What Is A Micro-Mini Pig?
by Nancy Shepherd
Size is an issue that breeders continually contend with. The pet
market demands a small pig. What is so interesting to me as a past
commercial pig breeder, is that people think a ninety pound potbelly
is BIG. Just let that person come to the farm and check out a seven
hundred pound sow. This commercial sow will be as docile and sweet as
my ninety pound potbelly sow, there's just a whole lot more of her.
What is a micro-mini pig? What is a tea cup pig? What is a miniature
potbellied pig? Unfortunately, the use of the word miniature has been
misinterpreted since the beginning of the potbellied pig revolution.
What I mean by miniature is that compared to a commercial hog a
potbellied pig is much, much smaller. A three year old commercial sow
will weigh as much as eight hundred pounds. Compare this to a
three-year-old potbellied sow weighing ninety pounds. (Remember, your
pig is not full grown until around three years of age.) Potbellied
pigs are naturally small. By selectively breeding smaller pigs, the
resulting offspring will eventually become smaller. Potbellied pig
breeders are involved in this long, arduous process and in due time
there may be an actual miniature potbellied pig.
Personally, I have yet to see a micro-mini or tea cup pig. The claim
that a full-grown pig is only six inches tall is inconceivable to me.
You must remember that I'm from Missouri, the Show Me State; and, to
date I have not seen a pig this size. The unusually small pigs I have
seen appeared unhealthy and stunted, lacking good bone structure,
proper conformation, and good general body condition.
I would love to find a reliable breeder who could produce with
consistency a smaller potbellied pig with excellent conformation and
good bone. Breeders in the industry are striving to attain just this
goal. But the general public need not be misled. They should expect
that a mature, purebred, potbellied pig weigh between 60 and 175
pounds. This is smaller in dimension than many house dogs. People get
so hung up on the weight of a pet pig. The issue should not be the
pounds of the pig, but her health, movement, and social versatility in
terms of how she will fit into one's lifestyle.
A potbellied pig continues to grow for at least two to three years.
Current belief is that the average purebred (not crossbred), healthy,
mature, three year old potbellied pig can weigh from 60 to 175 pounds
and measure from 13 to 26 inches in height, with the length being
proportioanal to the height. Certainly, there are a few potbellies who
will be smaller or larger than this normal range.
Serious breeders will continue to work at the task of producing
quality potbellied pigs who demonstrate sound conformation and good
disposition, along with characteristics that are pleasing and make for
a healthy potbellied pig.