General Facts About Mini-Pigs

By Laurie Hess, DVM

Behavior, Care & Wellness, Pet Services

There are many breeds of miniature (or mini) pigs, including the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. These mini-pigs are pet pigs and are different from those found on farms. Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs (also called Asian or Chinese pot-bellied pigs) were first domesticated as pets in Southeast Asia and became popular in the U.S. in the 1990s. Purebred pot-bellied pigs are typically all black with straight tails and upright ears. In addition to pot-bellied pigs, the term mini-pig includes an additional 14 recognized breeds of small pigs including Julianas, KuneKunes, and several others.

How big do mini-pigs get?

Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs typically weigh between 70-150 pounds but can be as heavy as 200 pounds with a height of 14-20 inches at the shoulders. The adult size and weight of other mini-pig breeds is more variable. Typically, the size of a mini-pig may be estimated from the size of its parents. Mini-pigs reach about half their adult size and weight by one year of age but will continue to grow until four to five years of age.

"Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs typically weigh between 70-150 pounds but can be as heavy as 200 pounds with a height of 14-20 inches at the shoulders."

How long do mini-pigs live?

Pot-bellied pigs typically live for 14-21 years, with an average of 15-18 years. To reach maximum lifespan, they must be fed a nutritionally complete diet and receive proper medical care (see handout “Veterinary Care for Mini-Pigs").

How do mini-pigs communicate?

Mini-pigs communicate both with sounds and with body language. They make at least 20 different calls, including barks, squeals, grunts, and screams. Low-pitched grunts are typically made when pigs are simply contacting each other, while high-pitched squeals and screams indicate more urgency, and barks indicate alarm or play.

Auditory (sound) and olfactory (smells) cues are much more important in pig communication than are visual signals. Aggression in pigs is typically communicated by thrusting the head upward or sideways against another pig and sometimes by biting. Submission is indicated by turning the head away. Young pigs explore their environments by rooting (digging) and mouthing newly encountered objects.

Can mini-pigs live with other pets?

Pigs in the wild are prey species, while dogs and cats are predators. Therefore, while dogs and cats can be trained to live harmoniously with mini-pigs, because pigs typically run away when startled, they may cause a predatory response, especially in dogs. Because of this, mini-pigs should never be left alone unsupervised even with the friendliest, potentially predatory, dogs and cats.

Can mini-pigs be trained?

Mini-pigs are very smart and can be trained to walk on a leash/harness and to sit, stay, come, and retrieve objects. They also can be trained to walk up a ramp into a car or a pet carrier for transport and to roll over on to their backs so that their hooves can be trimmed.

"Mini-pigs are very smart and can be trained to walk on a leash/harness and to sit, stay, come, and retrieve objects."

Pigs are very food-motivated; therefore, low-calorie treats, such as juicy pieces of fruit and vegetables, can be used for training. These food items should not be offered at times other than as rewards during training, or the pig will not be motivated to work for them.

Free First Exam

Our pet care experts can't wait to welcome you. 

Find a Local VCA

We're here for you and your pet in 43 states. 
VCA is here for you and your pet Find A Hospital
Loading... Please wait