What is a Miniature Pig?

There is a lot of information circling around about what a miniature pig is, or isn’t. Some people are adamant that there is no such thing; others claim there are extremely tiny swine that are the size of a teacup. These are exaggerations or claims by people who have a misunderstanding. All terms like micro, micro-mini, dandy, pixie and teacup are just descriptive marketing of miniature pigs. There are true miniature pigs, but there are even more terms out there to describe them. Below we have listed a few of the breeds and terms used to describe miniature pigs with a brief description. Note: unless otherwise stated these “breeds” do not have a registry. Why is a registry important? A registry sets out standards for a breed, maintains a herd book, and works to protect the genetics for a breed. In order for a breed to be established, they must breed true to their breed standard. For instance, Labradoodles are not a distinct breed because they are a cross between a Labrador retriever and a standard Poodle and the offspring are not consistent.

Micro (micro-mini, pixie)

This is not an actual breed, but the term is often used to advertise a cross bred Vietnamese Potbellied Pig or a purebred Vietnamese Potbellied Pig. When compared to a commercial meat pig that can weigh over 800 lbs, a standard or cross-bred potbellied pig that weighs 100-200 lbs is “miniature” but is not a great house pet. There are people claiming this is a true breed, but this is incorrect. These pigs do not have a consistent background and are not a distinct breed

Guinea Hog

Guinea Hogs:

[1][3] (also called Pineywood Guineas and Guinea Forest Hogs) – These pigs are registered through the American Guinea Hog Association, which was established in 2005. The breed is currently listed as “critical” through the American Livestock Breed Conservancy (ALBC). They are a moderate sized pig whose heritage dates back 200 years as a landrace breed developed in the Southeast United States. They have medium to small upright ears (sometimes bent at the tips as adults), slightly dished faces with short to medium long snouts, straight to slightly arched back with medium to long coarse bristles. Their eyes may be slightly forward facing and their tails have a single curl. They have a very calm and friendly temperament. Most pigs are black with small amount of white on tip of nose and feet being acceptable, rarely are they red in color. They are approximately 22-27 inches tall (males are generally 1-2 inches taller than females) and 46-56 inches long. They weight between 100-300 lbs.

Mulefoot pigs

Mulefoot Pigs:

[3][4] There are breeders breeding “miniature mulefoot”, but currently only the standard Mulefoot pig is recognized through the American Mulefoot Hog Association and Registry. They are listed as “critical” on the ALBC breed list. They originate from Spanish hogs imported in the 1500’s and share many attributes with the Choctaw pig breed. In the 1900’s the breed became standardized. They are valued for their ease of fattening and production of meat, lard, and ham. They have a small head in proportion to their body with medium length ears that are slightly inclined forward with pointed tips. They have straight or slightly arched backs, a medium length straight tail, and a single toed foot. Their overall appearance is very compact. Mulefoot are predominantly black pigs with occasional white points. Their average weight is 400-600 lbs. Mini mulefoot breeders set their size at 60-100 lbs.

Teacup Pig
Gloucester Old Spot

Teacup Pigs:

[5][8][12] They were first developed under the name Pennywell Miniature Pigs after the Pennywell farm they originated from. There are differing accounts as to why they are now called Teacup pigs. The most widely distributed account is that a newborn, at 9oz, can fit into a teacup (although some very confused journalists are claiming a full sized pig is as small as a teacup). However, Chris Murray, the owner of Pennywell and developer of the breed, has said it is because the pigs share his love of tea. These pigs were developed by breeding KuneKune pigs of New Zealand (100-450 lbs) with Tamworths (a red colored meat pig that weighs 400-800 lbs) and Gloucester Old Spots (a spotted, floppy eared meat pig that weigh as much as a Tamworth). According the Jane Croft, another breeder of Teacups, they average 65 lbs. There are now several breeders of teacup pigs. For one owner’s story of her teacup pig, click here.

Potbellied Pig

Swedish Miniatures:

This is simply another name for a potbellied pig. The original Connell imports were mostly from Sweden, so there are breeders who will call their pigs “Swedish” to try and separate their pigs from other potbellied pigs out there.

Royal Dandie

Royal Dandies©

This is another term used to describe a small potbellied pig. The term is copyrighted by the farm that raises them. The breeders claim the adults are between 12-39 lbs. They are not from the same line as MPPRSI pigs and are not registered through the MPPRSI.

Red River Hog

Julianas (Painted Pigs):

[13] These colorful pigs have small to medium sized ears, straight tails, short hair, and a slight potbelly. They come in a variety of colors including red, black, silver, white, and combinations of these. They are always spotted. They have legs that are slightly longer than potbellied pigs and their snout is straighter. They are a cross breed of uncertain origins with no published breed standard. One theory suggests they are a cross of the Red River Hog (Potamochoerus porcus penicillatus) of the African rainforest and domestic European pigs, and have been selectively bred over the years for a quiet temperament and colorful coat. As of 2011 there is no traceable history, lineage, or registry for these pigs.

Ossabaw Island

Ossabaw Island Pigs:

[3] Ossabaws are occasionally thrown into the “miniature pig” group, so we list them here as well. They are listed as “critical” by ALBC. They are descended from pigs from the Canary Islands that were imported by Spanish and Portuguese sailors to the new world in the 1500’s. These pigs were then set free and subsequently became feral. They are found on the Ossabaw Island of Georgia off the coast of Savannah. Ossabaws were naturally selected to tolerate heat, humidity, and seasonal food scarcity. They also have a high dietary salt tolerance, unlike most other pigs. Usually black, they occasionally have white markings or are white/light colored with black spots. They are very hairy with heavy, frayed edged bristles on the neck and topline. Ossabaws have a long snout, slightly dished, heavy head and shoulders and are well suited for pastured pork or sustainable farming. Currently they are not allowed to be removed from Ossabaw Island due to the presence of pseudorabies and vesicular stomatitis in the pig population. There are several mainland populations that had been established prior to the restrictions. Ossabaws weigh as little as 100 lbs.

Miniature Potbellied Pig

Miniature Potbellied Pigs:

A distinct breed developed by selective breeding from the original imported Vietnamese Potbellied Pigs. Mini potbellied pigs have short, upright ears, short to medium length straight snouts, swayed backs, potbellies, and straight tails. Colors include black, white, silver, and rarely red with a variety of patterns. Their weight is a maximum of 55 lbs and they stand less than 15 inches. They are registered through the Miniature Potbellied Pig Registry Service, Inc.


KuneKune (aka Maori Pigs)

[2][6][7][10][11] These pigs come from the Maori tribe of New Zealand and are descendants of Asian pigs left there by whalers or traders. In fact, “kunekune” means “plump” in Maori. In 1984 Michael Willis and John Simister created a breed recovery program established from 18 animals captured in the Staglands Wildlife Reserve and Willowbanks Wildlife Reserve. Most KuneKunes found today are descendants of these 18 pigs. These pigs were first imported to the United States in 1995 by Katie Rigby of Abilene, KS with help from the New Zealand KuneKune Breeders Association and Maori Tribe. Several years later Katie Rigby and Gwin (Brooks) Stam of Jefferson, Oregon imported a second group. Most of the original KuneKune were kept by Rigby, with the remainder going to Oregon as the West Coast Herd set up by Stam and Pam Bell. Years later, when the KuneKune Registery of the America’s went defunct, the Rigby herd was split between New York and Mt. Pleasant, NC. In 2005 Jim and Lori Enright, co-founders of the American KuneKune Breeders Association (est.2006), imported KuneKunes from the UK. KuneKune pigs are relatively small and highly distinctive. They are characterized by their short legs, dumpy appearance, pot tummy, short upturned nose, and general fat, rotund appearance. Some may have “pire pire,” or wattles, hanging from their lower jaw. They come in a range of color from black, white, gold, tan, brown, and combinations of these. They are friendly and mild mannered, and as a meat pig are easily fattened on grass. They are slow to mature and may continue to grow until around 4 years old. The New Zealand KuneKune Association is working to establish a standard for miniature KuneKune pigs which they set as under 50cm (around 19.5 inches). The smaller KuneKune weigh around 95-120lbs.

Mini Yucatan Pig

Mini Yucatan Pigs (aka Mexican Hairless):

[9][14] are mostly distinguished by their lack of hair (although they may have sparse hair covering). These pigs are native to south Mexico, Costa Rica, and other Latin American countries. The first import was of 25 animals brought to the United States in the 1960’s. These were bred by Colorado State University as research animals. They are black or slate grey with a short profile and short snout. They have dark pigmented skin, although some lines have been developed with light colored skin for use in dermatology studies. They are very docile and easy to care for. These pigs have been fully pedigreed, are closed to outside breeding, and are used only for research. They average 75-150 lbs.

Research Pigs:

[9] There are several lines of miniature pigs that are used for research studies and have been purpose bred for small size for many years. They average 70-150 lbs and include the Lee Sung, Ohmini, Goettingen miniature, Hanford miniature, Pittman Moore strain, and Hormel miniature.

Other mini pigs:

Occasionally pigs are being passed off as mini pigs that are malnourished and stunted. Some are also breeding very young, immature pigs and claiming they are full sized adults and the babies will stay very small.

The take home message is do your homework and choose a breed that fits your needs. Pigs are not skeletally mature until two and will continue to grow in size and weight until three, but can begin to reproduce as early as 3 months. If a breeder has been breeding for less than 3 years and is making claims that they have the smallest pigs, be wary. Always check out the parents (and grandparents if you can) and see if there are older siblings available to see before you buy. If you do your homework you will be less likely to be broken hearted by a 200 lb “miniature” pig.

​[1] American Guinea Hog Association

[2] American KuneKune Breeders Association

[3] American Livestock Breed Conservancy

[4] American Mulefoot Hog Association and Registry

[5] HubPages

[6] KuneKune Preservation Project

[7] Miniature Pigs Guide

[8] MSNBC Interview with Jane Croft

[9] NetVet- Washington University in St.Louis

[10] New Zealand KuneKune Association

[11] Oklahoma State University

[12] PetCare Suite101

[13] Right Pet

[14] Sinclair Bio-resources