Here is Book 1 of the Teacup Pig Series
Teacup Pigs in the Home
And in the Wild
A Complete Illustrated Guide
Book 1 (of 6)
by Susan Spencer
Copyright 2013 Susan Spencer
All rights reserved
This book is dedicated to all the pet piggies in the world who are helping to teach people that all animals have ‘personalities’ and deserve love, respect, and at the very least, decent treatment –even those who we have learnt to eat.
It is also dedicated to the people who do the same.
And to ‘Babe’ who started it all…!
A bit about myself (the author)
In other words: why should you bother to read my book? What qualifies me to advise you about keeping and breeding miniature ‘teacup’ pigs?
Animals have always been my passion
In a nutshell, I understand these little pigs very well. I’ve bred them and observed them in the wild in the African bush for the last 20 years. I’ve given hundreds of people advice about their pigs, and have learnt what people need to know to live happily with them. I’ve trained them and other animals professionally, including thousands of dogs who I rescued and re-homed, and am damn good at it! (I train a pig to sit in two minutes: I train a dog to do obedience or tracking in 20 minutes.) I also take nice photos, which you should enjoy!
Forward by the author
When I started breeding miniature pigs nearly 20 years ago it was a new trend to keep pigs as pets, and people knew nothing about them.
They had no idea what pigs were like – whether they were loving and got attached to humans like dogs and cats, and whether they could be aggressive, and for what reasons.
They didn’t know what pigs needed physically or emotionally to be happy members of human families.
They didn’t know what type and size of pigs were available on the market, and fraudsters conned them left, right and centre, selling ‘chinese silverback pigmy pigs’, ‘Taiwanese pigmy pigs, and other exotic, non-existent breeds that supposedly would get no larger than a maltese poodle!
One man’s pig got the size of his Rottweiler!
In 1996 I wrote an article in a magazine about this fraud and what pigs really exist.
17 years later people still don’t know much about pigs – except that they can make good pets.
The conmen (and women) are still having a hay-day. They just use more modern labels for pigs now, such as ‘teacup’, ‘micro’, ‘nano’, ‘pocket’, and so on. (Not as imaginative as the old names, in my opinion. ‘Chinese Silverback Pygmy Pig’ sounds so much more mystical and beautiful than ‘nano pig’. What do you think?)
They’re bolder now too - claiming to have fully grown breeding pigs the size of house cats, or even as small as 10cm (4 inches) high!
What has changed is the number of people who now want pigs as pets. It has become vast.
I’m amazed and glad about it because the reason I’ve bred piggies all these years is to try to teach people that all animals are intelligent and have ‘personalities’. The more they’re kept as pets, the more their owners and others around them will understand and respect them.
With understanding comes compassion, and the more we have of that in the world, the better it is for everyone.
Thank you for reading my book.
I hope that you enjoy it.
30th June 2013.
p.s Indigenous Africans use ‘she’ as a universal pronoun for male, female, or neutral objects. I’ve used it where gender is unknown! A change is good for the brain!
Table of Contents
What is a teacup pig?
Miniature Pigs in the Wild
Minaiture Pigs Can't Swim
Pigs as Pets
Someone to love
Excellent Pets in Town Houses
What They Need to be Happy
Why a Pig?
The Smallest Pigs in the Wild
The Smallest Domestic Pigs in the World
Babies or Adults?
How to Compare Sizes of Pigs
Sizes of Pigs I found on the Internet
Breeds of Miniature Pigs
Vietnamese Miniature Potbellied Pigs
My Own Pigs (Not a Breed)
Fraud! Don't be Conned
Recognize Obvious Fraudsters
Find a Good Breeder
What is a 'teacup' pig?
3 week old Flower posing as a teacup/teapot/bubble/fruity pig!
‘Teacup pig’ is just a popular name given to miniature pigs who are bred as pets.
‘Nano’, ‘micro’, ‘pocket’, etc are also just names given to miniature pigs.
None of these are actual breeds or even types of pigs, but are only descriptions given to any miniature pig of any breed or mixture of breeds.
I’m using the term ‘teacup pig’ in the titles of the books in this series simply because so many people think that this is the smallest breed of pigs that you get. I want to lure them because they need to read my books to become enlightened!
For the rest of the book I will use the term ‘miniature pig’, which is the most accurate term to describe the smallest pet pigs that you can get. (After all – no pigs are the size of teacups; look like teacups; behave like teacups; or have anything to do with teacups!)
To see what breeds you do get and what size the smallest miniature pigs are, look at ‘The smallest pigs in the world’ below.
A bit about what pigs are like, and what they like.
Miniature Pigs in the Wild
Miniature pigs are much the same as any other pig in the wild. Even tame house pigs become ‘wild’ if there are predators around, and learn to run away if a pig snorts the alarm!
My pigs roam freely on my farm in the African bush. (And off of my farm when they get under my fence and visit my neighbour’s veggy garden!)
They like hanging out with their friends, so you’ll see them in small groups.
They spend most of their time in their favourite spots looking for food. They sleep in the shade of trees when it’s hot. They roll in the mud as skin treatment; to get rid of parasites; and to cool down.
When they walk around they use the same paths or trails every time. When they walk in a group somewhere they walk in a line on these trails.
They do their own thing and just make sure they’re home for bed & breakfast.
At night they all sleep together as a big clan, or family, for safety. (We have leopards, hyenas, lynxes and jackals that hunt in our area.) They make nests by pushing dry grass in heaps, and then sleep next to each other head-to-tail with their bodies touching.
If there is an emergency, like when someone is attacking one of their babies, and they hear it screaming, then they will all rush there to gang up on the predator. I don’t think that even a lion would be able to stand his ground against attack by a large herd of bellowing, furious pigs!
If the natural vegetation is good, then they can live very well just by eating grass, leaves and roots – just like wild warthogs and bush pigs.
Miniature pigs can't swim
Flower just after her big adventure (see the action photos below)
Miniature pigs are very small but heavy for their size. Because they are so solid, they can’t swim well. Obviously the fatter they are the worse it is. They have very short legs, which makes it hard to paddle effectively. I know of miniature pigs who have drowned in swimming pools, and I saved a piglet who nearly drowned in a water trough – he’d already sank to the bottom.
(For the same reason stocky dog breeds with short legs, such as scottish terriers and bull terriers, also struggle to swim.)
These pigs instinctively avoid deep water, but if they fall in they can jump out with amazing power if their feet can touch something solid under the water.
My pigs avoid our river and prefer to use shallow, natural water pools and mud holes to drink from and sit in. (They drink from self-filling water troughs when they come home.)
There are delightful video clips of larger pigs with long legs and lighter builds swimming in the sea. Google 'pigs and piglets swimming in the Bahamas'.
Story and action photos to illustrate…
Here are a few action photos that prove that a) miniature pigs cannot fly, and b) they also cannot swim!
I was filming Flower standing by the river. It was a tranquil scene. The sun gently warmed us. The only sound was of birdsong and bubbling water.
Then Flower leapt into the river like a salmon! (On the footage you just hear my sharp intake of breath as I have a fright.) She then sank like a pig and as I stepped into the water to pick her up I slipped on the rocks and fell on my back! (On the footage you just hear a sharper intake of breath!)
Luckily the whole incident lasted 10 seconds and neither Flower nor I got hurt and my amazing little sony camera carried on filming even under water!
Flower walks into the water
and jumps up like a salmon!
She splashes in…and swims like a fish – under water!
I fall; my camera goes under… and takes a scary shot of Flower under water
Flower is wet but well. She shakes off the water - and the experience!
A few hours later she is back at the river, happily tasting rocks and mud!
Pigs as Pets
Pumpkin, a pig who I love, as a piglet and 18 months old
Someone to Love
If you have ever had a pet who you loved, then you will know that she had a personality and presence (soul) that you felt. It’s what you missed when you were separated.
If you have been lucky enough to have loved different animals, then you will have noticed that it doesn’t actually matter what specie she is: a tiny bird can have as big an impact on your life as a dog or horse - or elephant if you’ve been really lucky!
You will find a soul that is special to you in any specie, including humans! The size, shape of body, and genetic traits do not matter where love is concerned.
You can overlook the negative ‘specie’ things, like your horse biting your dog when she has a foal, your dog wanting to kill your cat, and your cat wanting to kill your bird, and your bird fighting with your other birds when they want to breed – perhaps even biting you if they have eggs or chicks! (Yes, I happen to be talking about my own animals here. Don’t worry, it’s just a coincidence that I was mentioned right at the end of the pecking order – I think!)
Clacks protecting her babies from me!
You know the ‘undesirable’ specie traits that your pets tend to have, and you love them anyway.
(You also get a bit clever and take steps to prevent them: You train your pets to behave differently – like socializing them with other animals: You sterilize your dogs to prevent them from fighting each other: You remove nests to stop birds from going into breeding-mode: You make good fences that keep dogs and agro’ horse mums apart.)
The size and shape of body and genetic traits may not matter where love is concerned, but of course it can matter where it comes to fitting into your lifestyle and home.
It would be a bit hard to keep an elephant in your suburban house and garden!
It would also be a bit risky keeping a lion in your town house.
Even a horse would not be suitable in town.
So if you are already living in a town house, you have to choose a pet who will be happy in your environment, and who the environment will be ‘happy’ with!
Excellent Pets in Town Houses
Miniature pigs have the right size and traits for everyone to be happy with them, and if their physical and social needs are met, then they will be happy too.
Why they fit in so well
They are small enough (the size of a medium to small dog).
They are very quiet (unlike many dogs) and so are neighbour- friendly (see ‘Pig Talk’, book 3 in this series, for what noises pigs make, and why).
They have no body odour, and so don’t smell.
They have course hair with no undercoat, so keep clean easily -especially in wet conditions. People are not allergic to pig hair.
They do not shed hair, as many dogs do.
They are very clean in the house and have excellent toilet manners.
They will not ‘mark’ things by urinating on furniture etc, as dogs can, or on themselves, as goats do. (You can smell some rams from far away!)
(Pigs do not urinate to mark territory at all.)
They will not chew things, even as piglets (I know of a couple of rare exceptions).
They will not dig up the garden if they have enough food and a good bed to sleep in.
(They can dig for roots if they are very hungry, and they will dig a bed for themselves in the garden if they don’t have comfortable ones given to them.)
They will not jump up against you, as dogs can do. (They can stand up against something, like a sofa, if they are waiting for something – like food.)
They won’t be aggressive towards others if their social needs are met, as listed below.
(For more causes of aggression, see ‘Pig AGGRESSION’, book 4 in this series).
What They Need to be Happy
Pumpkin enjoying a tummy-rub
They need love and attention from their human family.
They need a cosy bed to sleep in and a warm place to go if it is cold, and a cool place to go if it is hot.
They need physical company (i.e. not just seeing someone the other side of a fence but actually being able to touch someone) all the time – day and night.
(The biggest cause of abnormal aggression in pigs is when they are isolated. See ‘Pig AGGRESSION’, book 4 in this series, for details.)
Piglets need physical contact for their wellbeing
They need enough good food. Raw fresh veggies are very important. (See book 5 in this series, ‘Food and Health’ for details and photos of how a healthy pig in good shape should look, and when she’s fat and when she’s thin.)
They need a garden, however small, with real grass or soil to play in, to feel the sun’s and earth’s energy in. There should be a sunny area, and some shade.
Midge ‘smelling the roses’
Have you heard the expression that in our busy lives we need to ‘stop to smell the roses’? Well apart from meaning that we should enjoy our life in the moment – appreciate and take pleasure in the things around us and what we are doing, it also means that we should connect to nature, even if it’s in our garden. We need to re-connect with the earth’s vibration, which doesn’t happen well inside buildings or on top of cement or paving. We need bare feet and real soil, and so do all animals. (So don’t put shoes on your pig - just joking!)
NO ANIMAL SHOULD BE KEPT INSIDE A HOUSE ONLY. Take them outside – even if it’s in cages. (Just don’t fry them in the sun – they need shade too if it’s hot.) This goes for mammals, birds, reptiles, and, with care, some fish.
Back to our list of what pigs need to be happy…
They need to go for outings now and again in the car or just for a walk. They (and dogs) get as bored as humans do – so imagine how you would feel if you never left your house. (O.K – I’m not talking to any agoraphobics reading this!)
Pigs walk around quite far if they have the space, so see lots of new things. (Mine go a kilometre away from home if they get under my farm’s fence. Luckily my neighbour’s veggy garden distracts them from going further along our nearby road!)
They need mental stimulation - some fun and games. Is she getting enough stimulation? (Television doesn’t count and too much T.V will make a pig stupid!)
There should be no deep pool or pond which they could drown in, but they love a shallow pond or puddle to sit in – especially when the weather is very hot.
Piglet enjoying a dip after a mud-bath – a massage will follow!
Piggies love their own health spas! Pig heaven is where they get a mud- bath beauty-treatment, rest in some shallow water on a hot day, and get a massage - and they don’t mind in what order they come!
Why A Pig?
Apart from the fact that a pig makes a suitable pet in a town house because it is clean and quiet, and all the other reasons mentioned above, why would someone choose a pig as a pet?
(As opposed to an iguana, for instance, which is also small, clean, quiet, won’t dig, won’t jump up, won’t smell, won’t chew things, don’t have hair to shed, and won’t be aggressive if it has been reared to be tame.)
These are the reasons that I think pigs are great pets to have.
Pigs are actually very similar to humans – but don’t let that put you off! They have a very similar intelligence and ‘vibration’.
Pigs are mostly very calm and happy and so they have a good influence on their humans, calming us down in our stressful lives. Of course if you are really nervous you might just make your pig nervous, but hopefully she will still calm you down a bit!
Pigs usually move around slowly. Some people don’t handle lively dogs very well, who race around and jump on things.
Pigs are very sensual. They love soft pillows to lie on, and being stroked – especially on their tummies. It causes them to radiate satisfaction and happiness and literally have big smiles on their faces! You can’t help enjoying their pleasure. (Read about their ‘sleep-button’ that causes them to flip onto their sides in ecstasy when ‘pushed’ in book 3 ‘Pig Talk’.)
Pigs are very intelligent. Communicating with them is very easy, and they pick up what you intend to do almost as soon as you think it. If you like, you can teach your pigs tricks, as you would a dog. They can even do tracking and searching and their sense of smell is supposed to be actually better than a dog’s. Pigs have been used for ages to smell out truffles (a fungus like a mushroom that is very expensive) which grows on tree roots under the ground.
They learn exactly what to do to fit in with their humans’ routine.
Story to illustrate…
One lady washed her pig’s blanket and hung it up to dry.
Her piggy wanted a nap later on, and so pulled her dry blanket off of the washing line; took it into the house; and then into the bedroom where she slept; closed the door behind her; put her blanket in its usual place next to the bed; and went to sleep!
Pigs are very social and loving.
Two piglets rubbing their bottoms against the same rock
Pigs are funny. I enjoy watching mine - the way they walk very delicately on little stiletto hooves; the way they rub their bottoms against rocks; the way they sit; and the way they make little grunting noises to talk to each other.
People are not allergic to pig hair, so someone who can’t have a dog or cat because of allergies, can have a pig.
My Vietnamese Miniature Potbellied Pig Cuckoo visiting young farm pigs about 15 years ago
If you’d like a pig as a pet, and you live in town, then you should definitely get a miniature pig.
They are very much smaller than ordinary farm pigs. In the photo above Cuckoo is mature (about 3 years old then) and the farm pigs about 8 months old, and so still with a lot of growing to do.
She is well below knee height, whereas the farm pigs are above waist height.
Farm pigs are just as clever and loving as miniature pigs, but they are just too big to keep as pets in town houses and yards.
(Actually, it seems that in Victorian times just about every family had a pig who was a treasured pet until Christmas, when they ate her. They just kept them in their yards though, and not in the house.)
Size certainly matters if you want to carry your pigs for some reason!
I sometimes have to carry my pigs -to move them between camps far apart, or take them to the vet.
Here I’m holding Midge, who was 2 years old and had just had her first piglets. (For those curious to know, Tiffany, who is standing beside us, is a dwarf German Shepherd - no, not by human design! It’s a hormonal disorder.)
If my pigs are FAT though, then I can’t pick them up at all!
Little Midge in the photo above is quite heavy, even though small and not fat.
(Of course I tried on the photo to make it look easy! It was for my advert! I wouldn’t have been able to carry her around for an hour without my muscles going on strike, though!)
If she’s a bit fatter I can’t carry her around, and a bit fatter than that, and I can’t even pick her up.
The Smallest Pigs in the Wild
Sketch of Pigmy Hogs by Julie
It seems that the smallest wild pig in the world is the Pygmy Hog found in India and Bhutan. They’re about 20 to 35cm high and look quite like rodents.
They’re very rare, and breeding programmes are trying to re-establish them in the wild.
The Smallest Domestic Pigs in the World
Here I’m sitting with my sow Pixie and her new babies. She is tiny but too big for people who want adults who stay the size of newly born piglets!
Have you had e-mails forwarded to you with photos of tiny spotted piglets standing next to tea cups?
A few years ago I had these photos forwarded to me – several times.
This was when the term ‘teacup pig’ was coined.
Even though no claims were made with the photos (there was no writing), for some reason people thought that these were adult pigs! One photo even showed them drinking on a quite large-looking mum but this seems to have been ignored by the joyous masses who embraced the idea of adults the size of babies!
Ever since these photos, people who have never thought about pigs before, argue with me, with great authority, that you get fully grown pigs this size!
I am astounded! They say that a picture says a thousand words, but the public has spun a huge yarn with these photos, and run around the earth with it!
I can clearly see that these are photos of newly-born piglets, just as clearly as I can see when a human is a baby as opposed to an adult!
Even dwarf humans don’t look like babies.
But trying to convince people of this, is like trying to hold your ground against a huge wave breaking on a beach!
Babies or Adults?
Have a look at some photos below to see the difference between very young piglets, older piglets, and adult pigs (fully mature at about 3-4years).
Piglet a few days old
Marilyn, a fully grown adult 3 years old
Clover at 3 weeks of age…
…and at 8 months old
Babies a couple of weeks old…
…and their dad, Roger, who is over 3 ½ years old
(Roger’s just noticed us looking at him!)
This is Sam at 5 weeks…
…and (a bit muddy) at 11 months old
Even if you can’t judge the size of the piglets and adults from the photos above, at least you can see that there is a huge difference in appearance between babies and adults.
A 17 month old (not quite fully grown) stands next to me to show size
My own fully grown pigs are the size of Staffordshire terriers to Bulldogs, (usually between 35 and 50cm high) and for pigs this is really small. But for a newly educated public this is way too big for what it is looking for. People want ‘teacup pigs’ who of course stay the size of teacups and look like piglets
So I have done a bit of research to see just what size the smallest pigs in the world are. When I started I was sure that there would be smaller ones than mine, but how much smaller?
The results have surprised me greatly (and everyone else who hears them).
I haven’t found any that are smaller than mine.
In fact, some of the stated sizes of different miniature pigs being bred as pets in different countries are larger than mine.
I’m sure that somewhere someone probably has smaller ones, but I have not found them on the internet yet.
Before I give details of what I found out, there are a few things that have to be understood when comparing the sizes of different pigs.
How to Compare Sizes of Pigs
Take a look at the photo above.
If I told you that all four of the boars are males used for breeding, (they are not, but could be used), would you then prefer to have one of the closest boar’s children?
It would be understandable if you would, because he is much smaller than the others.
The problem is that he is also much younger. He is 4 months old, the two behind him are 8 months old, and the one at the back (their father) is 4 years old.
Miniature pigs are sexually mature at 3 months of age but only reach their full size between around 3 to 4 years, depending on how fast they have grown. (Hand-reared or malnourished piglets take longer to grow than piglets reared with their mum’s milk and good food.)
They also only get their final appearance then, when their snouts and all the other parts have stopped growing!
That means that if you want to know what your ‘fully grown’ pigs look like, then you have to wait until they are 4 years old to be sure.
So to compare sizes of different pigs, they have to be at least 4 years old.
You also need to take into consideration how fat a pig is, as a thick layer of fat makes a pig look much bigger, and can add to its height and width.
(Many breeders starve their pigs and piglets to make them look smaller. See what healthy pigs should look like, and how to keep them that way, in my book ‘Food and health’ in this Teacup Pig Series.)
It is pointless comparing pigs’ weights, as that depends entirely on how fat they are. The same pig can weigh 5kg if deadly thin, 25kg if ‘normal’, and 50kg if she’s so fat that she can’t walk.
So it’s most meaningful to look at height (and length if you really want to – I didn’t).
Sizes of Miniature Pigs I Found on the Internet
The smallest fully mature adult domestic pigs are described as ‘knee-height’, ‘50cm high or less’, ‘labrador-size’, and ‘Springer Spaniel-size’.
The official kunekune websites in New Zealand and the U.K say that those of the breed that qualify as miniature are 50cm and below.
The spotted baby piglets standing next to teacups who traversed our computers were bred by Pennywell Farm in England. Pennywell’s fully grown adults are the size of springer spaniels (which are about the size of Labradors).
As you can see from the photo below, their older pigs do not look the same as baby piglets (surprise, surprise!).
One of Pennywell’s ‘teacup pigs’ (shown on their website and used here with their kind permission)
The man who started this term in England says that his fully grown pigs are the size of Labradors.
'Nano', 'Royal Dandy', 'Juliana', 'Pocket', etc. pigs
No american breeders’ websites that I saw had photos or descriptions of fully grown adults.
There were several american rescue websites and associations for miniature pigs, that did have, and they all said that they had not yet encountered an adult of 4 years and older of any of these breeds who was much under 50cm high. They had seen lots who were much bigger.
Breeds of Miniature Pigs
My original Vietnamese Miniatures, Orff and Cuckoo, 15 years ago
Vietnamese Miniature Potbellied Ppigs
These are the original miniature pigs who were taken from Asia to Europe and America. They have very short legs; flat feet; folds of skin above their legs, along their backs, and on their faces; small upright ears; ‘fishbone’ tails that hang and don’t curl; dipped backs; and bellies that hang down. If they lose their hair then their thick armour-like skin makes them look like miniature rhinos!
These pigs from New Zealand have also been taken to Europe and America. They look very much like South Africa’s Colebrook pigs with short, ‘squashed’ snouts and very large, half- floppy to upright ears (that make them look like bats!). They can have tassels (called pire pire) hanging from under their chins.
All other domestic miniature pigs that I found on the internet were mixtures of different breeds.
The terms ‘teacup’, ‘micro’, ‘nano’, ‘pocket’, ‘Juliana’, ‘Royal Dandy’ etc, are all just fanciful descriptions of miniature pigs. They are not breeds of pigs.
My Own Pigs (not a Breed)
Here’s Midge, 4 years and tiny (except her teats as she has babies!)
My own pigs originate from miniature Vietnamese potbellied pigs that I crossed with the smallest local domestic pigs that I could find.
My new generations have lost most of the wrinkles of the Vietnamese. Their bodies are smaller but their snouts tend to be longer (I’m considering starting a new ‘brand’ of mini pigs called Pinocchio pigs!)
Another of my mature sows in show condition!
I now have spotty pigs as well as black.
Here’s a 17mth old who’s not quite fully grown yet
As already said, my pigs are between 35 and 50cm high when fully grown at 4 years.
Seeing that this is a book about teacup pigs, I have to show you some baby photos! Enjoy!
Piglets above two days old
Babies 2 days old
Piglets 2 weeks old
Above: spotty baby 2 weeks old
Piglet 9 wks old
(All the photos in all six books in this series are of my pigs, except for the one of Pennywell’s pig in this book.)
Reliable Sources of Information
I found that the websites in the U.K and New Zealand are much more honest than those in the USA. They give photos and /or sizes of fully adult pigs, whereas those in the States tend to give photos of only piglets and even put photos of piglets as their breeding pigs. I asked a few of these breeders to send me photos of their adult pigs and a couple of them did. Their pigs looked quite similar to mine but of course it is hard to judge size without humans in the photos.
There are completely fraudulent American websites guaranteeing the fully grown size and weight of piglets. One had photos of individual mini micro whatever piglets for sale, and you could see that at a few months old these piglets already exceeded their ‘guaranteed’ adult height and weights. They still had 4 years of growth to go!
The best sites to look at that give sizes of adult pigs in the States are the rescue sites rather than breeders.
Looking at rescue sites in all countries can also give a good indication of what pigs are being sold to the public as miniature.
Fraud! Don't be Conned
If you look at pig rescue websites, and newspaper articles of ‘teacup’ etc. piglets that grow to the size of farm pigs and that can’t fit on the couch, then it seems that fraud is rife around the world.
In England the advertising control seems stricter than in America, as I found one report where someone was stopped from advertising his fully mature pigs as being between 30 and 40cm high.
In America there seems to be no control and fraudulent websites and advertising seems to be the norm.
Here in Africa we follow America’s lead.
We have many people, including the infamous Nigerians, (who seem to specialize in crimes like fraud, drugs and human trafficking), who don’t even have pigs but offer them for sale and milk the public for huge sums of money.
Others buy and sell other people’s pigs and make false claims about them.
Others sell their own pigs and make false claims about them.
Those people who actually breed miniature pigs and give people accurate information, have a hard time competing against fraudsters who offer far smaller pigs and seem to be far better salesmen!
I have sold many piglets to people who have already paid fraudsters and received nothing in return, or piglets that have grown huge.
So what can you do to prevent yourself from becoming another victim of a scam?
It is actually very easy.
Recognize Obvious Fraudsters
Anyone claiming to have fully grown pigs (4 years old) under 35cm high is suspect. Ask to speak to their vet. Ask what proof they have that their pigs are 4 years old and that they are that size. Ask for telephone numbers of customers who own 4 year old pigs of theirs. (Other experts will say that there are no pigs 35cm high but I have bred quite a few this size and all of my newest generations seem to be between 35 and 50cm high.)
Anyone using weights in pounds, or heights in inches, in adverts in countries that are metric are usually fraudsters. They are copying adverts from other countries. (If a website is given in an advert then look it up. If it is an overseas website then the ad is a scam.)
Anyone claiming to be a registered breeder or have ‘pedigreed’ pigs is a fraudster if there is no registration body in your country.
Anyone unable to give you references from a vet and previous customers is suspect.
Find a Good Breeder
It is less easy to find an honest breeder of real miniature pigs.
There are breeders who I know of who are not honest but unless you know their background you would not be able to tell that from what they say.
Some only keep young breeding pigs and replace them long before they are fully grown.
Some don’t show people their breeding pigs at all.
Some breeders have been fooled by the breeders who they bought their pigs from and so honestly don’t know that their pigs are still going to grow bigger over the next few years. They only find out later that their pigs are not miniature. In the meantime they are unwittingly extending the fraud.
So what you can you do to find a breeder of real miniature pigs?
You need to confirm that the breeder has got miniature pigs, and that he or she has bred them for at least 4 years so that their adult pigs are actually fully grown.
Speak to the breeder’s vet. Confirm that the vet knows how long the breeder has bred pigs, and whether the vet knows the pigs personally.
Speak to people who have bought pigs from the breeder 4 years ago and longer to hear how big their pigs are. Ask them for photos if they don’t live close to you. And ask to speak to their vets for confirmation.
The reason that I suggest speaking to vets is that they should be registered with veterinary boards and cannot afford to be involved in any fraud.
If you can’t look at the breeder’s pigs yourself, you can speak to people who have visited the breeder and hear from them what pigs are there and if they are well looked after etc.
In other words you should ask for as many references as possible.
You should also ask for photos of the breeder with his or her adult pigs.
I use the photos below of me holding Pixie at 2 years (top) and 3 ½ years (bottom) in adverts.
End of Book 1
Books in the ‘Teacup pig Series’