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The Truth about ‘Teacup’ Pigs

800px-2pigsBacon jokes aside, pigs can supposedly make good pets.  I say supposedly because, living in an apartment in the city, I've never had the opportunity to meet anyone with a pet pig.  So I really don't have much first (or even second) hand experience on the joys of pig ownership.  But there have been studies that demonstrate that, in general, pigs are more intelligent than dogs are.  They are not as dirty as most people think either, a stereotype perpetuated by the dirty conditions that most farm pigs are forced to live in.

Pigs may make great pets for the right people, but, like any other type of pet, they are not for everyone.  Notably they are not for people who don't have the space to keep them.  Vietnamese Potbelly pigs, probably the breed most commonly kept as pets, and normally much smaller than your average farm pig, can still weight up to 300lbs.

I'll be the first to admit that pictures of tiny baby animals sitting inside teacups are adorable - whether they be puppies, pigs, or anything in between.  But the term 'teacup', when used in reference to the size of any type of animal, really makes me cringe.  Most educated dog fanciers know that 'teacup' is a term used by backyard breeders and puppy mills to try to sell sickly or underage puppies at ridiculously high prices.  While they may surely fit inside a teacup as puppies, most of these dogs, if they even survive long enough to reach adulthood, quickly grow much larger than their new owners were lead to believe they would.  The ones that do remain very small, while they may be cute, are often plagued with crippling and very expensive health problems.

There is no such thing as a 'teacup' pig.  There are no "dandie', 'pocket', 'micro', or 'micro mini' pigs either!  Just like bad breeders of 'teacup' puppies, these terms are used to basically con potential owners into buying an animal under false pretenses.  Pictures of so called 'teacup' or 'mini' pigs are usually pictures of tiny piglets that are mere days old.  Even these tiny little ones can grow to be hundreds of pounds as adults.  Need more proof?  This site is full of testimonials of pig owners who thought they were buying pigs that would stay small as adults.  Many of these so called 'teacup' piglets grew to be hundreds of pounds as adults, far surpassing the weights their owners were told they would reach.

Keeping pigs as pets seems to have became a fad in recent years.  I have no doubts that, for the right people, they can make amazing pets.  Unfortunately when any type of pet starts to become a fad, the numbers of unethical breeders only concerned with making a buck greatly increases.  If you are interested in keeping a pig, or any other animal for that matter, as a pet, please make sure to do your research first.  Make sure you understand the full needs of the animal, and when you are ready either go to a reputable breeder or adopt.  Yes, even more exotic pets such as pigs are oftentimes available for adoption through rescues or shelters.  Pigs especially, because many owners who purchase them without doing proper research first eventually give them up once they reach an undesirable size.

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