The various strains of Landrace swine are the descendants of the famous Danish Landrace hogs that were developed in Denmark. The development of the breed began in about 1895. It resulted from crossing the Large White hog from England with the native swine. It was largely though the use of the Landrace that Denmark became the great bacon-exporting country, with England as the chief market.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture received a shipment of the Danish Landrace in 1934 from their native country. Many of those hogs were used in cross breeding by the Department and by Agricultural Experimental stations to which they were made available, and became ancestors of a number of new breeds. The foundation stock of the American Landrace were those hogs that were bred pure or carried a small infusion (one-sixteenth to one-sixty-fourth) of Poland China blood. The Department of Agriculture followed its policy of selling desirable seed stock to private individuals. Thirty eight head of boars and gilts were imported from Norway that carried Norwegian, Danish and Swedish Landrace blood. Their blood is being blended into the American Landrace and gives a broader genetic base to the breed.
The American Landrace is a white hog of long body length, having sixteen or seventeen pairs of ribs. The arch of back is much less pronounced than on most other breeds of swine. For some hogs the back is almost flat. The head is long and rather narrow and the jowl is clean. The ears are large and heavy and are carried close to the face. There is an admirable meatiness about them on foot and particularly on the rail. The rumps are long and comparatively level and the hams are plump but trim. The sides are long, of uniform depth, and well let down in the flank. The sows are prolific and satisfactory mothers. The sow have always been noted for their milk producing abilities. Studies have shown that they reach their top milk production after five weeks of lactation which is later than other breeds compared.
The hair color of the American Landrace must be white. Dark skin spots are considered undesirable. A few freckles on the skin are allowed but black hairs are not. Black Spotted pigs are not eligible for registration.
Reference:Briggs, Hilton M. 1969. Modern Breeds of Livestock. Third Edition, MacMillan Company
Belgian Landrace: The breed's development began in the late 1920's, with the native Landrace type, which was described as "a short, fat and poorly muscled pig."' In the early 1930's, the German Landrace was introduced and crossed with the native stock. The German stock that was introduced was said to have had an infusion of British Large White. Following World War II, Dutch Landrace were imported and used. These were said to have carried recent introductions of Danish pig "blood". The selection and genetic improvement program that followed resulted in a breed that had fairly good fertility, strong constitutions and more satisfactory rates of growth and feed conversion.
The great emphasis in Belgium swine production has been to produce a very high quality of fresh meat. Most pork in Belgium is marketed as fresh pork rather than as cured or processed meats as is true in so many pork consuming countries. This has led Belgium to the production of a higher percentage of lean in their swine, a lean of very high quality and a minimum of fat cover that doesn't sacrifice fertility in the breeding pen or economy of gain on the feeding floor. There is extensive testing to aid in reaching these objectives, with eight stations testing over 5,000 pigs per year to isolate those strains capable of further improvement.
The breed, which is often referred to as the "butcher's pig," has evolved in the last half century. The Belgian Landrace is a muscular white breed with heavy drooping ears. They are not as extreme in length and other physical characteristics as some other Landrace strains. They may be described as a very practical type that are sound in feet and legs, have good fertility, are good mothers and milk well until early weaning. The common practice in Belgium is to wean pigs at about three weeks of age. The breed has been especially selected for good performance in confinement.
Reference: Briggs, Hilton M. 1983. International Pig Breed Encyclopedia.