When we think of pigs, an image of a giant hog wallowing in a mud puddle down on the farm might be the first thing that comes to mind. However, thanks to Internet trends and celebrity owners, many of us are now aware that some pigs are small enough to serve as house pets.
If you’re pondering joining the ranks of mini pig owners, you might wonder whether there really are pigs that stay small forever. The Gottingen mini pig is usually considered the smallest breed of domestic pig, but they are still bigger than you might be picturing.
Keep reading to learn how big these pigs get, as well as the truth about breeders trying to sell “teacup” or “micro” pigs.
All About Gottingen Mini Pigs: The Smallest Breed
Gottingen mini pigs were first bred around 1960 by scientists in Germany looking to create a reliably small, easy-to-handle pig to use for medical research. The Gottingen was created by mixing Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, German Landrace pigs, and Minnesota mini pigs. Around 2010, Gottingen mini pigs began to be sold as pets.
As far as size, Gottingen mini pigs are typically 10–20 inches tall. Their weight can vary based on sex and feeding but usually averages about 60 pounds.
Still used for research purposes, Gottingen mini pigs are popular as pets because they are small, easy to care for, and have calm and friendly personalities.
Other Small Breeds of Pigs
There are around 14 breeds of true mini pigs in existence. Generally, pigs who average 350 pounds or less are considered mini pigs. While that’s certainly smaller than a 700-pound farm pig, it’s still an awfully big pet!
Mini pig weights can vary quite a bit based on how much they eat but here are some common breeds of mini pigs and their usual sizes.
|American Mini Pig||50–150 pounds|
|Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig||70–150 pounds|
Too Big for a Teacup: Why Pigs Who Stay Tiny Aren’t Real
But wait, you might be thinking, a 60-pound pig is definitely too big to fit in a teacup unless we’re talking about a ride at Disneyland. Despite the cute photos you may have seen, pigs who stay tiny for their whole lives don’t exist. “Teacup pigs” or “micro pigs” aren’t a separate breed of pig but an advertising term used by breeders.
Unfortunately, some breeders use a combination of poor breeding practices, malnutrition, and outright deception to convince unsuspecting buyers they are purchasing pigs who’ll always be tiny.
Because pigs can breed at a very young age, breeders can show buyers the “teacup” pig’s parents as proof of what size they will grow while conveniently leaving out that the parents themselves are still piglets. Pigs, even mini pigs, can take years to reach their full size.
The feeding of a pig greatly impacts how large it will grow. Unethical breeders also keep their pigs unnaturally small by underfeeding them. They often instruct buyers of their “teacup” pigs to continue the same diet, resulting in pigs who are essentially starving all the time and deprived of vital nutrients, leading to health problems.
Unfortunately, many “teacup pigs” end up abandoned in shelters or euthanized when they grow much bigger than their owners were expecting.
Mini pigs can make wonderful pets for the right family and living situation. Just remember that even the smallest breed of mini pig, the Gottingen mini pig, will still grow to the size of a large dog. Before you purchase a pet pig, make sure you know what it takes to properly care for one, no matter how big they end up growing.
- See also: Juliana Pigs
Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay