The Ossabaw pig breed is unusual and important for three reasons. Its history as an isolated island population has meant that the Ossabaw is the closest genetic representative of historic stocks brought over by the Spanish. Second, the presence of pigs on Ossabaw Island provides scientists with an exceptional opportunity to study a long-term feral population, which is well documented.
The Pietrain Pietrain, Belgium, the village from which the breed takes its name, was the birthplace of the breed. The exact origin is unknown but the local breed was "brought to the fore" during the difficult period of the pork market in 1950-51. The breed became popular in its native country and was exported to other countries, especially Germany.