Despite their intelligence and socially gregarious nature, your average farm pig makes a terrible pet. For one thing, they’re huge, easily reaching hundreds of pounds and often topping out over 1,000 pounds when fully grown. For another, they have appetites to match their gargantuan sizes. Enter miniature pigs as a family friendly solution.
First introduced in the 1980s, the miniature Vietnamese potbellied teacup pig was not intended as a household pet but as stock for zoological gardens. So popular were these diminutive animals that a pet trade soon sprung up around them. The original breeding stock imported by Keith Connell, a Canadian zoo director was soon complimented by another line of potbellies imported to Texas by Keith Leavitt. Taken separately they represent the Lea and Connell lines but are largely responsible for the available pigs in the US today. Subsequent imports have left prospective owners with a nice diversity of options listed below.
Vietnamese Potbellied Pigs – These miniature pigs represent probably the most popular breed adopted today. They have an appealing appearance and docile disposition. Their exaggerated potbellies and swayed backs (a sign of overfeeding in other animals) are completely normal and healthy. Their average height is about 14 inches and their average weight about 50 pounds.
Juliani (Painted Miniature) Pig – These little guys are truly diminutive, averaging about 10-16 inches and weighing 15-50 pounds. Like the potbellied pig, they have a gentle disposition. They also love to play with toys.
African Pygmy or Guinea Hog – Truly Lilliputian, these miniature pigs weigh in at an average of 20-40 pounds and reach an average height of 14 to 22 inches. They are active, alert and highly intelligent. In contrast to the potbellied miniature pigs, African Pygmies have straight backs. They bond quickly to their humans and love to be close to their favorite people.
Yucatan (Mexican Hairless) Pig – These mini pigs come in both a small and not so small model. The larger breed can run upwards of 200 pounds while the smaller variety averages between 50 and 100 pounds. They grow to 16-24 inches in height.
Ossabaw Island Pig – Averaging 14-20 inches and 25-90 pounds, Ossabaw’s have a fantastic temperament, bond well with humans and are very bright. These guys live up to 25 years so you’re practically adopting a child and raising him through college as much as buying a pet.