Pigs are cute, affectionate, and intelligent creatures. They can also make wonderful companions but are not right for every household. Before adopting a pet pig, it is important to understand that a pig is not like a cat or dog. Although they can be domesticated, they require some extra care and consideration to avoid winding up with an aggressive, 200-pound-plus pet.
Types of Pigs Kept as Pets
There are eight major breeds of swine commonly raised in the United States. These different breeds are used for various applications based on their physical characteristics and qualities. However, there are only three types of pigs typically kept as pets including the pot-bellied pig, miniature pig, and kune kune pig.
The pot-bellied pig is one of the most popular breeds of pigs due to its relatively small size compared to larger farm pigs or hogs. Pot-bellied pigs are known for their curiousness, activeness, and affectionate personality. They are also easier to train than many other pig breeds. Most pot-bellied pigs are dwarf and ultimately grow to the size of a medium to large-sized dog.
Small or miniature pigs are also commonly kept as pets. Also referred to as teacup pigs, these animals require a lot of interaction and attention to train them properly. Due to their social nature, it is recommended to keep at least two miniature pigs so that they always have a companion, even when you’re away from the home.
Kune Kune Pig
The kunekune pig, or ‘kunekune’, is a breed typically used for meat but can also make good pets. These small, hairy pigs originate from New Zealand and are known for their adorableness and friendly personality. Kune kune pigs can also be found in a variety of colors, from black and white patterns to gold, brown, and black. Unlike other pigs which can be too large for the average home, kune kune pigs can often live and play indoors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before adopting a pet pig, it is important to consider if you’re prepared and responsible enough to handle the unique care and attention that a pig requires. Here are some commonly asked questions about owning a pig.
- How long do pigs live?
Pig breeds commonly kept as pets, such as potbellied pigs, can live an average of 12 to 15 years. Proper care and weight management can help extend your pet’s life. Avoid having your pig become obese, provide adequate stimulation, and allow for regular physical exercise. Your pet pig should also receive regular veterinary care.
- Do pigs bite?
Just like cats and dogs, pigs can bite if put into a stressful or fearful situation. Although pigs are known to be gentle by nature, they can become emotional and even territorial. Some pigs will develop aggressive tendencies, especially when competing for attention or food. Similar to a dog, it is important to teach your pet pig good manners and to establish yourself as the most dominant member of the family.
- Can pigs go for walks?
Also similar to dogs, pigs can be trained to walk with a harness and leash. Pigs are curious creatures and enjoy walking and smelling things along the way. Pigs are also motivated by many of the same things that dogs are, including treats.
- Are pigs affectionate?
Pigs can be very affectionate pets but not in the same way a dog is. Don’t expect your pet pig to jump in your lap and lick your face. The affections of a pet are often more subtle. They usually do not like to be picked up but do like to be rubbed, scratched, and massaged. Many pet pigs also enjoy cuddling with their owners on the sofa or in the grass.
- Is having a pet pig legal?
Many people worry about the legalities of keeping a pet pig. Each city and county have its own zoning laws that pertain to what types of pets can be legally kept. Some cities prohibit their residents from keeping animals like swine in residential areas. Before adopting a pet pig, check with your local homeowner’s association, city, and county to determine if keeping a pig is legal.
- How large do pigs get?
It is important to remember that pigs can get quite large. Even smaller varieties like the pot-bellied pig can grow to weigh between 80 and 160 pounds on average. Miniature pigs will also continue to grow until they reach maturity, which occurs around three to five years of age. However, pet pigs weigh nowhere near as much as farm pigs which can reach up to 600 to 1000 pounds.
- Do micro-mini pigs exist?
With the popularity of keeping pigs as pets continuing to grow, many breeders are coming forward with “micro-mini” pigs that generally weigh under 50 pounds. In reality, there is no such thing as a micro-mini pig. Instead, breeders are able to get these pigs so small through under-feeding and poor nutrition. Without adequate nutrition, pigs can develop an array of health problems.
Keeping a Pig as a Pet
Rescuing a pig can be a very fulfilling and rewarding experience. Pigs can make great pets for the right owners who possess the adequate space and resources to care for these animals properly. Perform extensive research and consider your living conditions and time restraints before making a decision to adopt a pet pig.