Photo Credit: @sausagelinx
So-called “teacup pigs” have been gaining a lot of popularity recently, but not many people really know what it’s like to own one. Some call them micro-pigs or Juliana pigs, but most of those terms are actually falsely conveying what a true “teacup pig” is.
After experiencing these amazing pets for myself, and writing many different articles about pet pigs, I hate to see so much false information that spreads about them. The false info causes people who really shouldn’t be getting a pig to get one. Many times these pigs are abandoned or given to a rescue shelter because the parents did not expect them to be what they actually are.
If you’re the kind of person that thinks one of these pigs is for you, wait until you hear about their destructive rooting tendencies before you make any decisions. I’m not saying pigs are bad pets, they’re actually amazing pets in my opinion but only for the right people. Continue reading to find my 13 facts that you need to know before getting a “teacup pig”.
1. “Teacup” pigs are not real
The term “teacup pig” is not a real breed of pig, and it’s actually very misleading to what they actually are. A more correct term to use is mini pig or pot-bellied pig. The reason people call them teacup pigs is because of how many breeders, celebrities, and just common people portray mini pigs as super tiny and super cute pets.
In reality, these pets are not super tiny, they are just as big as any other mini pig. The average size for a healthy adult “teacup” pig ranges between 70 to 150 pounds and 14 to 20 inches tall. That’s heavier than most fully grown German Shepherds!
As you can see in the image above of maggie (my friend’s pig), she looks nowhere near to a pig that should be called a teacup pig, but she is the same breed as any teacup pig is. If you are wondering, Maggie weighs 90 pounds and is 5 years old.
A pet mini pig is only teacup size for their first 6 months if they are not malnourished or inbred. After that, they will be over 15 pounds and growing rapidly. By the time a “teacup” pig is 10 months old, expect them to weigh over 25 pounds. At 1 year, they will weigh around 40 pounds (I have seen many who weigh over 70 pounds at only age 1). They will continue growing all the way until they are around 3 to 5 years of age.
2. “Teacup” pigs that stay smaller than other mini pigs probably have been damaged
Sometimes breeders may promise you that their teacup pigs will stay smaller than most mini pigs. This can be true, but it is usually at a huge cost to the pig. Sometimes breeders will intentionally malnourish or inbreed their pigs so that they won’t grow to be very large.
This severely damages them and can cause many health problems that will cost lots of money in veterinarian bills down the road. Also, these pigs tend to only live for around 5 years, instead of the normal 15 to 20 years that healthy mini pigs will live for. If you want to know how much you are supposed to feed a pig, check out this article here.
3. Breeders will charge you more for “teacup” pigs even though they aren’t worth more
Generally, the smaller the pig will be, the more breeders believe they can charge. Never pay more for a pig just because a breeder is saying they won’t grow as large. Not only is it probably not true, but it also is a good indicator that the pig may have been malnourished or inbred.
If you are currently searching for one, please ensure that the breeders are legitimate by either getting testimonies from other buyers or make sure they are registered by a mini pig organization. The American Mini Pig Association has a list of breeders that they have registered on their website.
4. There are many additional costs when getting a “teacup” pig
The initial cost of a pet pig is around $750-$1,600, on top of that, there are many more costs that will probably surprise you. The table below shows some of the common additional costs of having a mini pig.
|food||$250-$1,000 per year|
|Neuter/Spay (may be included in the price of the pig)||$300-$600|
|medical, vaccinations||$100-$300 per year|
|fencing (for an outside area)||$500-$3,000|
Along with these additional costs, there is also the chance that the pig you get is malnourished or inbred by their breeder. If so, you may be looking at hundreds if not thousands of dollars in veterinarian bills to keep them healthy. Make sure to purchase from a reputable breeder to avoid this.
5. It might be illegal to have a pet pig
Depending on where you are from, there might be many obstacles you will need to pass to even have a pig as a pet. Luckily now that mini pigs are more popular, many of the laws have changed, but you still need to check to make sure. If you are having any problems finding your laws, try contacting your local veterinarian and asking them.
Make sure to do this because I have seen people’s pigs taken away from them because they didn’t know about the zoning laws in their area. Some countries will also make you get special permits to get a pig as well.
5. Pigs get aggressive
Unless we are talking about Kunekune pigs, most pigs are very aggressive even towards their human parents. Pigs are herding animals so they tend to challenge other members in their herd to see who is the leader. They will do this by nudging, charging, and sometimes even biting you because they consider you as part of their herd.
If you have younger children, this might be dangerous because of the chance they get hurt by the pig. Their aggressive behavior cannot be stopped, but if you show your dominance they will be much calmer, especially when you are around. Tell your pig no and give them a nudge back to show dominance when they get aggressive.
6. Most pigs don’t get along well with dogs
Because of the herding tendencies and aggressive behaviors that pigs have, sometimes it might be dangerous having them with dogs. Pigs are naturally prey type animals, and dogs are predators, so there are many differences between the two.
I have seen many stories where pigs have been severely injured or even killed by dogs. Usually, this is not the dog’s fault though. Pigs will annoy your dog with their aggressive behavior which can lead to lethal fights. This doesn’t always happen though, my friend who has the pig in the image above has had no problems.
It is not impossible to have them together, but if you do, I would recommend never leaving them alone together. It’s not worth the risk of something bad happening. If you are interested in having a pig and dog together, check out this article here, which teaches you all you will need to know.
7. Pigs root a lot
Rooting is when pigs stick their snout in the dirt to find nutrients in the soil. It is a tendency that all pigs have including “teacup” pigs. Pigs root when they are hungry, bored, or mad. If they are not outside, they will root inside your house on your floors, walls, sofa, and anything else that they may see.
My friend @sirkevanhamletbakonthefirst experienced her pig rooting inside her home after she left him alone for the first time. As you can see in the image below, rooting can cause a lot of damage so make sure you are prepared.
It’s hard to stop rooting, but there are some things that you can do to try and limit it. Getting another pig and giving your pig a large field are among a few ways to help control it. Read more about how to control rooting here.
8. Pigs are loud
Pigs oink a large portion of the day which can be very annoying for new pig parents. They have many different noises depending on their emotions, with the loudest being their squeal. A pig’s squeal can reach up to 115 decibels, that’s about as loud as revving a chainsaw right next to your ear. Check out the video below to hear what pig oinks sound like (they do this the majority of the day).
9. It’s better to get two pigs
As I’ve stated above, when pigs get lonely, bad things will happen. This is why you should get two of them, especially if you can’t be with your pig 24/7. The company of another pig will keep them happy and reduce destructive behaviors such as rooting.
10. You should have a big yard
Restricting your pig to stay inside only puts a lot of stress on them and you. Having a large fenced-in yard for them to run around, root, and just do pig things will make them much more content. If you don’t have a big yard, a small pigpen will work as well.
Your pig can still live primarily inside, but I just highly recommend to have an outdoor space. In the summertime, you will need to be careful because pigs are sensitive to hot weather. When it gets hot, they will try to roll in mud or water to cool themselves off. Getting a kiddie pool such as this one here on Amazon will be something that your pig will love in the summertime.
In the wintertime, you should keep them inside more often, or make a pigpen/barn for them to stay warm.
11. Pigs gain weight fast and it’s hard for them to lose it
Feeding your pet pig right is extremely important for their health. Obese pigs will have many health issues such as arthritis. It is a big problem in the pet pig community, and I see so many poor pigs who were fed way too much food struggle and become depressed.
I wrote an article that teaches you all you need to know about feeding your pet pig correctly. Check it out by clicking here. Pigs will eat endlessly, and that is why it is so important to only feed them the correct amount.
12. Hoof trimming needs to be done frequently
After every 6 months, your pig will probably need their hoofs to be trimmed. Pig’s who are more active and run on concrete won’t need to be trimmed as often as those who aren’t very active. Usually, you should have this done by your veterinarian or a mini pig hoof Ferrier, but you can do it yourself.
Check out this article here to learn more about hoof trimming.
13. Not many landlords accept pet pigs
Even if your landlord says they are “pet friendly” they still probably don’t want you to have a pig. The reason why is because of how destructive they can be. Just by leaving your pig alone for one hour, the house could be completely torn up just because your pig got lonely.
These are emotional creatures, much more so than dogs and cats. When they feel sad or angry, they will act as such. If your living in a duplex or apartment, a lot of the noise a pig makes may also disturb the other tenants. So please call your landlord and ask if a pig is ok before getting one.
If you are interested in getting a pet pig, please keep in mind that these pets are very different then dogs and cats. They will require more maintenance and more space. Talk to people who have pigs and maybe even try to visit someone who does.
If you are interested, please check out my Instagram by clicking the Instagram icon in the top right of your screen. You can give me a DM or visit my follower’s pages and ask them what it’s like to own a pig. Pretty much everyone in the pet pig community is super friendly and happy to help with any questions you may have.
Source– Merck Veterinarian Manual
Source– American Mini Pig Association