Kunekune Pigs As Pets: All You Need To Know

Photo Credit: Will Thomas

Kunekune pigs (pronounced “koo-nee koo-nee”) are great as pets, but only for the right people. After creating a lot of content around pet pigs and working with them myself, Kunekune’s have always interested me. Although they are not as popular as pot-bellied pigs, I actually believe that they are better than pot-bellied pigs in many different ways.

Here is some general information about Kunekune pigs, Kunekune pigs are very social and friendly pets. Kunekune pigs live for around 15 to 20 years. Kunekune pigs grow between 150 to 300 pounds and are 20 to 32 inches tall. Kunekune pigs cost around $600 to $1400 plus many additional costs that can be very expensive. Kunekune pigs eat mostly grass, food pellets labeled for them, fruits, and vegetables.

Especially if you are interested in getting a Kunekune pig yourself, continue reading to find out all that you will need to know about them.

Kunekune pig appearance and size

Kunekune pigs are somewhat unique compared to many other pigs because of their extremely long hair and huge ears. Their hair keeps them warm in the winter, but in the summer, they will shed. Not all Kunekune pig hair is the same though, as some will have very soft and silky hair, while others will feel rough and bristly.

Kunekune snouts are very similar to pot-bellied pigs in shape, but they are slightly bent upward, as you can see in the image below. This upward bend makes it harder for Kunkune pigs to root, which may save you from having to buy a new sofa, as sometimes other pig breeds will root up your sofa or anything that is in their sight.

How big are Kunekune pigs?

Kunekune pigs are larger than pot-bellied pigs, but they are still much smaller than traditional farm pigs. Adult Kunekune pigs weigh anywhere between 150 to 350 pounds and are 20 to 32 inches tall. Females tend to be smaller than males as they usually weigh around 150 to 250 pounds, but some large males can get all the way to 325 pounds or more. Kunekune pigs will do the majority of their growth in their first 18 months and then continue growing until they are around 3 years old.

Technically Kunekune pigs are considered a mini pig as anything under 300 pounds is, but they are larger than most mini pig breeds such as the pot-bellied pig. Breeders might try to label them as mini pigs, but they should be a medium-sized pig.

Make sure to always beware of breeders who will inbreed or malnourish their pigs in order to make them smaller. Before getting a Kunekune pig from a breeder, try to get testimonies from other buyers of the breeder. Visit this link to learn more about purchasing a Kunekune pig.

Size examples

Toots the Kunekune pig
  • Large female
  • Weighs 240 pounds
  • 30 inches tall
  • Almost 2 years old
Sonny the Kunekune pig
  • Average sized male
  • 1 year 2 months old
  • Weighs 200 pounds

Kunekune pig personalities and behaviors

Kunekune pigs are very loving and social animals, much more so than pot-bellied pigs. One of my friends on Instagram @buster_kunekune had a pot-bellied pig before she got Buster (her Kunekune pig). Although she loved her pot-bellied pig, she says this “Buster, my second pig, is a Kune Kune. He is much more affectionate than my pot-bellied pig was. He is pleasant and happy to meet anyone. He loves belly rubs and getting scratches anytime, anywhere.”

She also says, “So… personality-wise, I love them both. But if a person is looking for a more social, friendly pig, Kunekunes are probably the way to go.” Kunekune pigs will become your best friend and will always want to be by you as long as there isn’t any good food around of course.

Also, as I’ve stated before, Kunekune pigs do not root as much as pot-bellied pigs do because of their upward-bent snouts. Rooting is when pigs will put their snouts in the dirt, searching for nutrients in the soil. Sometimes mini pigs will do this to your floors, walls, and furniture, but Kunekune pigs won’t do it very often. Their upward-bent snouts also discourage them from braking any fencing.

Can you have other pets with a Kunekune Pig?

Because Kunekunes are so social, having another pet is actually great for them. I would actually recommend having 2 Kunekune pigs because they tend to get lonely without any social contact. They do well with pretty much every animal even dogs (who are known for have troubles with pot-bellied pigs).

Although dogs are predators and pigs are prey, Kunekune pigs won’t bother your dog as much as other breeds such as pot-bellied pigs do. Also, Kunekune pigs are so big it’s hard for dogs to hurt them. It’s generally safe to have Kunekune pigs and dogs together but be careful when they are young and your Kunekune is still small.

How to take care of a Kunekune pig

Kunekune pigs are much larger than more traditional pets, so you will need to make sure you have lots of space for them to roam around inside and outside. It is very difficult for people living in apartments or homes with not much square footage because of how much space a Kunekune pig will take up. In order to save you and your Kunekune from any stress, I would recommend having at least a quarter of an acre of fenced-in land that your Kunekune pig can roam freely in.

On this fenced-in land, having a pig barn or some area where your Kunekune pig can go to get out of the hot sun is crucial. One thing that Kunekune pigs love besides rolling in the mud when it’s too hot outside is Kiddie pools. Kunekune pigs are heavy so you will need to get a strong one that won’t break such as this one you can get on Amazon here.

Kunekune pigs and mud

During the summertime, Kunekune pigs will get hot, and because they can not sweat as we humans can, they find other means to cool themselves down. Usually, this is by rolling in the mud or in a kiddie pool (although they seem to enjoy the mud more). When you know your Kunekune pig is going to have to roll in the mud, get your hoes, and make a muddy area for them. For people who don’t want their yards to be destroyed, you could make these muddy areas inside of a barn or pigpen.

Where will your Kunekune pig sleep?

During the nighttime, a barn or pigpen is a great place for them to sleep on hay, but if you don’t have one and they can only sleep in your house, make sure to have a separate room for them to sleep. You could give your pig a whole mattress to sleep on, or just pile up some blankets to make a nice soft spot in their room. Sometimes Kunekune pigs love to sleep inside tents, which you could also set up in their room or in a barn.

Can you keep Kunekune pigs as an inside house pet?

Not really, it is possible to keep Kunekune pigs as house pets, but it is much better if you have a yard and barn for them to be free to do pig things. Kunekune pigs can be potty trained, but keeping them locked up in your home will put stress on them and also stress on you. It’s ok though to let them sleep inside.

Which vets accept Kunekune pigs?

One issue that you may run into while getting a Kunekune pig is that there aren’t many veterinarians that will accept them and the ones that do probably don’t have much experience with Kunekune pigs. Before getting one, call up your local veterinarian and ask if they will do Kunekune pigs. If not, you might have to contact a farm vet or an exotic pet vet near you.

De-worming and vaccines

Kunekune pigs who live primarily outside are at great risk of being infected by worms. This is why every 4 to 6 months starting at 6 weeks old, you should get them de-wormed. Deworming is actually pretty easy to do yourself, but ask your veterinarian what product you should use and how to de-worm your pig, or you can visit this link here, which teaches you all about it.

You should also have your Kunekune pig vaccinated every 6 months. There are many different diseases that your pig can get, and depending on where you live, some will be more common than others. This is why you will need to talk to your breeder and a veterinarian in your area to assess which vaccines will be needed.

How much do Kunekune pigs cost?

The price of a Kunekune pig will depend on if you are buying or adopting, but in general, the cost to buy a Kunekune pig from a breeder is about $600-$1400. This usually includes the cost to spay or neuter and any vaccines that are needed.

If you adopt a Kunekune pig from a rescue shelter, the adoption fee is usually only around $25-$200, but many of these pigs are not spayed or neutered which will usually cost an additional $200-$800 to do. There are also many additional costs of getting a Kunekune pig as you can see in the table below.

Additional costs of having a Kunekune pig

Pigpen, small barn$500-$10,000
Food$30-$90 per month
Medical, additional vaccinations$100-$300 per year
Toys and Miscellaneous Items$50-$400

Feeding your Kunekune

Kunekune pigs are omnivores and can eat a variety of foods, but you should only feed your pet Kunekune alfalfa hay, grass, commercially available pellet feed, fruits, and vegetables. During the summertime, let your Kunekune pig graze your fields and eat all the grass they want. In the wintertime when there is no grass, give them alfalfa hay and more pellet feed and vegetables.

How much should you feed your Kunekune pig?

Kunekune pigs should be fed an amount that is equal in weight to 2% of their body weight daily and split that amount into 2 to 3 meals each day. For example, a 200-pound Kunekune pig should be fed 4 pounds of food daily because 200 x 0.02 = 4. There are two different kinds of ways to feed your mini pig the farm way and the pet way. The farm way is a diet that consists heavily of grass and alfalfa hay, and the pet way is mostly pellet feed. Kunekune pigs should also always have access to water.

Feeding your Kunekune pig the farm way

First off, you will need a large field for your Kunekune pigs to graze in. Your Kunekune pig should eat a combination of many different foods, but in the growing season, it should primarily be grass from your field and a mixture of some pellets, fruits, and vegetables.

In the wintertime, it should be primarily alfalfa hay. In the wintertime, many Kunekune pigs will start to gain too much weight if they are given an infinite supply of alfalfa hay, so you might want to limit the amount of alfalfa to only a pound a day if they seem to be gaining weight. The rest should be a mixture of pellets, vegetables, and fruits.

In the growing season, you should feed your Kunekune pigs fewer pellets, vegetables, and fruits because the majority of their diet will be grass. If you don’t have a field for them to graze in, you could also feed them alfalfa in the summertime. You need to make sure you’re careful though, too much alfalfa will cause an obese pig.

Feeding your Kunekune pig the pet way

Not everyone has a big field for a Kunekune pig to graze in, but you can still feed them without one. Pellet feed that contains a complete diet with 16% protein will also work. There are many different kinds of feed, but most Kunekune owners use Purina Nature’s Match Sow & Pig Complete Feed. This is available to get online or you can get it locally at most Tractor Supply Company stores. The great thing about this feed is that it is meant for all stages of your pig’s life, and it comes in a 50-pound bag (more value) instead of a 25-pound bag that most companies have.

Their pellet feed should be their primary diet, other things such as fruits and vegetables are more like an occasional snack. Make sure that you are still only feeding them 2% of their body weight each day. On top of the pellets, fruits, and vegetables, your Kunekune pig will probably also eat lots of grass in your yard.

What can Kunekune pigs eat?

Most fruits and vegetables are safe for Kunekune pigs, but there are some that may be toxic to them as I explain later. There are more foods that a Kunekune pig can eat than the ones below, but these are just the most common.

  • Pellet feed
  • Grass
  • Alfalfa hay
  • Cheerios (not too many though)
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Bananas
  • Apples (take out the seeds)
  • Pears (take out the seeds)
  • Mango
  • Guava
  • Papaya
  • Pumpkin
  • Watermelon
  • Grapes
  • Berries

What can’t Kunekune pigs eat?

You need to be careful because your Kunekune pigs will eat pretty much anything, but there are some things that are not good for them to eat. Below is a list of foods to not feed a Kunekune pig.

  • Other pet food
  • Meat
  • Bone
  • Chocolate
  • Salty foods
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Most leaves and vines
  • Most seeds
  • Raw Dough
  • Raw beans
  • Avacado (or all pitted food)
  • Potato 
  • Onions
  • Rhubarb
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Cassava

Data was gathered by this source and independent research from our website on this post.

How long do Kunekune pigs live?

Kunekune pigs live around 15 to 20 years long when taken care of correctly, so make sure you are prepared to take care of them for a long time. Many pet pigs are abandoned by their parents because of how long they live and how unexpectedly large they grow, please be prepared for this if you purchase a Kunekune pig.

Are Kunekune pigs safe for my children?

Kunekune pigs are very social and loving animals, but just for safety’s sake, I would recommend always watching if your children are with the pig. Kunekune pigs are heavy and could possibly crush your child, especially if they are very young.

How can you get a Kunekune pig?

Kunekune pigs are not the most popular pet, so finding a reputable breeder may be difficult especially if you are not from the United States. If you live in The United States, the American Kunekune Pig Society has a list of breeders who they have registered, you can check it out by clicking this link. There are also breeders for many other countries, they may just be a bit more difficult to find.

If you are from the United Kingdom, there are some more obstacles you may have to hurtle in order to get one. You can start by visiting this link here from the British Kunekune Society.

The legal aspect of keeping Kunekune pigs as pets

If you are purchasing a Kunekune pig, please check your local laws in your area to make sure they even allow you to get them. Some places will require you to get special registrations, especially in the United Kingdom.

Differences between pot-bellied pigs and Kunekune pigs

Kunekune pigs and pot-bellied pigs are the most popular pig breeds to keep as a pet. There are many similarities between the two, but there are also many differences. If you are deciding between these two breeds, continue reading below.

Kunekune pigs

  • Much more social and friendly to humans and other pets
  • Don’t root as often
  • Have beautiful fur
  • If you are keeping them to eat, their meat tastes better
  • Oderless
  • Grow much larger
  • Usually cost more because of how much space they need and how much they eat
  • Fur sheds more

Pot-bellied pigs

  • Don’t grow as large
  • Are better suited as indoor pets
  • Usually cost less
  • More popular
  • Easier to find help with problems that may occur with the pig
  • Can smell musty sometimes, especially when not spayed or neutered
  • More aggressive
  • Root much more often
  • More likely to rip up your furniture
  • Don’t mix well with dogs

Obviously, it’s all a personal preference, but if you are able to keep your pig outside and you don’t mind them growing very large, I would recommend getting a Kunekune pig because of how friendly they are. If you don’t have a big yard, a pot-bellied pig might be the better option.

What Kunekune pig owners have to say

I asked many different Kunekune pig owners on Instagram if they would recommend others to get a Kunekune, and this is what they said:

“Oh absolutely! They’re super sweet, smart and full of personality. They’re a smaller breed of pig but not a true mini pig.”

“Yes! Absolutely!!!! They are kind, smart, and can easily be anyone’s best friend.”

Another question I asked was, did your pig trust you when you first got him/her, or was he/her nervous about you?

“He came running up to me and trusted me 100% right away. I think that’s more likely in Kunekune piglets than in potbelly piglets, but I could be wrong.”

Other facts about Kunekune pigs

Kunekune pigs are believed to have developed their current form in New Zealand, but DNA shows that the actual origin is probably from Asia. At one point, there were very few left in the world and almost became extinct, but now they’re many organizations backing them and thousands of them around the world.

If you are keeping a pig to eat, Kunekunes have amazing pork.

Note- Pet Pig Pal does not have any association with the American Kunekune Pig Society. Please do your own research before purchasing from a breeder on their list.