Teacup pigs are a British pet craze that has been around for a while. That being said, are these micro mini pigs the pet of tomorrow or just another example of tall tales (or small ones, as the case may be)?
Teacup Pigs Make a Big Splash
The Today Show brings to light the teacup pig craze going on in Great Britain. Cute as can be, these micro mini pigs weigh in at about nine ounces when they are born. As adults, they will weigh about 65 pounds, which has them beat the average potbellied pig that made the news in the United States some years back. Add celebrity teacup pig owners to the mix, and breeders with teacup pigs for sale can demand right around $1,100 per animal.
The Telegraph reveals that teacup pigs are actually bred by crossing miniature potbellied pigs with Kune Kunes and similar porcine breeds to reduce the size. With regards to life expectancy, it is said that the average teacup pig owner may expect about 18 years of happy company with these dog sized pigs.
On American Shores: Are Homegrown Teacup Pigs Really Micro Pigs or Hogs in Mini Pigs’ Clothes?
The idea of the mini pig is not new; already last year there were warnings going out to pig lovers that teacup pigs were not always going to stay small. Livelong pig lover and potbellied pig book author Priscilla Valentine warned that pig owners — who were taken in by supposed micro, mini or teacup pigs — found out the hard way that the adult pigs exceeded the (then) promised 25 pound weight, and some actually topped out at above 100 pounds. Not surprisingly, these animals were dropped off at animal shelters and pig rescues, since these sizes are a long way from the supposed lap pig consumers were sold.
Another issue that is well worth considering is the notion that a mix between a miniature potbellied pig and a Kune Kune can produce teacup pigs. According to Pigs4Ever, a miniature potbellied pig still weighs in at about 150 pounds, while a Kune Kune tops the scales at an estimated 400 pounds. A more serious allegation is the notion that animals advertised as teacup of micro mini will only live to about five years of age and die due to internal deformities brought on by their breeding reduced frame. While the authors do not address the British pig craze, they warn that American stock comes from the same genetic line, and thus there are no sudden new lines with the genetic variation of teacup size.
If You Are In the Market for Teacup Pigs
It is undeniable that teacup pigs are adorable. While the British teacup pigs may truly remain of small size, there is little doubt that some American backyard breeders will jump on the bandwagon and try to create their own micro mini pigs to cash in. While they may offer their versions of teacup pigs for sale, the growing porkers may still take after their potbellied ancestors and weigh in at between 60 and 175 pounds, as outlined by Potbelly Pigs.
Before spending your hard earned cash at a piglet mill, check with pig rescue organizations to see if there are some smaller pigs available for adoption. Moreover, if you go for the piglet, only purchase one from a reputable breeder, who has been in business for a while; avoid backyard operations that seem to have sprung up virtually overnight. Hope for the smallest, but be prepared for a pig that might revert back to its nature of being potbellied. Remember: what might be possible right now in the UK is not necessarily already available in the US.
Last but not least, do not buy teacup pigs, micro mini pigs, or any other kind of the supposed micro pigs because they are hot right now. These animals require serious commitments, and your home may not even be in an area zoned for pig ownership.