to be used mainly to provide coloured dams for the production of first-cross porkers, baconers and heavy pigs. The breed is known for its grazing ability and is very hardy. It has secured a niche in outdoor and organic production. Kingsley (supra) describes the breed as "a pig of self-helpful and serene spirit, ..., fatting fast while other pigs' ribs are staring through their skins".