Do Teacup Pigs Really Exist?
The answer to that is yes. And no. There exists a pig who fits comfortably in a teacup, but that pig is actually a piglet. Only hours or days old. Potbellied piglets are not much bigger than a kitten when they're born. Within a few short weeks that piglet won't fit in a teapot. Breeders just love to show pictures of hours-old infants in or next to a teacup, can of soda or something similarly tiny. Within a few weeks however, that baby is never going to fit in a teacup ever again.
If you ask the person who is trying to sell you a "teacup pig" they will insist there is such a creature. Ask the people who ended up with a hundred and eighty pound pet, three or four years down the road, or the people that rescue these former teacup denizens, and the story becomes more clear.
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.
The pigs we are seeing nowadays are often a fair bit smaller than the pure Vietnamese potbellied pigs brought from Vietnam in the 1980s. They have been interbred with many other actual breeds of pigs, from Kune Kunes that hail from New Zealand to different breeds of commercial swine, to feral pigs. If you see a brown piglet with chipmunk stripes down his back, you can be sure there is wild pig somewhere in his not too distant heritage. And those charming stripes will disappear as he ages. Some pigs will remain relatively small, especially in comparison with their enormous farm cousins. Expect at least sixty pounds fully grown, but be prepared for a lot more. While sixty pounds may not sound all that large, you're one very lucky pig parent to get one that small, and remember, that is sixty pounds of pure intelligence and attitude. A pig has a very strong sense of what he wishes to do or where he wishes to go at any given moment, and he also has a strong set of vocal cords to tell you he is displeased.
It's absolutely heartbreaking to see the turmoil created in a pig's life when he is banished from his loving home for growing to his normal capacity. Sanctuary owners will tell you how a surrendered pig shuts down, grieves for his lost family, often lying at the door or at the gate waiting for his family to return for days.
Please do your research before bringing home a pet pig. This website has many testimonials from pig parents who found out the hard way.
Check out sanctuary websites like Lil Orphan Hammies in Solvang, California, Ralphy's Retreat in Ontario, Canada, and Hearts On Noses in British Columbia, Canada, and see for yourself how they are struggling to keep up with the multitudes of pigs being surrendered.
Check out Teacup Pigs, The Myth on Facebook.
Please don't fall for the teacup micro-mini eensy-weensy pig scam. Do your research, for yourself and for that adorable, intelligent, exasperating, willful bundle of piggyness that you want to bring into your home.