About Potbellied Pigs

Potbellied pigs are clean, intelligent, affectionate creatures. Pigs are the fourth smartest animal group on the planet, following only humans, apes and chimps, whales and dolphins.

Their intelligence, curiosity and charm make them appealing, but it may also make them a challenging pet.  Pigs have special needs. They make wonderful pets for those people who understand their special needs and are willing to educate themselves and meet those needs. They require extra patience and perseverance, but it is more than made up for by their wonderful personalities!

Want some basic facts?

Download our Fact Sheet about pot-bellied pigs, with all the info you'll need!

Thinking about adding a minature pig to your family?

Top 10 Questions about potbellied pigs:

1. What Do They Eat?

There are special feeds specifically developed for potbellied pigs. They also enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables (beware of some seeds). Potbellied pigs must be fed twice a day and need to have water always available. Avoid giving table scraps which can cause obesity or other health problems.

2. Do They Get Along With Dogs and Cats?

Potbellied pigs usually get along very well with dogs and cats. The main exception is with dogs that are too aggressive and chase or attack the pig.

3. How Big Do They Get?

Size is determined by genetics. There are different miniature pig bloodlines and some pet pigs may have a farm hog among their ancestors. A pig weighs much more than a dog that appears to be the same size. Look at the parents to get a better idea of the future size of the offspring. The adults' age should also be considered. A sow can have her first litter before she is 8 months old. Potbellied pigs don't get their full growth until about 3 years of age. Large parents usually mean the piglets will grow to be large.

4. Are They Really Smart?

Yes. Pet pigs learn much by simple observation, but they can learn both good and bad behaviors. If you let your piggy know where the food is kept, he may learn to open the cupboard or refrigerator by himself. Some wipe their feet at the door; one answers the phone when no one else does. Some pets have been taught more than thirty tricks. The keys to success in training are patience, persistence and common sense. If you lack any of these keys, you may want to consider a different pet.

5. Can They Be Housebroken?

Yes. Potbellied pigs are relatively clean animals. In fact, most will housebreak themselves. They prefer to go potty either outside or in a litter box. However, if the location chosen is not kept clean, the pet pig will move to another area.

6. Where Do I Buy One?

It is best to buy from a reputable breeder, one who sells registered potbellied pigs that are guaranteed to be healthy, current on inoculations, and spayed or neutered. You may want to consider adopting a previously owned pig (see question nine).

7. Is Help Available For New Owners?

Yes. The Northwest Miniature Pig Association has an active membership that works hard to gather available information about potbellied pigs. Members are eager to share their experiences and knowledge about the care of pet pigs, including suggested veterinarians who specialize in potbellied pigs. Also, the NWMPA publishes a bimonthly newsletter to keep its members informed about club events and general pet pig knowledge.

8. Am I Ready For A Long Term Commitment?

Be sure you are ready for the long term commitment. Raising a potbellied pig is similar to raising a child. If you take on the commitment of a piglet, remember it will grow and will continue to need your love and attention. The average lifespan of a healthy potbellied pig is about 15 years.

9. Are There Adoptable Pigs That Need Homes?

There are several NWMPA members who care for foster pigs in need of adoption. Unfortunately, most have been rescued because someone was not ready for the long term commitment of raising a potbellied pig.

10. Teacup Pigs? Is there such a thing?

Are you considering purchasing a "Teacup Pig"? A "Dandie" Pig? A Potbelly Pig? A "miniature" or "pocket" pig? Are they all the same pet? Are they all the same pig? YES, THEY ARE! The term "Teacup" refers to the SIZE of the pig, NOT the type of pig!

Can you reduce the size of an animal by inbreeding the smallest of the smallest in a litter? By starving it? YES, YOU CAN! If you starved your child, you would eventually stunt their growth! Is it worth the health problems down the road? Is it worth a shorter life span of your pet pig? NO, IT IS NOT! Would you do that to your own child? Then why do it to an animal? Pigs can be up to a 20 year commitment... are you prepared for the massive health issues and vet expenses that comes with altering the size of your pet?

Please check back frequently as we build the facts and the fiction! If you are expecting to give up your pig if it gets too large or weighs too much, ASK THE BREEDER: Will you take back this pig should it become 100 or even 200 pounds? If they say no, DON'T BUY! Are you invited into their home to see the pig parents and babies interact? Can they provide proof of the age of the parent pigs? If not, they are not a reputable breeder! Do breeders sell sick, wormy piglets as "teacup" pigs? Yes! And as soon as they are brought back to health and put on a proper diet, they become regular sized potbellied pigs! Sanctuaries are overflowing with teacup pigs that could've, should've, would've, but didn't and all because size was of the utmost importance! If size is what you are looking for, a pig may not be right for you! No matter what the size, a pig is a pig and needs outside time! Time to root, time to dig, time to be a regular pig! There are almost no pigs, large or small, that can live in a condo or home where there is no yard! If you provide for the specialized needs of your pig, you and your pig will live a long, happy life!

Thank you for checking back frequently while we gather and add information that can give you a clear understanding of pigs as pets before you purchase or perhaps adopt that special pig pet.

Please be sure to read the articles on the Teacup Pig Info web site.

11. Is It Necessary To Spay/Neuter?

Yes! Potbellied pigs mature sexually as early as 8 weeks. An un-neutered male has an unpleasant odor and will try to ride your leg or the furniture. A neutered male will lose this odor and offensive behavior. Unspayed females have a heat cycle every 21 days which lasts from 5 to 7 days. They may jump on you, whine for hours, and forget their potty training. A spayed female will not behave this way. Many pet pigs are given up because of behaviors resulting from not being spayed or neutered.

Want and need more information?

Contact NWMPA members or click on the links below, provided to you by the North American Potbellied Pig Association (NAPPA).