Pig rescuers are fielding calls daily from panicked new pig parents who expected a tiny perfect pet, and now a few months on have a twenty or thirty pound eating machine running around eating their drywall and rooting up carpets. "How much bigger is Porky going to get?" they ask nervously. What some breeders fail to disclose, is that pigs grow for the first three to four years of their life. The fact that pigs are sexually active at three to six months old is a great advantage to those who breed them. They can point to the tiny, perfect parents, no more than babies themselves, and say, "But look how tiny the parents are!"
Sanctuaries that take in these misunderstood pets are full to overflowing, all across North America and beyond. Seeing celebrities toting around teeny-tiny piggies in a purse just adds fuel to the fire. A fire that doesn't seem like it's going to be extinguished any time soon. Sanctuaries are full, pigs are showing up in ever greater numbers in shelters that have only admitted dogs and cats in the past. They're being found wandering on city streets and in farmers fields, set free to fend for themselves when they got to be too much for the owner who didn't do his due diligence in researching their pet.
Breeders are trying all sorts of things to produce ever smaller pigs, from breeding runt to runt, to severely limiting their food, to breeding for the dwarfism gene. All of these practices result in health problems for the pig. An underfed, stunted pig's organs will outgrow their tiny, misshapen bodies, resulting in eventual organ failure. Runts often have life-long health issues if they make it past the critical infant stage. Dwarfism comes with a whole host of health issues, just as in humans.
There are supposedly all kinds of new breeds out there. Teacups, micro minis, royal dandies, Juliana, pixie pigs, pocket pigs, chipmunk pigs, nano pigs, these are all made-up marketing ploys to part unsuspecting consumers from their money.