Just hearing the word pig, we draw up images of mud-covered little oinkers making a mess on a farm somewhere. We likely would not think of a pink little pig sitting in the lap of Paris Hilton or a piglet lounging by the TV in our living room, but perhaps it’s time to change our perspective on these snout-nosed critters. Rupert Grint and Paris Hilton are two of the latest celebrities to jump on the piglet bandwagon, so what is all the buzz about?
Paris’ Miss Pigelette weighs about 25-29 pounds, and she just picked out her newest pet in early October. Rupert Grint has two teacup pigs and George Clooney’s pig Max has its own pen outside the Clooney castle. But why not just get a new puppy? What has moved Hollywood from lap dogs to small hogs?
Here’s the scoop: they aren’t the same pigs you saw as a child in the petting zoo — they are bred specifically to be pets. A regular pig weighs 600-800 pounds and a full grown potbelly pig weighs in at 120-200 pounds. And although when born these little teacup pigs weigh about nine oz., on average, the full grown tea cup pig is 30-65 pounds. At 30 pounds they wouldn’t fit into any tea cup I’ve ever seen, but compared to the 600 pound pig from the farm they are definitely teacup-sized.
Given that the average collie weighs 50-75 pounds and a cocker spaniel weighs between 15-30 pounds, having Miss Piggy in your house is similar to having a medium-sized dog. But how do they compare in temperament? Could you really expect one to manage in your apartment?
Although they do have a hard time with stairs, they are very intelligent animals with the ability to be litter-trained in a matter of days. They are affectionate, and can learn tricks just like any dog can, learning how to sit, roll over, even skateboard! However, they are prone to laziness and aggression, like most animals, if not given necessary exercise and socialization. They need to be treated like any pet, trained and, under the authority of their owner, taught their place in the home.
Just like any pet, pigs need to be walked or they will gain weight, and what better way to battle childhood obesity than getting kids to walk the family pig? These are pigs though; they have an endless hunger and could eat you out of house and home if you let them. So you would need to lock up your cupboards and keep your other pets’ foods out of our pig’s reach. Pet stores can carry or order food designed specifically for pigs but little potbellies often take a liking to dog food as well. Just as you would childproof your house for a small child, new pig owners need to piggy-proof their homes to hide foods from those snouts which will never stop sniffing out their next snack.
These pets live about 12-20 years, are clean and odour-free (only sweating from their snouts). You don’t need to worry about allergies in most situations, so it could be a great alternative for families who haven’t been able to get a dog because of severe allergies. Pigs also don’t shed or get fleas. They don’t bark and are relatively low maintenance.
Now for the bad news. According to Winnipeg.ca, hogs are not zoned for Winnipeg, so you may have to get a special permit just to have a little baconator for yourself, or just wait until Winnipeg joins the wave of Hilton and Clooney.