A rarity in the pet world, but just as friendly and cute as any other, the potbellied pig is a wonderful pet to call a family member! Learn how this charming, unique animal went from the barnyard to the living room this month in ‘Pet Talk.’
The potbellied pig is believed to have descended from domesticated Chinese pigs around 10,000 years ago. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that Vietnamese Potbellied pigs were brought to a United States zoo and then bred into the pet industry, and so started the pet pig craze.
It turns out that potbellied pigs make wonderful pets! Not only are they extremely friendly when trained correctly and highly intelligent (scientists have created video games that pigs are able to master!), but they like to explore, be entertained, and socialize, so it is very important for owners to get creative to ensure pet pigs never get bored or lonely, to avoid behavioral issues. Pigs are also very sensitive, and they have excellent memories – especially for where you keep food and treats!
While potbellied pigs are 1/10 the size of regular farm pigs, shorter than most Labrador Retrievers, and usually weigh less than St. Bernards, it is important for owners to be aware of their mature adult size. There are no such breeds as teacup, micro, pocket pig, or other miniature pig. Pigs are able to start breeding at 4-6 months old, and therefore the size of the parents may not be the best judge of mature size as irresponsible breeders will sometimes breed piglets to make the babies appear smaller. A mature potbellied pig can weigh anywhere from 100 to 250 pounds and still be considered a normal weight; they are typically 16-26 inches tall.
Pigs sometimes get a bad rep in popular culture, but you can’t believe it all. The saying “sweat like a pig,” for example, is very ironic as pigs do not sweat. While they do roll in the mud once in a while to cool down, they are very clean animals and prefer water and even swimming, so telling someone they “live like a pig” actually means the opposite!
Potbellied pigs are wonderful pets; just be sure to do your research before adopting one yourself or for your family! Many potbellied pigs are surrendered to rescue organizations around the country each year, due to misconceptions about size and care of these unique companions. Always consider adopting before shopping if at all possible. For questions about care or to make an appointment for your pet pig, contact us today at 701.757.3500!