Miniature pigs including, Micro Mini pigs and Teacup Pot Bellie pigs have been all the craze lately. And for good reason. These extraordinary pet pigs not only make great pets, but could even be considered companions. Pet pigs, including micro mini pigs and teacup pot bellie pigs are very smart, very loving, and they have a long life span. They eat a nominal amount of food compared to dogs and they can be potty trained as well as leash trained. All the more reason for the mini pig’s rise to fame.
Let’s take a closer look at the difference in the miniature pig breeds. According to the California Pot Belly Pig Association(CPPA) there are 6 distinct varieties of miniature pigs. Miniature pig meaning these varieties are naturally smaller than farm pigs that will reach 800 – 1000 pounds. While many breeders claim to have true miniature pigs, there is not a specific breed that is naturally that small. By selective breeding and crossbreeding, pet pigs have been miniaturized to retain there small statures. If you see a pig with a swayed back, short snout, and pot bellie, then chances are there was a pot bellie pig used somewhere in the breeding selection.
As listed by the CPPA, here are the natural breeds of miniature pigs:
Vietnamese Pot Belly or Pot bellie pig, or Pot Belly
Ossabaw Island Pig
African Pygmy or Guinea hog
Yucatan Pig or Mexican Hairless Pig
Pot Bellie Pigs:
The most notable breed, thanks to shows like The Today Show, are the Teacup Pot Belly. The teacup pot belly is still a Vietnamese Pot Belly pig. Over the years, breeders have chosen the smallest boars and gilts to downsize the Vietnamese Pot Belly pig into the adorable Teacup Pot Belly pigs that are showing up in the news around the world. The term teacup Pot Belly, refers to the size of the pig at birth. The teacup pot belly will fit into a teacup, weighing only a few ounces. They mature in 2-3 years reaching a height of 12 -14 inches and can weigh up to 60 pounds with the smaller teacup pot bellies weighing in at only 40 pounds at maturity. A standard breed Vietnamese Pot Belly can reach 18 inches in height and weigh over 200 pounds. These miniature pigs have distinct traits including a swayed back, pot belly, shortish snouts, and small erect ears. The primary colors for the Vietnamese pot belly and teacup pot bellies are black and white. Breeders often set pricing on colors and patterns and also eye color.
The Juliani pig or painted miniature pig can trace its ancestry back to England. This mini pig is the result of a selective breeding program to produce an extremely smart, docile, and loving pet pig. There are discrepancies as to the true origin of the Juliani pig, but nonetheless they do make a great pet pig. They range in height from 15 to 18 inches and can weigh over 50 pounds when mature. Some breeders in the United States have used selective breeding to downsize this breed with claims of pigs as small as 30 pounds at maturity. Colors for the Juliani pig are wide ranging, hence the name painted miniature pig. They can be silver, silver and white, red, red and black, red and white, white and black, and black.
The KuneKune is relatively small pig by nature. The have colors ranging from tan and brown, white and black, black, gold, and white. The Kune Kune’s most distinct trait are the pire pire, which are small tassels that hang from their lower jaw, usually about 4 cm in length. KuneKune have been kept by New Zealand communities for centuries and make great foragers eating grass without rooting up the entire yard or pasture. The word KuneKune is Polynesian for “plump” as these small pigs have short legs and round bodies.
Ossabaw Island Pig:
The Ossabaw Island Pig is a feral pig that can be found off the coast of Georgia on Ossabaw island. This breed was believed to have been brought over by the Spanish and dropped off on the island. The Ossabaw Island pig has become miniaturized over the centuries because of the size of the island and the amount of food available, known as insular dwarfism. Ossabaw Island hogs are known to be very lively, extremely intelligent, long lived, and have an excellent temperament.
Ossabaw Island pigs have prick ears, meaning they are pointed and stand erect. Other characteristic of the Ossabaw Island pig are long snouts and heavy coats. the colors are wide ranging, including; red, blue and gray. Spotted pigs can be calico, red, black and white, with a solid white pig being very rare. Height can range from 14-20 inches and weight anywhere from 40 to 200 pounds in captivity.
Guinea Hog or African Pygmy:
The Guinea hog can trace it’s ancestry back to the days of slave trade. Through selective breeding, the Guinea hog was transformed into a great homesteader pig. They were prized as meat production pigs, before the invent of the refrigerator, so all the meat could be consumed with little to no waste.
The Guinea hog is a very friendly and adaptable pig. They are, for the most part, black, with a few pigs having white on the feet and hints of red or gray on the coat. They have thick full coats, curly tails, and erect ears. Guinea hog piglets are farrowed weighing 1 pound and reach maturity between 2 and 3 years weighing 200 – 300 pounds. They are very docile towards people and other animals, but are known to run off vermin.
The Guinea hog is an endangered breed, but are seemingly making a comeback. TheAmerican Guinea Hog Association has a nice list of U.S. breeders for those interested.
Yucatan Pig or Mexican Hairless Pig
The Yucatan or Mexican Hairless Pig originated in Central America and Mexico. This breed has been a favorite of laboratories since it’s skin and internal organs closely resemble those of humans. While this hearty little pig is called hairless, it does have coarse hair, although sparse. The Yucatan Pig is silver, gray in color and at maturity 16 – 24 inches tall and will weigh about as much as an adult male, between 150 – 200 pounds. These pigs are easy to socialize and enjoy being handled.
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