What Is A Mirco-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.
c Nancy Shepherd