The myth of teacup pigs has been around for more than 20 years, ever since pig breeders set about making people believe that baby potbellied pigs were actually a unique breed of mini-pig which were small enough to fit into your pocket.
Armed with incredibly cute pictures and some false facts about their size, weight, feeding, and housing needs, breeders have been able to sell huge amounts of these pot-bellied pigs to unsuspecting victims. The truth is that most new owners are simply not prepared for what is to come in the months and years after they welcome them into their homes.
Breeders often pair together two very young piglets, meaning that when the litter is born, they are able to show prospective buyers the parents, saying that they are fully grown adults, even though they know full well that they are in fact little more than babies themselves.
The truth is: there is no such thing as a teacup pig.
While there’s no denying that the idea of having a teacup-sized little porcine buddy to share your house with, cuddle up to, and hang out with, is a dream come true for some animal lovers, the reality of the situation is something quite different.
The True Size of a Teacup Pig
Once fully grown, the true size of a teacup pig can be as much as 300 lb., which is more than ten times the size they are when they are still babies. While this is still considerably smaller than other pig breeds which can reach more than 1,000 lb., it’s a far cry from the myth of the 12 lb. teacup pig which breeders are claiming.
When people buy ‘miniature pigs’ and take them home, it becomes clear after just three or four months that the pigs are beginning to outgrow their advertised size, and as their growth continues, they can become quite a handful to look after.
Most Homes are Completely Unsuitable
Pigs require a large amount of space to roam, snuffle, dig, and root around in, and while your house or garden may be a great environment for them when they are very young, the vast majority of homes are simply not suitable for a fully grown potbelly pig.
When the living conditions are less than ideal for the pig, they can become bored, frustrated, and very destructive. Many people have also been told that it is not essential to have a garden as these miniature pigs can be litter trained. While it’s true that pigs are extremely intelligent and can learn to use a litter box, a ‘house pig’ who is never able to go outside is being deprived of the ability to carry out its natural behaviors and can become very unhappy.
Apart from the ethical issues of having a pig in an unsuitable home, the law actually prevents people in many regions from having a large pig in their house. This means that anyone considering looking after a pig needs to check the regulations in their area before going ahead, as you could be breaking the law.
Huge Numbers of Pigs are Being Abandoned
As such a large number of pot-bellied pigs are being sold to unsuspecting victims as teacup pigs each year, thousands are being abandoned, neglected, handed over to shelters, and put down. In some states, shelters are unable to cope with the number of abandoned pigs, and this is causing serious problems.
This is why it’s so important to spread the truth about the issue and to inform anyone who is considering buying a teacup pig to re-consider. It’s not fair to the pigs, and it can also cause a large amount of stress and worry for the owners who fall in love with their mini companions and then end up being caught in a difficult position when it becomes clear that they’re not equipped to look after them when they start growing up.
Rescue a Pig, Don’t Buy From a Breeder
If you are a responsible carer and you have a home suitable to look after a pot-bellied pig, then please don’t buy from a breeder, rescue an abandoned pig from one of the many shelters around the country instead. We have a number of pot-bellied pigs at our sanctuary, and they are a real joy to spend time with. However, I can vouch for the fact that they are a handful to look after, as they’re constantly bashing things down, breaking through fencing, and digging huge craters in the ground! In an ideal world, these beautiful animals would not be domesticated, living in cities, towns, and farms. They would be in their natural environment, but since that’s not the case, it’s our duty to look after and protect those who have been mistreated, mislabeled, and sold under false pretenses.
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I couldn\’t agree more!! I was obsessed for three years about having one of those little creatures. The only concern I had is that it won’t probably be suitable for an apartment. I googled it to check if there were any providers around, and it was on: ads were there everywhere I went: on Facebook, Gmail… everywhere!
Even though I have read many bad things about them, the obsession never faded away. I discovered later I had suffered from what specialists calle a Confirmation Bias. This happens when you want something so bad that your brain simply decides to ignore all the dissuasive information
My Pig is now 20 lbs. although the breeder told he only can reach a weight of 10 lbs. My apartment gets pretty messy. I don’t think I can handle it anymore.
I must respectfully disagree. The fact that there are still people out there believing that the pig they are about to buy will stop growing at 20 lbs. means we need to spread the word further and faster.
I didn\’t get the feeling that the author is calling *all* pig breeders liars. But any of them who tell you that their pigs won\’t get any larger than 20 lbs. are indeed lying. They tell you "don\’t overfeed it" and have you put the poor baby on a starvation diet–leading to health problems. It took thousands and thousands of generations to get Chihuahuas from wolves. And it will take that long to get healthy 20 lb. pigs–not the 20 or so years that breeding mini pigs has been fashionable.
The fact she didn\’t say "some" breeder implies all. In fact, as a breeder I find this article to be defaming. And for your comments, not all breeders tell you to starve a pig, but you cannot free feed them forever either. There is a body conditioning chart floating all over the internet that GOOD breeders post all the time, give to the potential buyers so they know what to look for body-wise. People have got to open their eyes and use their brains, if it sounds too good to be true is usually is. Most miniature pigs (not farm hogs) will be somewhere between 60 and 150lbs if fed right. Feeding right means a balanced diet of mini pig pellet, fruits, and veggies. Feed makers work with scientists to come up with feeding guidelines. That is what should be followed, the higher end for more active, faster metabolism pigs. Always go by sight over anything though. Guidelines are guidelines, not requirements.
Lynn, you ARE the reason we have pig rescues. People spend thousands of dollars on a pig promised to stay below 60 pounds and when they grow out of their cuteness they get abandoned, ending up in shelters. The shelters exist because people choose breed and see potbelly pigs as apartment pets. Also, 60 pound pigs, almost never exist fully grown. I\’ve yet to see a healthy full grown 5 year old pig that is under 100 pounds.
Biased articles like this only contribute to the problem. If you are a sanctuary, it should be stated in the beginning of the article. 2. Not all breeders lie written here. There is clearly an alterior motive to this article when at the end you have oh rescue, don\’t buy, btw we run a rescue.
I agree with Lynn….I will not be following this thread any more.
Lynn, money hungry breeders like you disgust me. You breeders lie all the time in regards to how much your pig is going to weigh, blaming it on overfeeding when it grows beyond the expected size. The very reason we have pig sanctuaries comes from breeders who sell their product to naïve customers, told by the breeder that their pet will only weight 25 pounds, make a nice tame pet, etc. All for $3000!!! If you are a breeder, you are indeed contributing to the problem of abandoned pigs which are swelling up sanctuaries like plague. Shame on you for defaming a group of honest people who actually want to help these animals and not treat them like hotcakes.
So Lynn, how much do you sell your pigs for? Do you make sure your precious piglets will be able to live outside and that their owners will have the money for tusk and hoof trimmings? Along with specialized veterinary are? Do you tell your customers to only feed their pigs one or one half cups of food a day? Do you have any pictures of FULL GROWN pigs on your website? Or are they all just cute little piglets? (BTW, I am not a pig person nor do I ever plan on adopting one, I simply just don\’t like lies being told about potbelly pigs).