Micro pigs are also known as Miniature pigs or Teacup pigs. Now these little piggies are possibly some of the cutest animals on the face of the planet. On that I decided to make a page with a little bit of information about them and where they actually come from, and of course include some epically cute pictures 😀
The History of the Micro Pig
A miniature pig, is a breed of pig developed and used for medical research or for use as a pet. These smaller pigs were first used for medical research in Europe before being introduced to the United States in the 1980s. Since then, the animals have been used in studies by scientists around the world, and have also risen and fallen in popularity as unusual pets.
In the 1960s, pigs that grew to be 150–200 pounds (68–91 kg) were sent to zoos in Western nations and were used for medical research in the fields of toxicology, pharmacology, aging, and as a source of organs for organ transplantation. These small pigs were easier to work with than the larger farm pigs, which typically reach weights of 1000 pounds. Potbellied pigs also became a fixture in many zoological parks where their small stature, sway backs, and potbellies attracted the attention of visitors. The purchase of a few potbellied pigs by wealthy pet owners helped start a new trend in pet pigs.
The popularity of miniature pigs grew in the 1980s, with pet potbellied pigs appearing everywhere from New York apartment complexes to small hobby farms. However, the trend was short-lived, mostly due to city ordinances forbidding raising farm animals within the city limits. Furthermore, many owners came to realize that even a 165 pound pig was difficult to handle in most housing situations.
The 1990s and 2000s saw a rising trend of marketing pet pigs that were supposed to be much smaller than even the potbellied pigs, and therefore suitable pets for house and apartment owners. While multiple animal protection groups and pig breeders question or deny the existence of true “miniature pigs”, there are currently breeders selling piglets claimed to be miniature pigs in North America and in the United Kingdom.
In the mid-1980s, Keith Connell of the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario imported breeding Potbellied Pigs to Canada, which became the foundation for the Potbellied Pig in North America. Because of customs laws, only their offspring could be sold in the United States. US zoos were the main target for the piglets, but private owners soon began purchasing them as pets. Up to five additional imports were made in the following 10 years. To track the pedigrees, the Potbellied Pig Registry Service, Inc (PPRSI) was created to preserve these bloodlines and establish a breed registry in the United States. This registry was dissolved in the late 1990s.
The Miniature Potbellied Pig Registry Service, Inc (MPPRSI) was established in 1993 to provide a registry for those pigs who were pedigreed in the PPRSI and met the breed standard, when fully grown not being more than 15 inches (38 cm) tall and weighing under 55 pounds (25 kg). All of the foundation pigs were dual registered in PPRSI and MPPRSI.
In the UK, British micro pigs have been bred since 1992. Chris Murray, of Devon, England, spent 9 years on his Pennywell farm crossbreeding the Vietnamese Potbelly with the kunekune (a New Zealand pig weighing around 200 pounds (91 kg)), the Gloucestershire Old Spots (600 pounds (270 kg)) and the Tamworth (800 pounds (360 kg)) in an effort to create a smaller pig that would make a suitable pet. After 24 generations he came up with his own version of the miniature pig, which he originally called a Pennywell and then later the “teacup pig”, apparently after discovering that they shared his love of tea. Murray unveiled this miniature pig in 2007 and began selling teacup pigs in pairs as pets to anyone who could afford them. An English woman named Jane Croft saw the teacup pigs and decided to breed and market them herself. Helped by sales to a few British celebrities, her business took off; she has since appeared on television talk shows displaying teacup pigs and touting their affection and intelligence. Miniature pigs bred in the United Kingdom are typically sold in pairs for US$1000 or more, not including transport.
There are also other opinions in debate about teacup pigs. Several micro pig owners have come forward with pictures of healthy adults that weigh under 40 Lbs. and believe that there are several animal activist groups pushing their own agenda and misleading people about the validity of teacup pigs.
Miniature pigs, also known as micro pigs, pocket pigs, or teacup pigs, have seen an increase in popularity in being kept as pets, especially following Paris Hilton’s purchase of one in 2009. They are intelligent animals and can be house-trained. They do not shed and tend to keep themselves clean.
Micro pigs can potentially make great pets, but there are considerably more risks involved when buying a micro pig over other common pets, such as cats or dogs. The biggest concern is that, since there is no established breed of “teacup pig”, there is no guarantee that the pig sold as such will actually stay small. The risk of ending up with a large pig can be somewhat minimized by looking at the pig’s parents and grandparents if possible. If they are on the smaller side, the odds are better that the pig will remain small. However, since pigs can breed years before they fully mature, unscrupulous or ignorant breeders may show off parent pigs which are not fully grown themselves, so have not reached their full adult size. Some breeders may falsely claim that a mini-pig is guaranteed to stay under a certain weight, and sometimes will recommend a diet regimen that starves the animal and unnaturally stunts its growth.
In 2012, the Juliana Pig Association & Registry (JPAR) was officially founded. This registry is concerned with the lineage and breeding of a subset group of miniature pigs called Juliana pigs. JPAR records lineage, size, and age on every pig entered and has an online database that is open to the public. JPAR has a breed standard, Code of Ethics for responsible breeding, and consequences to falsification of information for farms that make false claims about their pigs. As JPAR grows so does the consistency of this particular breed of miniature pig.
Some towns and cities have ordinances disallowing farm animals within city limits; a pig is usually considered a farm animal regardless of its size. As well, many small animal vets will not treat pigs. Since these animals have a life span of 15 to 20 years, they require long term commitment. Due to their ability to bond, combined with their need for attention, people who have limited time for a pet may find a pig far more than they can handle. Additionally, if pet pigs are not properly trained when they are young, just like a dog they can strive for dominance and become aggressive.
There are multiple animal rescue organizations set up to find new homes for pet pigs which have grown too large or otherwise unmanageable for their owners. In 2009, pig sanctuaries took in approximately 300,000 pigs which were surrendered by their owners, and abandoned pigs that cannot be rehomed are often euthanized.
One of the most common misconceptions about Micro pigs is their size. At birth, Teacup pigs weigh just a little bit more than half a pound, so they really look miniature. However, adult Teacup pigs weigh about 65 pounds and their height is 12 to 16 inches. As you can see, fully grown ‘micro’ pigs aren’t that tiny; they are about the size of a Spaniel.
It’s hard to believe Micro pigs were originally developed from the Kune Kune Pig, a New Zealand breed, which can weigh up to 200 pounds. The new ‘Mini pig’ is a mixture of those potbellied pigs with the Tamworth, Kune Kune and Gloucester Old Spot breeds. Mini pigs were originally named Pennywell miniatures, after the farm in Devon, England, where they were first born.
Micro pigs became very popular in late 2009 after several mainstream press articles claimed they were a popular pet to celebrities such as Rupert Grint (of Harry Potter fame). On average, a teacup pig costs about $1,000.
Caring for a Micro Pig
Teacup pigs are affectionate, non-destructive, and very intelligent. They are relatively low maintenance pets and require approximately the same amount of daily care as a similar size dog. Just like with any dog, you’ll need to be consistent with your little friend. The entire family must follow the rules you set up for your Teacup pig, and these rules must never be broken.
Regular exercise and mental work are necessary because otherwise Micro pigs can become very lazy (obese as a result) and even aggressive. Daily walks on the leash are a must to keep them fit. They also need company and should not be left alone for too long at a time. A garden for play is preferable. Be sure to provide them with a designated area to root and dig. Micro pigs can be house trained. Additionally, they can be trained to perform tricks.
While dogs are motivated by the desire to please, Micro pigs are motivated by food. They will need protection from dogs that they are not familiar with as mini pigs are not able to ward off dog attacks.
Teacup pigs are clean and odourless. Unlike dogs, they have no fleas. They are also good for people that suffer from an allergy to cats or dogs. Obviously, micro pigs don’t bark, which is another advantage of having them as pets.
Chris Murray usually sells Teacup pigs in pairs, “so that they always have company and a companion to snuggle down with on cold winter nights.”
In many countries you need special permission to own a pet pig. You must also make sure that your local vet has the necessary knowledge to treat Micro pigs.
The Micro pigs’ lifespan is approximately 15 to 20 years.
Questions about Micropigs
What is a Micro Pig?
A Micro Pig is, in other words, a little pig, much smaller than a regular pig. This has been developed over many years of careful breeding.
How are they so small?
Micro Pigs have been developed over many years of careful breeding, hence their small size.
Can anyone own a Micro Pig?
No, you must have a Pig Herd Number from the The Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.
Do Micro Pigs make good house pets?
They do but just like little puppies, they require lots of patience and attention. Also, as they are so sociable, they can become destructive if you leave them alone too long.
How long does a micro pig live for?
On average they have a life span of 12-20 years.
So you have just bought a Micro Pig, What do they require?
1. They require a lot of love. You will get out of your pet what you put into it. If you work with it and train it you will have a wonderful friend.
2. They do not require much food. When you first get your pet, if it is a baby, you only need to give it 1/4 cup of pig chow in the morning and 1/4 cup in the evening. In between that you can give them fruits and vegetables while you are working with them or training them. Never feed your piggy Avocado or Chocolate. These are toxic to pigs. Pigs also have salt toxicitiy issues. Never feed your pig salted items such as potatoe chips or salted popcorn. Air popped corn is fine as an occasional treat. Fruits should always be given in moderation because of the natural sugars. We give ours watermelon with just a bit of fruit left on the rind. They love this. This is just a guideline. If your pig is less active and has a slower metabolism you’ll need to feed less. If your pig is more active and has a faster metabolism you’ll need to feed more. You’ll also increase the food intake as they mature. Follow the directions on the back of your feed.
Being as smart as they are they can learn to open lower kitchen cabinets if there is food in there. Always ensure that you either keep food and poisons above the pigs reach or you put child locks on your doors. A pig will learn to open your cupboard doors and help themselves if there is food there.
3. They require water at all times. Since their noses are very strong they can easily turn their water dish over. You need to either have a heavy enough dish that they can not tip over or you need to secure it so it can not be tipped over. Since pigs do not sweat, they must always have water.
4. They need blankets. They need an indoor blanket, an outdoor blanket, and a car blanket if you plan to take them with you a lot. Blankets are very important to pigs. They pull them around, they hid under them, and they take them to bed with them. An old blanket will do, you don’t need to use good blankets. In fact, if your pet thinks it is too large they may tear it in sections.
5. Your pet pig can be trained to use a litter box, paper trained, or trained to go outside or use a dog door. All our pigs here at Pixie Pigs come litter box trained. We suggest using dog litter boxes and dog litter. The dog litter boxes have an opening so that your little piggy can easily walk in and out. Pigs do not like to climb over the edge of a traditional cat litter box. The litter is a recycled newspaper product and works great.