Pig vs Boar
It may come as a surprise to many, but the term pig actually has its own specific definition. In fact, for pig growers, ‘farmers,’ or those who raise pigs and deal with them on a business level, that is, livestock, a broader and more precise description is given and used.
So what are the common terms that we get to use and hear these days? We have pigs, of course, which is the most common. We also hear swine, boar, hog, and even wild boars. So how are these terms inter-related, if, indeed they are? In fact, how are they different from each other?
What is a pig?
A pig, by strict definition, is the general term that denotes the genus, or species, so to speak. Based on research, there are actually 10 existing species of pig in the world, and most are seen and can be found in Asia, Europe, and a few in Northern Africa. Pigs actually include wild boars, warty pigs, and even bearded pigs. Then again, when you think of boars, you think of something wild, but pigs are considered the ‘domesticated’ sort. These domesticated pigs actually come from wild boars and there are four hooves on each foot. The uniquely shaped snout is considered very useful and it has a cartilaginous disk at the tip of their snout. Essentially, such domesticated pigs are highly useful in terms of meat. In terms of preparation, you have ham, bacon, gammon, and pork. Their size may range from the really small in dimension, wherein they are called ‘piglets,’ to being massive in size and are usually pink in color. Then again, there are massively sized pigs that are brown, black, grey, or with mixed combinations.
What is a boar?
With that definition of pig above, how is a boar different, then? For starters, a boar is the male swine. A boar is another type of pig or swine. They are usually associated with and sometimes the term ‘wild boar’ is loosely used with the term boar. One of the more common differences of a boar to a pig is the fur. The fur of a wild boar has more stiff bristles and fine hair. The coloration of the boar is more dark grey, black, and brown. To help in also determining a boar from other types of swine or pig, domesticated or otherwise, a boar, which is also a male swine or pig, has not been castrated yet, hence, it is and can be used for breeding. Once castrated, they are ready for meat production.
So you might then wonder what is the female term for a swine or pig? The term is called a sow. Here are the general and specific terms that are used not just in layman’s terms but those in the livestock, so you will not just be aware of how these are supposed to be used, but also to know how one is different from the other. The term ‘swine’ is similar to cattle, hence, a collective term. A ‘pig’ is an immature swine, while a ‘hog’ is considered the mature version of the swine. A ‘gilt’ is the female term, until it delivers piglets, and once that happens, it is now called a ‘sow.’ A ‘barrow’ is a castrated male, while a ‘boar’ is the male version that has not been castrated yet.
A pig is a term that denotes a genus, also interchangeable with swine. It is considered a young, domesticated swine that is not yet ready for breeding.
A boar is a term that is used for a male swine that has not been castrated yet, hence, ready for breeding, or shall be used for breeding purposes.
There are many interchangeable terms that are currently used and possibly ‘abused’ when referring to this livestock and wild animal. More often, we automatically use the term ‘pig’ when referring to anything that is meat related, wherein you think of bacon, ham, and similar meat related products for consumption.