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Miniature Pot-Bellied Pigs have fast become one of the most sought after pets across the United States. Their unique appearance and high intelligence level can make owning a Pot-Bellied Pig an adventure.


Origins
Miniature Pot-Bellied Pigs originated in the jungles of Vietnam and China. They were introduced as pets in the United States in the mid-1980's, when they were shipped in small numbers from neighboring Canada. The first Pot-Bellied Pigs to arrive in the States sold for prices as high as $25,000. Marketed as the perfect "companion pet," the pigs were an instant hit in the U.S., selling out in record numbers.


Specifics
The average lifespan of a Miniature Pot-Bellied Pig is 12-18 years, though many of today's pigs live to the age of 20. By the age of three, Pot-Bellied Pigs reach a peak weight of 125 pounds. The snout of miniatures is significantly longer than most domestic pigs and their ears stand erect, giving them an unusual appearance. Pot-Bellied Pigs have extremely poor eyesight, but a highly developed sense of smell.

Do They Make Good Pets?
Pot-Bellied Pigs can make excellent pets. Much like a dog owner would research a particular breed of dog before making a committment to that animal, future Pot-Bellied Pig owners should do some reading, as well. Pot-Bellied Pigs have unique personalities and quirky traits that may or may not fit into your lifestyle.

Many Veterinarians and Animal Behaviorists describe untrained Pot-Bellied Pigs as two year old children. If you can live long term with "the terrible twos" or commit to spending many hours training your pig, this animal can be a great addition to any household. Pot-Bellied Pigs are known for being intelligent, creative, playful and extremely curious.

Discipline
Most Animal Behaviorists agree that Pot-Bellied Pigs require the same amount of training that any other pet needs. Untrained pigs quickly learn to mimic their owners, opening doors and cupboards and rummaging through garbage and food areas. Untrained pigs also learn to demand what they want with a high pitched scream, and it isn't unusual to be woken up at all hours when the pig has a need that wants to be filled.

The good news is that Pot-Bellied Pigs are highly trainable and welcome to challenge to learn new things. Pot-Bellied Pigs can easily and quickly be taught the basics of house training, leash training and many simple tricks. Because Pot-Bellied Pigs are known for their intelligence, if you're willing to sit down and teach your pet right from wrong, your pet will be willing to conform to your style of living.

What does it take to own a Pot-Bellied Pig? Let's begin with the basics:

Housing
Pot-Bellied Pigs can live indoors or out. The ideal living temperature for a pig is 70-degrees, so if you live in a cold climate, you'll need to make space for your new pet indoors. Even if your pig lives primarily indoors, he'll need a space to play and walk outdoors, as well. A fenced in area is usually recommended, though many county and city parks have made revisions that now include spaces for exotic animals.

Food
Pot-Bellied Pigs can be fed commercially prepared foods specially developed for their diet. Pigs also like fresh fruits and vegetables and both can be added to their food at will. Fresh water should also be available at all times.


Behavior Problems

Territorial Aggression
Pot-Bellied Pigs have the tendency to be very territorial and will protect their space through aggression. Much as a dog holds on to a bone, your pig may be willing to fight for his space, as well. Most aggression can be toned down with time and training. Pigs are very responsive to the word "NO."

Rooting
Pigs naturally root. If you provide your pig with a small amount of dirt and play area outdoors, most rooting problems can be cut to a minimum.

Food
Pigs will eat anything. Just as you place food, medications and other dangerous items out of a child's reach, you must do the same for your new Pot-Bellied Pig.


The Plus Side
Pot-Bellied Pigs are extremely intelligent and easily trainable. Pot-Bellied Pigs can be taught almost anything, if you're willing to spend the time necessary to work with your pet. Pot-Bellied Pigs have been known to play the piano, ride a scooter, drive a golf cart, ride in the car as a passenger, slam dunk a basketball and more. Potty training a pig takes much less time than teaching a puppy the same chore.

Health
Like any other pet, your pig will require vaccinations and regular checkups. Pot-Bellied Pigs are prone to sunburn and frostbite, so taking special precautions in summer and winter months is crucial.

Vaccinations
6 weeks: Atrophic Rhinitis, Erysipelas, Leptospirosis, TGE
9 weeks: Booster
Annually: Booster all

Pigs require attention, discipline and a space they can call home. Given the proper guidance, Pot-Bellied Pigs are enjoyable pets that integrate well with families.