Lifespan and Care of Potbellied Pigs

Pot bellied pig profile
Profile of a black pot bellied pig Getty Images/Dave Blackey
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Pot bellied pigs have been gaining in popularity for several years. Many celebrities have owned pot bellied pigs and in 2010 vouchers for Royal Dandie Miniature pet pigs (pigs that stay under 40lbs.) were even given away to some at the Golden Globes. These little piglets are becoming popular! The reasons why pot bellied pigs and other pet pigs are so popular are numerous, but one thing can't be ignored — they sure are cute!


12-18 years (but sometimes over 20 years)

Normal Body Temperature

99.3 degrees Fahrenheit (you can easily check this with a thermometer from the drug store) rectally


There are a few different varieties of pot bellied pigs and they are classified by their size. Breeders disagree on names for sizes, the appropriate weight of said sizes, and whether or not you can achieve a healthy "teacup" or "mini" pig so there are many varieties. The height of different kinds of pigs also plays a role in determining what title they are assigned.

The kinds of pot bellied pigs below may be called different things depending on the breeder, rescue, or organization. If you are purchasing anything other than the regular pot bellied pig, be sure the pigs are not just malnourished or underfed to achieve a desired weight and size. Some breeders will breed young pigs who aren't full grown to make it look like their "adult" parents are small since pot bellied pigs don't fully mature until they are 2-3 years of age. Most pot bellied pig experts say there is no healthy way to have a pig smaller than 50 lbs. and if you do have a small pig their lifespan will be greatly reduced to only a few years since their health has been compromised in the breeding process. Needless to say, there is much debate in the pig world on this topic.

  • Pot bellied pigs, Pot belly pigs, Vietnamese pot bellied pigs, Chinese pot bellied pigs, and sometimes referred to as Miniature pot bellied pigs — about 125 lbs. to over 200 lbs. and 16 to 26 " tall
  • Miniature pot bellied pigs (certain breeders) — 35 to 60 lbs. and 15 to 16" tall
  • Teacup pot bellied pigs — 35 to 45 lbs. and 14.5" tall
  • Toy pot bellied pigs — 35 to 40 lbs. and 14" tall
  • Royal Dandies — About 29 to 39 lbs.
  • Micro Mini Pigs — 18 to 30 lbs. and 10 to 12.5" tall
  • Dandie Extremes — About 12 to 29 lbs.
  • Mini Julianas — 15 to 28 lbs. and 8 to 12.5" tall

Other names for different sizes of pigs exist but these are the most commonly seen varieties.


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Pigs are very easily overfed. Many full grown pot bellied pigs (of all sizes) are obese simply due to overeating. Although weight can vary from pig to pig, there are some key signs that your pig is overweight. For example, if a fat roll covers your pig's eyes then he is overweight. Your vet will help you decide what the ideal weight for your pig is based on his height and body condition.

As a basic rule of thumb, piglets can be fed regular pot bellied pig chow starting at 3 weeks of age (but you shouldn't be getting a piglet until they are at least 6 weeks of age). 2 cups of pig chow is a good starting point but you should be adjusting this amount if your pig is too fat or too thin. Most people recommend free feeding throughout the day but others still prefer the two meals a day method.

25% percent of your pig's total diet can consist of vegetables (limit the starchy veggies) and fruit should only be offered in very small quantities since it is high in natural sugars. Use this basic guideline of what to feed your adult pot bellied pig:

  • High quality, low protein, low fat, high fiber pot bellied pig pellets — roughly 1/2 cup per 25 lbs. daily (but most adult pigs eat about 2 cups a day)
  • Fresh, non-starchy vegetables (such as cucumbers, peppers, and carrots) to make up 25% of the total daily diet
  • 1 children's chewable multi-vitamin daily
  • Allow rooting in untreated soil for necessary iron and selenium (or supplement if your area is deficient — consult a vet first)
  • Alfalfa hay or bran can be added to the diet to increase fiber if necessary

Remember to not overfeed, do not feed chocolate or salty foods, do not feed fatty foods (especially animal fats), do not feed dog or cat food, don't offer food directly from the fridge (they will learn how to open it), and make your pig work for their food by putting it in a ball or pan with dirt to root in.

Basic Care

  • Pot bellied pigs are usually kept indoors but they do need time to run around outside and root in the unfertilized dirt. This will help them get the necessary exercise, nutrients from the soil that they need, and prevent constipation from not moving around enough.
  • They only sweat through their snout so your pig's nose may be wet if he is hot.
  • If your pig stops eating take him to the vet as this is never normal.
  • While living indoors, provide your pig with a space of their own and pig proof your house as you would for a toddler. A tent or sleeping box are popular options for indoor pig owners.
  • You can easily potty train your pig to use a litter box or go outside like you would a dog but do not use treats as a reward. Praise is all your pig needs for a potty time.
  • Provide your pig with an indoor rooting box with large river pebbles and a treat to make him move the rocks around and find the treat.
  • All pigs should be spayed and neutered by your exotics vet.

Pot bellied pigs are great pets for the right person but be sure to check with your local laws prior to acquiring one.