Understanding the different breeds and sizes
Here is a clip from the Tyra Banks shows, where a Small Breed Pig Breeder explains about size, genetics, color, etc.
Did you know...
A Domestic Farm Pig, will exceed 200lbs between 6 & 7 mo. old!
Did you know...
A TRUE Standard Sized Pot Bellied Pig will be between 175 & 225lbs, 28-36" in height, & 29-34" long by 1.5 yrs old!
Did you know...
A Pigs intelligence level is compared to the intelligence level of a 2-3yr old child!
Did you know...
A Pig can actually sense an affliction that someone has, such as Autisum, Down's Syndrome, Post Traumatic Stress Disorter, Comprehension Delay, etc. and are drawn to that person! You can take a Pig that has received very little social & therapy training and place it in a room with 10 kids, and it will almost always pick the one that has been diagnosed with some type of affliction. That is one of many different reasons they are now being used so much for therapy animals!
Did you know...
Pigs can preform motor skills with their mouth & nose, that we preform with our hands!
Did you know...
The only thing edible that is toxic to a Pig is Avacado!
Did you know...
That even though all small breed pigs originated from the Standard Pot Belly Pig, that not all of them will have the large "pot belly", squished snout, & sway back! They come in all shapes with different features!
Depending on which breeder you choose or which sites you research will determine on the information that you find. For example, some sites will tell you that all these pigs are Pot Bellied pigs, and the classifications (Mini, Teacup, Micro, Juliana, etc.) are referring to the size, not breed, because all of them are the same breed. You will also find on some sites, that say a small breed pig does not exist, and they all will become huge and some will even name "specific" breeds, that most of us are not familiar with such as American Guinea Hog, Japanese something, KuneKune, Yucatan, Ossabaw Island Pig, etc. The "specific" breeds, are full sized farm pigs, that get 200+ lbs before they reach 1yr old, although some websites say these are "breeds of small breed pigs".
There is actually several different types of small breed pigs. They are all NOT "Pot Bellies" and will NOT all be the same size, nor will all pigs labeled as "small breed" become huge. However, ALL of the small breeds DID originate from the standard sized Pot Belly pig. Over the years, genetics have been altered to achieve the smallest pig possible. Just like with the Standard Poodle for instance. There is a Standard, Mini, Teacup, & Toy. These are actual breeds of dogs, recognized by the AKC, CKC, & UKC. The Standard was created using a variety of breeds, that were used over time to create exactly what a Standard Poodle is today. All of the smaller breed Poodles, were created by using those breeds, but bred down and genetically altered over time to create the size, colors, etc that they set out to do. They have done the pigs, the exact same way, and most breeders continue to breed down, to be the one that get the "smallest pig" possible. With this has came a variety of sizes that are able to be offered on the market, which were then classified into their own specific breeds. As these pigs become more of a trend, more breeders are working with breeds that are already recognized, and mixing them to create their own breed. Some are out to achieve a certain color or pattern with a certain eye color, while others continue to work toward having the smallest breed recorded.
There are several breeders that already offer their very own breed and specific sizing standards for their created breed. Those are usually the "off the wall" named breeds (Royal Dandies, Dandies Extreme, Exotic Dwarf Pigs, etc.) Which can be very interesting to see what they have to offer, but also a bit concerning if they are unable to produce pedigrees of what they have used to create their breed. A pedigree will go back a minimum of 3 generations, on both sides, and provide weight, length, height and color information, but also birthdates so you know the age of the pigs that have been used, were at the time of their use. By being able to see all of that, you will know if the breedstock used was fully grown when used, and also if the breeders sizing standards, match what was used to create that breed. It can get very confusing if your unsure of what you are looking for or don't have much general knowledge of the small breeds!
The only small breed pig that is currently recognized through an actual association & registry both is the Juliana Pig, which is also known as the Painted Pig. The breeds that are currently recognized by breeders, vets and people all over the world are Mini Pigs, Teacup Pigs, Micro Pigs, Micro Mini Pigs, Pixie Pigs, Nano Pigs, Juliana Pigs, Mini Juliana Pigs, Micro Juliana Pigs, Painted Pigs, & Pocket Pigs. However, none of these are currently recognized by an association (excluding the Juliana Breed), but many are recognized by a registry. Most of these breeds have many breeders working together on establishing an association, like the Juliana Association, and very similar to the AKC for dogs.
Until there is an actual Association for each breed, the sizing standards per breed is solely set by the breeder and based on their own standards that is supposed to be within the "small breed guidelines". Small Breed guidelines states that no small breed should exceed 85lbs. (height, muscle mass, & length guidelines apply). When weighing a pig, or deciding what an expected weight should be, without having a family lineage, it is very difficult. However keep in mind, because there is no Association, there is really no one to enforce these rules, which is why people end up with a "small breed" pig weighing over 100lbs. This also being the reason why so many people say they don't exist, because they were most likely one of the 100lb + small breed pig victims. So ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU KNOW EACH BREEDER'S SIZING STANDARDS FOR ALL BREEDS THEY OFFER BEFORE PURCHASING. But with all that being said, because of the way that the small breeds originated, and genetics being altered, even pigs that are part of the association and/or registry, all have a chance to not be the expected size they should be according to their family lineage (again, very similar to dogs that have a main breed & size classifications for the same base breed, but smaller breeds (Miniature, Teacup, Toy). They could end up smaller or larger than expected. Going on 3 generations of lineage, and all 3 generations on both sides, having up to a 5lb weight variance, 2" length variance, and 1.5" height variance, will give you (the buyer) approx. a 1 in 12,000 chance of getting one that will significantly differ from the sizes of the parents. So, its not likely, but is possible that anyone, even those buying from the best rated or most expensive of the breeders, could end up with a pig that ends up being far from what it was expected or said to be. Also you have to take into consideration the muscle mass of each pig. Most Breeders will subtract the muscle mass from the actual poundage of the pig because you can have a pig that looks 30-35lbs, but actually weighs close to 100lbs. BUT the muscle mass of that pig is where the extra weight comes into play. So it is actually considered not to count by Associations because it is not actual poundage weight. The muscle mass probably needs to be determined by a vet that has many yrs experience in pigs, to be the most accurate. So when your looking to purchase a pig, what most people do not understand or know, is that the actual weight itself does not play very much of a role in the actual size factor of a pig because all pigs have different amounts of muscle mass structure and that cannot be determined by family linage. You need to look more into height & length of a pigs family linage to really determine the expected size.
All of our breeders have a 3-5 generation pedigree, and unless we cross two different breeds(used for breeding down size or specific request for a certain cross), the ones we pair up to breed do not have more than a 5lb, 2", & 1.5" variance and so far, out of 6 yrs, we have not had one returned due to getting larger than what it was supposed to be, as we guarantee the size of our pigs. (See Size Guarantee clause on the purchasing a pig page).
Because we specialize in Therapy Pigs and Companions to fit specific needs, we breed more for temperament, health, intelligence, & socialization, rather than trying to compete with other breeders that only breed down for size, as our size specs for what we offer, so far has been right on.
But just for the realistic side of the business, most people that are purchasing for family pets, or therapy would much rather have a pig that is slightly under or over what the specs say, than to have one that is super small in every aspect, but unsocial, bull headed, or aggressive. All those, if caused by inbreeding (which is the normal cause) will usually lead to underlying issues that will not surface until the pig is older. Which will usually be comprehension issues, more aggression, excessive agitation, poor acceptable motor skills for pigs, and one that "just don't get it" in general. These can also be caused by lack of training. However if lack of training is the cause, you will see this early on because a lot of people make the mistake of thinking pigs are like dogs and do not really start learning & understanding until about 6mo old, which could not be further from wrong! If lack of training is your problem, they will almost always outgrow this when training is started.
Several Breeders will inbreed to keep the "good size" because a lot of the time that good size will come from one certain pair of pigs, meaning they will be litter mates. So they just hold a few from that pair each time they are bred and then breed them together over & over. The sad part of this is that a lot of the ones that do that, don't realize the effects it causes later in life for the pigs. They again, are just worried about achieving the smallest pig. Which we totally agree, the small size is very important! However, you have to consider temperament, disposition, and socialization habits, along with size when your breeding for pets. So its very important when your on the search for a pig that will be used as a pet, companion, assisting with therapy, or being the therapy, to figure out what the breeders that you are considering purchasing from, mainly breed for.