The objectives of the experiment were to evaluate growth and carcass characteristics, organ weight, meat quality and intramuscular fatty acid (FA) and amino acid composition between the Chinese indigenous pig breed Dahe and the crossbred Dawu. The Dahe pigs had lower average daily gain (P < 0.001) and a higher feed conversion ratio (P < 0.001) compared with the Dawu pigs. The Dahe pigs contained less lean meat percentage (P < 0.001) and more carcass fat percentage (P < 0.001) compared with the Dawu pigs. For organ weight, the Dahe pigs had lower relative heart weight and small intestine weight, respectively, compared with that of the Dawu pigs (P < 0.001). In addition, the Dahe pigs showed higher pH values (at 45 min and 24 h, P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively), higher Marbling score (P < 0.05), lower Minolta L values (at 45 min and 24 h, P < 0.001 and P < 0.05, respectively) and lower muscle fiber area (P < 0.05) than did the Dawu pigs. C18:1, C16:0, C18:0 and C18:2 were the main FAs and nine essential amino acids were found in the Longissimus dorsi of the two breeds.