What is a Miniature Potbellied Pig?
All miniature potbellied pigs are bred from the original potbellied pigs imported to the United States in the 1980’s. They are a distinct breed and have not been cross bred with any other breed. All pigs registered through the Miniature Potbellied Pig Registry Service, Inc. (MPPRSI) can trace their pedigrees back through the original potbellied pig registry, the Potbellied Pig Registry Service, Inc (PPRSI).
Is a Miniature Potbellied Pig the same as a teacup, micro, or micro-mini pig?
No, these are terms that are used by breeders to try and sell their pigs. Some of them are small pigs, others are standard size pigs that are simply being unscrupulously sold to unknowing hopeful owners.
How big do Miniature Potbellied Pigs get?
Miniature Potbellied Pigs average 30lbs and 12inches tall, but range from 20-55lbs and 10-15inches tall.
Why are Miniature Potbellied Pigs so small?
Miniature Potbellied Pigs have been selectively bred over the years. By choosing small, healthy, and well proportioned adults and choosing only those pigs that were consistently producing small, healthy offspring that breed true, the Miniature Potbellied Pig breed was established.
How long to Miniature Potbellied Pigs live?
Miniature Potbellied Pigs live between 15-25 years. When you choose to bring a Miniature Potbellied Pig into your family it is a long term commitment.
How long does it take for a Miniature Potbellied Pig to have babies?
It takes a Miniature Potbellied Pig around 114 days to have piglets. This can easily be remembered as “three months, three weeks, and three days”. A litter normally consists of 2-10 piglets ranging from 5-10oz each.
What do you feed a Miniature Potbellied Pig? How much do you feed a Miniature Potbellied Pig?
There are several mini pig chows on the market that are easily found at pet supply stores and offer a well balanced diet. Some breeders choose to feed their pigs a commercial diet pig finisher. This works well because it meets the needs of growing piglets and breeding pigs, but may not be readily available to pet owners. Both of these grain based foods are a great option. What is never a good option is to feed dog or cat food. Dog and cat foods are not balanced to meet the protein or vitamin requirements of a pig and they may also contain too much salt, which is a serious health risk for pigs. (see “Salt Toxicity”) You can supplement your pig’s diet with fresh veggies, hay, grass, and limited amounts of fruit. The best way to tell if your pig is getting enough food is to score its body condition (obtain a BCS). Check out our BCS chart and “How to feed your mini pig” for more in-depth information.
What type of treats do you give a Miniature Potbellied Pig?
Miniature Potbellied Pigs love treats, but it is best to limit them so your pig does not become overweight. Remember, all good things in moderation. Some healthy snacks include celery, steamed broccoli, cucumber, dry cheerios type cereal (no frosted or sugar added type), carrots, raisins, sweet potatoes, and apples. Try to limit sweet foods like raisins, sweet potatoes, and apples as pigs can get too much sugar. If you wish, save these for times you may need to coax your pig extra, like a trip to the vet. Also, never, ever, ever feed your pig salty treats like potato chips or salted popcorn. Pigs can easily reach toxic levels of salt. Unsalted, unbuttered popcorn is an OK treat. See our “Delectable or Deadly” food and plant lists.
Are Miniature Potbellied Pigs smart?
Yes, pigs are very smart. They are ranked just behind primates and dolphins. They can be trained to perform many “tricks” or tasks. They are even being used to find truffles, as drug sniffing animals, and as assistance animals in some cases.
Can you litter box train a Miniature Potbellied Pig?
Absolutely. Most piglets are trained to a litter pan or puppy pee-pad by the breeder because they are easy to clean. Pigs are naturally tidy animals, and even in a paddock will regularly use one area as a bathroom. Once your pig is older and larger you may find it easy to train him or her to go outside on a leash to potty like a dog.
Do Miniature Potbellied Pigs make good pets?
They can make excellent pets for owners who are willing to make the effort to train and discipline. Pigs are very intelligent animals, and as such can become stubborn if you allow them to become spoiled. They are also very inquisitive and so you must be diligent. Have a Miniature Potbellied Pig is like having a three year old child. Baby proofing cabinets and keeping dangerous objects out of their reach is a must.
Can anyone own a Miniature Potbellied Pig?
No. First you must check the county and local ordinances to make sure you are zoned for a Miniature Potbellied Pig. Some areas classify them as livestock (farm animals) while others will accept them as pets only if they are registered so that they can confirm they are not a commercial pig. Miniature Potbellied Pigs will not do well if they are left alone all the time and are not given proper attention and mental stimulation. They are very intelligent and need mental stimulation and companionship.
Do Miniature Potbellied Pigs get along with other animals?
Yes, if the other animal is willing. Pigs are very social animals and will easily befriend dogs, cats, goats, or almost any other animal. Many owners have dogs that love to cuddle with their little pig friends. Most importantly, especially when dealing with dogs, is that pigs are a food animal and if your dogs have a prey drive they may be a hazard to your pig. Pigs generally do best with animals that have been raised around other animals and are not prey driven. If you have more than one dog you will want to be careful since pack behavior can initiate prey drive. It is always advisable to supervise your pig when socializing with any new animal.
Do male or female Miniature Potbellied Pigs make better pets?
Neither make a “better” pet, it all depends on your preference. If you choose a male it absolutely must be neutered if it is going to be a pet and not bred. Boars produce very pungent odors from a variety of places and will mark and do other behaviors trying to attract a mate. Males can also be de-tusked when they are young, but this is at your discretion. De-tusking is done for cosmetic purposes as many would rather not have a pig with several inch long teeth coming out of its mouth. Neutering not only keeps your pig from making your house smell terrible, but you also will not have to deal with male behaviors, and you greatly reduce the risk of tumors in your little piggy. Females can be spayed or intact. There are risks with both. Spayed females must undergo anesthesia, which can be risky (especially if your vet is unfamiliar with mini pigs) and they will gain weight more quickly (which is already an issue for many owners). If the pig is already overweight you increase the risks of anesthesia and surgery greatly. Intact females will cycle every 21 days. The heat cycle itself lasts only a few days and often owners do not notice. The biggest difference is, when they reach the “standing heat” phase, they will stand stock still when you touch them. Occasionally pig owners will report other mild behavioral changes. Some pigs may also develop tumors if they remain intact. If you do have your pig spayed, find an experienced vet who uses isoflourane gas anesthesia as this is safest.
Are Miniature Potbellied Pigs dirty? Do they smell?
Miniature Potbellied Pigs are naturally clean animals if they are allowed to be so. Pigs only roll in mud to keep cool as they only sweat through their nose. If your pig is kept inside or is given a kid’s play pool with clean water they will be just as happy. Pigs want to keep their sleeping and living areas clean, so they will usually find an out of the way area to use the bathroom. Pig’s feces smells much like a dog’s does. Pigs themselves do not have a strong smell unless they are an un-neutered male, in which case they have a very pungent odor. They will “chomp” their teeth to produce a foul smelling froth, and they will rub themselves on objects to release the fluid that collects in their prepuce as a way to mark.
Do Miniature Potbellied Pigs need to see a veterinarian?
Yes. Before you purchase a pig it is wise to find a vet who is experienced and willing to work with miniature pigs. You do not want to be in an emergency and not have a vet who is willing to see your pig. Commercial swine vets are often inexperienced and unwilling to work on them, as are many companion animal vets. All pets should have a yearly physical exam to make sure they are staying healthy. Your vet will check your pigs heart, lungs, and ears, obtain a weight and score his/her body condition (BCS). Vets can spay/neuter your pig, de-tusk males (or trim tusks if needed), trim feet, clean ears, give de-wormer, and also give yearly vaccines if needed. Note: very rarely pigs will have adverse reactions to certain vaccines, so make sure your vet is experienced and only gives vaccines that are necessary. Also, if your vet hasn’t worked on pigs before make sure he or she knows to not clean the pig’s ear with a liquid cleaner. You should never pour anything into a pig’s ear to clean it, just wipe it with a cloth or cotton ball dampened with cleaner or mineral oil and only go as far as your ear will go and no more.
Do Miniature Potbellied Pigs shed?
Yes, but not like a dog. They will “blow” their coat usually once or twice a year. Once the weather becomes hot, pigs will lose all of their hair and a layer of skin very quickly. (They may go through a second shedding phase in the fall). Pigs kept outdoors will have a more dramatic shed due to their thick winter coat. You can actually lightly pull the hair and it will fall out when your pig is shedding, which will speed up the shedding process. Brushing can also help the shedding process and will feel wonderful to your pig. You can occasionally rub lotion or baby oil on your pig’s skin as well. This will keep her looking her best and your pig will love you for the attention.
Do Miniature Potbellied Pigs get fleas?
Not really. They have very thick skin and their hair is not suitable for flea life, but they can get other external parasites. Pigs can get mites on their skin and ear mites. Both can be treated with certain de-wormers like ivermectin. Talk to your trusted vet to decide what type, how much, and how to administer the medication. If your yard has a lot of ticks, you may occasionally see one on your pig, but this is usually not a problem because of their thick skin.
What type of maintenance do Miniature Potbellied Pigs need?
Some pigs may need their feet trimmed if they are only walking on soft surfaces. If your pig has access to concrete they may naturally wear down their feet. Some pigs need their ears clean as wax builds up. Never pour anything in your pig’s ear to clean them. Take a cloth or cotton ball and dampen it with ear cleaner or mineral oil and rub the dirt out of your pig’s ear. Do not put the cloth in farther than you can reach with your finger. Pigs should be regularly de-wormed as this will reduce both internal and external parasites. And if you have a light colored pig or your pig has light colored ears and nose, you should rub children’s sunscreen on them before they go outside so that they do not burn. Pigs may periodically get dry skin; baby oil or other pig lotions on the market will sooth their itchy skin. Vaccines for mini pigs are debatable and depend on your vet and your area. Rabies vaccines are not approved by the FDA for use in pigs. Discuss vaccinations with your vet to decide what vaccines are necessary and what dosage is appropriate for your little pig.
My baby Miniature Potbellied Pig has dry skin that looks like it is cracking, does she have mange?
While pigs can have mange, if you have a young piglet it is more likely that what your piglet is experiencing is normal. Baby pigs grow very quickly when they are young and their skin does not shed as quickly as they grow so they in essence will “molt”. Their skin will crack and flake away exposing their new, larger skin. It might itch your little piggy, so you can bath him or her and then rub on baby oil or other baby-safe lotion (there are some companies who are marketing piggy Shea butter lotion that will also help moisturize your skin). If you are seeing small scabs, red dirt, or you start having small bites then your pig probably has mange. Ivermectin is most often used to treat these mites and can be given orally or by injection under the skin.
My piglet has dark stuff in her ears, what is it?
Pigs have thick wax that forms in their ears to protect them from water and dirt, but they can also get ear mites. Your vet can help you diagnose if the dirt is from ear mites and then use an injectable or oral medication like Ivermectin to treat. After you have determined the cause of the dirt, clean your pig’s ears by rubbing a cloth or cotton ball dampened with ear cleaner or mineral oil and wipe in the ear with your finger. Do not push the cloth or cotton ball farther than you can reach with your finger. Never pour anything into your pig’s ear to clean them as this may lead to more trouble from infections and ear-aches.
How do I tell if my Miniature Potbellied Pig is overweight? How can I be sure he is getting enough food?
The easiest way to do this is to take a body condition score, or BCS. This is a measurement can be done at home by you by looking at the descriptions on the BCS chart and choosing which score best describes the look and feel of your pig. An ideal BCS is around 3-3.5, but for younger piglets they may score slightly higher. For very young piglets it is OK for them to be slightly above normal, but you do not want them to become obese (above a 4) because It may lead to joint and bone issues. For more information, check out our section about feeding your mini pig and our BCS chart.