Pot-bellied pig

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Pot-bellied pig
Two pot-bellied pigs sleeping
Two pot-bellied pigs sleeping
Country of origin Vietnam
  • Pig
  • Sus scrofa domesticus

The pot-bellied pig (Vietnamese: lợn ỉ) is a breed of domesticated pig originating in Vietnam.


Pot-bellied pig
Young pot-bellied pig
Standing pot-bellied pig

Considerably smaller than standard American or European farm pigs, they weigh 43 to 136 kg (100 to 300 lb),[citation needed] or, according to one source, 60 to 100kg (125 to over 200lb), with some types bred to be rather more miniature.[1]

Boars, intact male pigs, become fertile at six months of age, long before they are completely physically mature. Pot-bellied pigs are considered fully grown by six years of age, when the epiphyseal plates in the long bones of the legs finally close.

Because pot-bellied pigs are the same species as ordinary farmyard pigs and descended from wild boars, they are capable of interbreeding. Most pot-bellied pigs have been crossed with various farm pig breeds. A 2004 study by them revealed extreme genetic diversity in indigenous Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs. They were also genetically different from each other according to location of origin in Vietnam. Pig breeds from developed countries were refined over centuries to a specific genetic make-up.[2][3][better source needed] This means a cross between a purebred Vietnamese pot-bellied and another pig type, its genetic material is more diverse and the offspring will resemble the more specific pig imports.[citation needed] The German Agriculture Ministry has been assisting Vietnam with its pork production by introducing large breeds of pigs into Vietnam since the mid-1980s.[4]

Indigenous populations[edit]

Today, the Vietnamese and German governments have realized that the indigenous Vietnamese pig breed[5] exists only in mountainous Vietnam and Thailand. The Vietnamese government has begun to subsidize local farmers who continue to raise the indigenous pot-bellied pigs because it realizes they are neither as prolific nor as large as other breeds.[4]


Many breeders recommend the spaying or neutering of both sexes at a young age if the owner does not wish to breed them.[6] Many local laws also require licensed pet pigs to be neutered.[7] The procedure is different from the method used in farm pigs.[8][9] Neutering is said to reduce the aggression of boars and female pigs during estrus, as well as the risk of testicular cancer and uterine tumors.[10] The hoofs and tusks are also recommended to be trimmed.[11]


Pot-bellied pigs have been abandoned when owners discover that these pigs actually grow to larger sizes and require more care than they believed.[1][12][13] Others are forced to give up pet pigs due to local ordinances.[14][15]

According to Adam Goldfarb, the director of the Pets At Risk program for the Humane Society of the United States, "Pot-bellied pigs are really emblematic of what happens to an animal when it becomes a popular or fad pet. We saw this in the '90s when there was the initial pot-bellied pig craze. A lot of people went to buy them because they are so cute when they are little, but then they get big."[16]

Pot-bellied pig associations recommend adoption from local shelters instead of buying. Others like the Southern California Association for Miniature Pot-bellied Pigs and the California Pot-bellied Pig Association are actively involved in housing abandoned pet pigs.[17] Despite this, shelters often have difficulty in finding new homes for abandoned pigs.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lianne Mcleod. "Pot Bellied Pigs as Pets: What to Expect from a Pet Pig". About.com. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ Frantz, L (2015). "Evidence of long-term gene flow and selection during domestication from analyses of Eurasian wild and domestic pig genomes". Nat. Genet. 47: 1141–8. doi:10.1038/ng.3394. PMID 26323058. 
  3. ^ They, N.T.D. 2004. Genetic diversity and distances of Vietnamese and European pig breeds analysed with Microsatellite loci. Dissertation. Shaker g. Aachen, Germany.
  4. ^ a b Huyen, Le Thi Thanh; Roessler, Regina; Lemke, Ute; Zárate, Anne Valle (2005). Impact of the use of exotic compared to local pig breeds on socio-economic development and biodiversity in Vietnam (PDF). Beuren, Stuttgart: University of Hohenheim, Institute of Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics; Verlag Ulrich E. Grauer;F. u. T. Müllerbader GmbH. ISBN 3-86186-496-7. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ smaller-than-species-subspecies-races-and-breeds at dummies.com/education/science/ Retrieved 2017-01-26
  6. ^ "Should Have My Pig Spayed Or Neutered?". [petpigs.com The North American Potbellied Pig Association]. 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Ordinance Detail". PetPigZone. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ Laurie J. Gage (2002). Hand-rearing wild and domestic mammals. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8138-2683-7. 
  9. ^ "Pot Bellied Pig Spay". Long Beach Animal Hospital. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  10. ^ Grenville Owen. "Neutered Pigs Make Better Pets". Pigrest. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  11. ^ Chris Christensen. "General Care". California Potbellied Pig Association, Inc. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  12. ^ Grenville Owen. "Not so Micro". Pigrest. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Basic Information". The Menagerie. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  14. ^ Gerry (March 6, 2009). "Pot-bellied pig case sparks local scrutiny". Valley News. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "The Joy of Pigs/ Pigs as Pets". PBS Nature. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  16. ^ Sallie James. "Two potbellied pigs living large in Coral Springs". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Pot Bellied Pig Adoption Links". PigHarmony.com. Retrieved April 17, 2011.