n today's society, we most often see pigs as our next meal, which is a shame when considering their personalities and lovable nature. Get an idea of their playful demeanor in this video:
They are lovable creatures, but due to the pig's popularity as a house pet, more people abandoned these hogs when they grew larger than expected. There are a number of efforts around the world to find them homes, such as the California Potbellied Pig Association (CPPA) and the Southern California Association for Miniature Pot Bellied Pigs (SCAMPP). Thousands of pet pigs a year are abandoned.
In the early 1990s, the height of the potbellied craze began, but more of these pigs were discarded.
The Vietnamese breed was first introduced in the U.S. in the 1980s from Canada. They became a prime pet attraction because of their intelligence and easy-going nature. Pot Bellies are smarter than standard American or European pigs, and these are the kinds of hogs you're most likely to find at fairs and carnival attractions.
They can also be taught a variety of tricks, and will make wonderful additions as indoor companions. They are bred from miniature and standard-sized pigs, but they can weigh up to 150 pounds. Some can even reach up to 200 pounds. Their average height is 3 feet and 15 inches in length. They are usually not considered fully grown until about 5 years of age, and their natural life expectancy is anywhere from 12-15 years. And because they were bred from other pig stock, their colors can range from red, black and white.
Since these pigs are natural foragers, their natural inclination will be to dig up the ground in search of things to eat, so if you have a well-manicured yard this is something to keep in mind. They are voracious diggers, and have been known to tear up backyards. On the other hand, if your yard is in need of heavy and continuous maintenance, these are your go-to pigs to get the job done.
But if you want to curb their foraging behavior a little, one way to do this is by giving them some stimulation like toys to play with, or their very own digging box. Just make sure that any objects in the box are not small enough to swallow. And contrary to popular belief, the health of the pig can be compromised if overfed. Check with your veterinarian on the best nutrition for your pot-bellied pig.
Both sexes need to be neutered. On one hand, unneutered females will suffer from mood swings, while the males will tend to give off a pungent odor.
Interaction in the Home
One thing about pot-bellied pigs, and other pigs in general, could be their sensitivity to being held. This is not anything against you, but since they are natural prey to other animals, being held or grasped in any way can alert their defenses. And be especially careful if you have a pet in the house. Having your pot-bellied pig around a dog, for instance, is something best left to the discretion of the pet owner. Pet owners have reported positive interactions, but everyone's case is different, and it will depend on the personalities of both animals. Pigs do have excellent memories, and that first impression will be key.
If they will be outside pets, pot-bellies will need plenty of room and a lukewarm temperature of around 70 degrees to stay warm. Pigs do not do well in extreme weather, but you can apply sunscreen on them as protection. You can also provide them with a mud area, so they can cake it on their skins when it gets really hot. A dog house will do well for shelter; just make sure the dog and pig aren't sharing the same quarters. And the hog will need the usual trimmings: straw, blankets, toys, but most importantly, love and attention.