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Beautiful Pigs: Portraits of Fine Breeds    by Andy Case & Andrew Perris order for
Beautiful Pigs
by Andy Case
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Who would have thought pigs came in so many varieties or could be so appealing? U.K. rare pig breeder Andy Case and photographer Andrew Perris make an excellent case for Beautiful Pigs in their charming gift book.

Lord Salisbury's Foreword speaks of his own interest in traditional pig breeds, and of raising both weaners (raised for their parts to be sold and eaten) and cosseted 'pigs bred for the show ring'. The back of the book includes a Glossary of porcine terminology, as well as references to Shows & Associations.

In his Introduction (which begins with Churchill's 'I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals'), the author speaks of porcine intelligence, pigs' strong maternal interest, adaptability and playfulness. He addresses domestication of the wild boar by settled farmers; development of the breeds; breeds worldwide; all the aspects of showing of pigs; and keeping and caring for pigs.

The remainder of the volume offers two page displays (a background summary, Features, boar and sow Size, Use, Related Breeds, and Origin and Distribution on one, with a color photo on the other) of different breeds. They are categorized under Historic Breeds, Champion Breeds, and Exotic Breeds. Reportage offers candid shots of the world's leading pig shows.

I rather like the look of the Old English and the Hampshire, but you will find your own favorites. Some, like the Blonde Mangalitsa and White Vietnamese Potbellied, are downright strange, while others look more or less like like the plump, pink critters we expect from the word pig. Overall, author and photographer bring home the bacon in Beautiful Pigs, which would make a suitable gift for any piggy collector on your list.

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