Saving the Guinea Hogs: The Recovery of the American Homestead Breed

Cathy R. Payne


Saving the Guinea Hogs, a narrative nonfiction book, is the first definitive history of the Guinea Hog breed. Rich in historically accurate information, it is easy to read and full of colorful characters. It is a comprehensive overview of the people who raised Guinea Hogs from 1940 to 1995, told in their own words and enlightening stories. These first-person stories reveal the subjects' deep fondness for and attachment to the amiable Guinea Hogs. 

Author Cathy R. Payne states that she wants these hogs to still thrive in the year 2120 for the enjoyment of her great grandchildren. These homestead hogs are survivors worth preserving for future generations!

Copyright 2019, Softcover, 220 pages

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1.

Praise for Saving the Guinea Hogs

“Saving the Guinea Hogs is an important work, especially because Cathy R. Payne is able to take the basic problems facing local and landrace breeds and is then able to show what sorts of practical steps can be taken to assure their survival as productive and adapted genetic resources.”

– D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD

Awards for Saving the Guinea Hogs

Saving the Guinea Hogs by Cathy R. Payne won the Silver Medal in the Non-Fiction – Animals category of the 2019 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest.

About the Author

Cathy R. Payne is a retired elementary special education teacher and former reading specialist. She writes and educates about heritage breeds she has raised. From 0210 too 2018, she managed a sustainable eleven-acre farm in Elberton, Georgia with her husband, Jon.

Cathy R. Payne

Upon discovering that there were no books written about the American Guinea Hog, she took it up on herself to begin six-year research project that involved nearly fifty interviews and a review of archival data from 1990 to 2018. She continues to speak out and educate other about heritage breeds.

Read our interview with Cathy R. Payne about the process of researching and writing her book.

Listen to our Tractor Time podcast interview featuring Cathy R. Payne. 

Watch Cathy R. Payne read aloud from Saving the Guinea Hogs at a library event in Georgia.

More Info:

What is a Guinea Hog?

The Guinea Hog is a small, black, hairy, sturdy, and gentle breed of hog kept in the Southeastern United States prior to the Civil War. The Guinea Hog has long been a part of America's cultural history. Due to a confluence of factors, it was nearly extinct by the 1990s. The loss of any breed's unique genetic material can leave the future of a species in peril. Saving the Guinea Hogs will bring the characteristics of the hogs to life, including what is known of their history and genetics, their unique characteristics, their temperament and personality, and how they benefitted generations of small landholders.

Writing the Book

Cathy R. Payne interviewed many of the breeders and reports their stories through their own words. Her diligent research over several years retraces the history of the Guinea Hogs while preserving the memories of those who kept them. 

When Cathy's research brought her in contact with rare genetic bloodlines not preserved during the formation of the American Guinea Hog Association (AGHA) in 2006, she worked with a network of women to obtain these genetics and work with the registry to add valuable genetic diversity to the national herd.

Cathy takes what she has learned from her contacts with these breeders and focuses on strategies to preserve this breed and its distinct family bloodlines. Readers are encouraged to become active in the breed association and register their hogs to monitor their genetics and relatedness. 

Copyright 2019, Softcover, 220 pages

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Mike P.
United States United States
Saving the guinea hogs

If you are into raising Guinea hogs , this book is the Guinea hog Bible you shouldn't have a Guinea hog without first reading this book , it's in depth and is all you need to know on the pedigree s on the lil black pig.

Matt H.
The definitive history of the guinea hog

Cathy Payne has spent years researching and documenting the history of the American Guinea Hog. Her love and dedication to this wonderful breed is written on every page. The stories are first or second hand accounts from the dedicated breeders that helped keep American Guinea Hogs for future generations.

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