Hog, a domestic animal believed to be descended from the wild swine of Asia and of Europe. Mature swine are called hogs and young swine are called pigs, but in common usage hogs, pigs, and swine are often used as synonyms. The female hog is called a sow; the male, a boar. The young hog after being weaned is called a shoat or shote. A virgin female is called a gilt. A male hog castrated before reaching maturity is called a barrow; one castrated as an adult, a stag.

Hogs are now found on all inhabited continents and in nearly every farming region of the United States. They were domesticated in China by about 2900 B.C. and in Europe by about 1500 B.C. Fossil remains of wild hogs have been found in Europe and Asia but not in America. The swine that gave rise to modern breeds were descended from the European wild boar and the Indian wild boar. Chinese hogs were brought to Europe and crossed with European hogs, establishing the foundation for present breeds. This article discusses domesticated breeds. For information about some wild species, s.

The Chester WhiteThe Chester White is a large American breed.

The flesh of the hog is used extensively as a food, but Muslims and many Jews avoid it for religious reasons. Pork is eaten fresh or cured (preserved) in various ways as bacon, sausage, and ham. Parts of the intestines are used as sausage casings. Lard is the refined fat of hogs. Pigskin is a good-quality leather. Brushes are made from hog bristles. Parts of the carcass that are of no other use are ground up, dried, and used as fertilizer or as tankage for feeding other hogs.

Certain organs and organ systems of hogs are similar in anatomy and physiology to those of humans, and hogs are often used in research experiments. A special breed of small hog, called the mini-pig, is used as a laboratory animal to test the effects of food additives, drugs, pesticides, and environmental pollutants. Heart valves from hogs are often used to replace defective human heart valves. The hormones insulin and heparin are extracted from the hog carcass and used in medicine. Hog skin is used as a skin graft for burn victims.

Hog terms
Barrow is a male hog whose reproductive organs have been removed by an operation.
Boar is a male hog of any age.
Farrow means to give birth to pigs.
Gilt is a female hog usually less than 1 year old that has not given birth to pigs.
Herd is a group of hogs.
Litter is the group of pigs a sow gives birth to at one time.
Pig is a young hog. The term is sometimes used for a hog of any age.
Pork is the flesh, or meat, of hogs.
Shote, or shoat, is a pig about 8 weeks old that has been weaned (taken off its mother's milk).
Sow is an adult female hog.
Swine is another name for hogs.