By Rhi Banks, Farmed Animal Caretaker
I’m sorry to say that “teacup pigs” are, simply put, a myth. While the idea of a pig that stays about the size of a chihuahua is certainly cute, the reality that accompanies this common misconception isn’t.
Breeders and profit seekers take advantage of the demand for tiny pigs, often marketing piglets as “teacup pigs” while they’re very young. Well-intentioned people who fall for these scams are in for rude awakenings when their tiny piglets grow into 600-pound pigs. Without the space, resources, or patience to care for a full-grown pig, their families scramble to re-home them. There aren’t many safe places for these pigs to live out their natural lives in peace, so they often meet depressing fates.
The good news is that “mini pigs” exist, and they can make phenomenal pets for the right homes! I’m referring to Pot-bellied pigs, and we have quite a few at Brother Wolf who are looking for forever homes!
Pot-bellied pigs are “mini” in the sense that they weigh 100-200 pounds, as opposed to other pigs who can weigh more than 700 pounds when fully grown. They are very compact, and most will only grow to be the height of a medium or large dog.
Most pot-bellied pigs are happiest when they have at least one companion of their own species. They can be quite content inside a home after a short adjustment period as long as they are properly socialized. House training them is usually a pretty easy process, as they have a natural instinct to want to use the bathroom outside. Contrary to their desire to roll in the mud, they’re actually relatively clean animals, and don’t want to make a mess in their sleeping space.
Pigs are extremely intelligent and are therefore very easy to train, but it can also make them a bit of a handful. Plenty of enriching activities are necessary, especially if pigs are living inside your home. Otherwise a pig may get bored and create their own enrichment by chewing on your furniture.
They can be let outside to potty just like a dog, or be litter trained like a cat if you can have a big enough litter box to accommodate a fully grown pot-belly. Pigs can even be trained to walk on a leash, but they really prefer to have a fenced in yard where they can spend some time outside foraging. They do like to root up plants, so if you’re particular about your lawn, a pig may not be the best pet for you.
Pot-bellied pigs tend to do quite well with other animals, as long as your other resident pets are accepting of the pig. It’s important to monitor dogs and pigs, since pigs don’t pick up on dog body language very well and can get themselves in trouble by trying to snack on a dog’s food, or playing with a toy.
Pigs become very affectionate once they are settled into your home! Your pig will follow you around the house and yard. They absolutely love belly rubs and will flop right over for scratches. They’re absolutely wonderful pets if you do your research and put in the time into training them to acclimate to your home. It’s adorable to see them snuggle up under blankets or curl up by your heat vent where it’s the warmest. Not to mention the precious sounds they make!