The Mangalica is the only breed of pig unique to Hungary. It was developed in the 1800s and generally appeared in three varieties: blonde, black and swallow-bellied. The red Szalonta pig was gradually bred to create the red Mangalica over the course of the 20th century. Of the Mangalica varieties, the blonde Mangalica is most common. The black variety is now unfortunately extinct, while, aside from their colour, the swallow-bellied and red pigs are identical to the blonde variety.
The most striking feature of the Mangalica pig is its coarse, woolly coat. The fur is thinner and smoother in summer, in winter it is thicker, rougher and curlier. Mangalica pigs usually produce 4 to 8 striped piglets weighing between 600 to 1000 grams. Mangalica pigs weigh up to 8 kg after 7 to 8 weeks, but later grow more slowly than modern domestic pig breeds. It is around this age that their stripes disappear.
Mangalica pigs are tough and tolerate cold weather well. A 150-160 kg pig produces around 70 kg of cooked fat alongside other cuts and bacon, making the Mangalica the world's 'fattest' pig. In November 1924, a Mangalica Exhibition was held in Budapest, where one pig was found to produce 73.5% fat as measured against its total body weight.
The breed enjoyed a golden age until the 1950s, when the meat was a highly successful export product. Due to changing dietary habits and the growing popularity of leaner pork, however, sales of Mangalica declined in the 1960s, resulting in a rapid decrease in numbers. In 1991, with less than 200 animals worldwide, the breed was almost extinct. The number of swallow-bellied and red Mangalica pigs dropped as low as 30, so they were seriously threatened with extinction for several months. In 1973, the Mangalica was declared a protected breed and their breeding has been supported by the government since 1974. Today, partly due to the international success of the breed, the Mangalica is thriving once again.