Social Question

andreaxjean's avatar

What are your views about having a pig as a pet?

Asked by andreaxjean (1268points) February 15th, 2011

Recently my family’s pet, our dog, passed away. He was 14 and really the only pet I’ve ever known and loved. The house feels extremely empty without him even though I have a two year old daughter running around like a Tasmanian Devil.

My mom agrees that we should get another pet and I’ve seen and heard of people having pet pigs and how intelligent and friendly they are or can be with the proper training. I’m not choosing to get a pet pig because it’s becoming a fad, but because it would be a delightful experience and I feel like we need to have some kind of cute companion running around the house and getting another dog would feel like a replacement for the one we just lost. Also, we’re all allergic to cats in this house.

So what are your thoughts/views on having pigs as pets? Do you think my reasoning is good enough to go ahead with my adoption/purchase?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

48 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

If your place can accommodate a pig (assuming any kind of pig) it’s totally great.

But let me say this – although getting another dog would feel like you’re replacing your dog who just passed (and I’m sorry about that), realize that there are a lot of shelter dogs who need a new home, sometimes as a matter of life or death.

I always think that’s a fine way to honor the memory of a pet who has just passed…

poofandmook's avatar

I would love to have a pig as a pet. If you’re really attentive and your whole family is willing to chip in, you could really have a sweet little porker!

Except, like @iamthemob said, giving a homeless dog a loving family could be just as rewarding to both parties, and not feel like a replacement at all.

Coloma's avatar

Pot belly pigs have been popular as pets for several decades now, so the ‘fad’ thing is obsolete.

They can be very loving and intelligent pets, but, most of the time they grow much bigger than people realize. They also smell pretty pungent and need to have clean living quarters and a healthy diet as do all pets.

They need their hooves trimmed several times a year and their diets need to be carefully monitored to avoid obesity.

They will attract flies as any farm animal does and they can become sunburned if not provided with adequate shade.

I have known several pig pets in my life and they are charming animals, but, not for everyone.

P.S. I am assuming you are talking about the Vietnamese potbellied pigs and not a standard large breed hog.

My neighbors have a HUGE Yorkshire sow that lives in a pasture with their horses, she is the sweetest thing but weighs about 400 lbs. NOT a housepet!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Vunessuh knows allll about that…

JilltheTooth's avatar

Way back in the day my parents were given a baby pig as a joke and they kept it and raised it. (This was in the late 1940’s in Oklahoma, long before any “pet pig” fads.) They raised him like a dog, and declared that he was cleaner and smarter than most dogs, and would have kept him til he died but for zoning laws (no “swine” were allowed in their neighborhood.) These were two serious “dog people” so it was high praise how much they loved Oglethorpe.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Already sent it to her.
@JilltheTooth Oglethorpe? That’s great.

andreaxjean's avatar

@Coloma I know they can grow to be up to 120 pounds. With the right diet and exercise, mature pigs will be about 65 pounds and as big as a cocker spaniel. They don’t have a thalamus what humans have that tell their brains they’re full, so they’ll eat everything in sight… which is how some will grow to be 120 pounds. I’m aware of all of this and I’m confident that my family will take good care of the pig.

andreaxjean's avatar

Also, we’re surrounded by farms and we own our home and have a very large, private yard. Actually our yard is an acre and a half and a pain in the butt to mow. We all take turns on the tractor in the summer. =] I don’t think there would be a zoning issue but I know who to contact to double check.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s just my opinion, but pigs aren’t pleasing aesthetically, and everyone knows that’s what pets are for lol. Just kidding, although I was serious about them being ugly lol.

andreaxjean's avatar

LOL @Blackberry Are you kidding? Who couldn’t love a face like this?

Anemone's avatar

Pigs can get really huge, so keep in mind that they aren’t going to stay small and cute… and just like a dog, you’ll be responsible for this animal until he or she passes away. (So make sure you’re really committed and prepared!) If you do decide you really want a pig for a pet, consider adopting one. They are sometimes available, believe it or not. I’d suggest trying or a local rescue group.

If you’d like other ideas for non-dog/non-cat pets, maybe you could consider a rabbit or bird. They are also often available for adoption and need good homes. Rabbits can make excellent companions, from what I’ve heard. However, if you already love dogs, it might be best to wait a while (allow time to grieve), and then think about adopting a new canine friend.

Brian1946's avatar

Red River hogs are cute, but I don’t know what the degree of difficulty is for domesticating them.

andreaxjean's avatar

@Brian1946 Awe! They’re adorable!

crisw's avatar


All such swine are illegal to import into the US, due to disease concerns, so they are very rare- I remember when the San Diego Zoo got some Red River hogs, it was a very big deal because they are so difficult to obtain.


One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet is that potbellies will also root up your yard! Personally, one day I’d be interested in some kune-kune pigs – I think they are adorable! They are supposed to be less destructive than potbellies.

andreaxjean's avatar

@crisw Yes, I know about the rooting and it’s totally fine. We have enough room to make a “designated rooting area”. I mentioned before that our yard is an acre and a half.

sinscriven's avatar

You wouldn’t be replacing your lost pet, but just finding a new friend. Just like how you never replace the people who you’ve lost in your life to death, distance, whatever but rather just move on and find new people to connect with.

I object to pet pigs on principle. There are starving children in Africa and I can’t have underutilized bacon walking around.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Oh come on. Everybody is thinking it. If the pig doesn’t work out as a pet there’s always bacon.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@coffeenut I’m waiting to get my head handed to me. :)

john65pennington's avatar

Sorry, no pigs here. I have been called this enough in my police career.

I’ll pass.

andreaxjean's avatar

@sinscriven @Adirondackwannabe @coffeenut I’m not responding to any of that. That was just plain mean. Would you honestly eat an animal that has a name?

poofandmook's avatar

If you could have a pet, watch it play and be happy, and then eat it… gah!

@Adirondackwannabe: glare!!

sinscriven's avatar

@andreaxjean Yes. I would much rather eat a chicken I raised and called Corky that I took care of and I knew had a good life instead of eating a chicken that’s spent it’s entire life in a box and surrounded by filth and stuffed with so much feed and antibiotics that it couldn’t even stand on its own two legs.

I was only being silly with the bacon comment, but we should be more in tune with what we’re eating.

andreaxjean's avatar

@coffeenut I was thinking more of Daisy if it’s a girl or Sheldon if it’s a boy.

@sinscriven I forgive you. =] And I agree about being in tune with what we’re eating. I was a vegetarian for 8 years of my life and then when I got pregnant I started craving steak. I liked my vegetarian diet because of how conscious I was of what I was eating. I only eat meat maybe once a month now… and usually it’s just chicken or fish.

Mikewlf337's avatar

I wouldn’t have a pig for a pet. In my view pigs are for food.

Blackberry's avatar

@andreaxjean I’m sorry…I just can’t see the cuteness. Well, I do…but it doesn’t come close to a kitten or puppy.

SmashTheState's avatar

If you’re looking for a non-dog exotic pet with high “cuteness” appeal, you might also want to look at ferrets. I’ve known a few people with ferrets and while the males tend to be rather strong-smelling, they have incredible personality. Of course, that personality is evil. Ferrets have virtually limitless energy, and they seem to focus all of it on causing you misery. I refused to sleep over at a friend’s house with ferrets because they’d wait for me to fall asleep, then creep under the covers and bite my toes — hard. Then they’d scamper away in Satanic glee and hide under their master’s bed. I’ve come to learn that this sort of behaviour is very typical for ferrets. They have a sadistic sense of play, like a four year old amped up on Cocoa Puffs and cola. They’re also a lot smaller than a pig.

ucme's avatar

May make it’s life a Misery. :¬)

crisw's avatar


I love ferrets. However, the huge downside to ferrets in the US is that they are extremely inbred and suffer from many horrendous health issues that makes the typical life span of a pet ferret much shorter than it should be. There are also very few ethical ferret breeders (because of the difficulties involved in keeping intact ferrets), and thus most come from “ferret mills.”

If you have the right circumstances (and it sounds like the OP does), pigs do make excellent pets.

sarahjane90's avatar

Please don’t.

I remember I went to a farm once when I was little, and they had tons of piglets. I convinced my parents to allow me to have one, if I kept it in my room. It was too small to live outside, and it was in the winter.

Let me tell you – it is no picnic waking up in the middle of the night to clean pig crap, bottle feed it every few hours, and change its bedding. They are adorable, but that smell in my room was not gone for years.

If there is some way you can keep it in a clean place, outside, then go for it. Otherwise, steer clear!

Mikewlf337's avatar

@sarahjane90 potbelly pigs are clean. Livestock pigs are a different story. Pigs are mean animals. They can be extremely aggressive as well. The reason I wouldn’t own a potbelly pig is because I love bacon and I would feel mighty awkward eating a BLT while looking at my potbellied pig LOL. Is it potbelly pig or potbellied pig? Heck I don’t know.

sarahjane90's avatar

After googling those ‘teacup’ pigs, they do look awesome. Maybe if you can properly potty train it, it would be okay. The pig I had was a livestock pig I believe, although we ended up giving it away to someone with a large garden area, so I am not sure how big it eventually got. Something in the 20 pound range would definitely be nice! They look like nice pets, considering they can be housebroken sufficiently.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I wouldn’t get one.

Coloma's avatar

Get a goose.
A Chinese goose. I’m biased, admittedly. Heh!
Flappy feet are more fun!

Your goose will swim with you, pigs can’t swim ya know., but they do like wading pools. :-)

YARNLADY's avatar

Nobody has mention having one around a two year old. It might not be a good fit.

mattbrowne's avatar

Not a good idea, because today’s pigs and goats and cats and dogs are the result of selective breeding started 10,000 years ago. The first two relate to human meals.

crisw's avatar


What I think that you are forgetting is that pigs and goats also lived with people. Therefore, the artificial selection pressures on them favored many of the same characteristics that contribute to making a good pet animal- docility, calmness, acceptance of human presence and handling, etc. In addition, a wild, flighty, panicky goat would be impossible to milk!

I raised goats for years, and I assure you that they can make excellent pets, by most of the standards by which we define a “pet.” They are intelligent, extremely trainable, and enjoy and seek out human company and attention. Although I haven’t owned a pig, the ones I have known have been very interesting and companionable animals.

By your standards, many animals could never be considered to be “pets”- rabbits and guinea pigs, for example, or some dog breeds that were widely used for food. Is a guinea pig not a pet because its ancestors were the South American equivalent of chicken?

OpryLeigh's avatar

My cousin has a pig called Penelope and it’s not much different to having a dog that lives outside. I would love to have a pig myself if I had the right enviroment to accomodate it.

lonelydragon's avatar

I used to want a pet pig for a long time, but this article gave me pause. Although the pigs are cute, the article lists some serious disadvantages, including behavioral issues like their instinctive rooting behavior and potential aggression towards children. Also, an adult pig weighs at least 125 pounds, which is heavier than many dog breeeds. That’s a rather large pet to have in the house. Still, if you have your heart set on a pig, make sure you are willing to invest the time to properly train the animal and pig-proof your house.

Brian1946's avatar


“I raised goats for years, and I assure you that they can make excellent pets, by most of the standards by which we define a ‘pet’.”

Are goats averse to having their horns petted?

crisw's avatar


Depends on the goat. Most dairy goats don’t have horns. Angoras and Boers do, and, since goat raisers often use them as “handles” to control the goat, some goats may be less-than-thrilled to have them handled. The horns themselves don’t have any feeling, so the goat isn’t going to get much pleasure from horn-petting, although many goats like to have the skin at the base of the horns scratched.

mattbrowne's avatar

@crisw – Yes, all 4 got domesticated. But for different purposes. Pigs eat leftovers and food humans don’t like. Their meat is tasty. Goats eat grass and their milk can be used too. Cats eat mice threatening food storage. Dogs warn and protect humans. And so forth. Over time dogs and cats became very close to humans. To me this is what we call pets.

My point is the criteria applied to the kind of selective breeding were different.

crisw's avatar


“Goats eat grass”

Better read up on your goat husbandry :>) Sheep eat grass. Cows eat grass. Goats are browsers and will leave the grass alone if there is browse available.

You didn’t answer me about guinea pigs and rabbits. Are they pets? How about chinchillas (originally raised for fur) or ferrets (raised as rabbit hunters and then as fur and lab animals before they made it into the pet trade) or hamsters (originally lab animals.) Are they pets? How about Coloma’s beloved geese? Are they pets?

We can have a relationship with almost any domestic animal. I think that’s all that’s really needed to make that animal into a “pet.” Why should what the animal was bred for matter in that relationship?

Coloma's avatar


I agree. The only issue, as with my geese, is in keeping an animal that imprints on you in a huge way.

Keeping something like geese is even MORE of a responsibility in that it is extremely inhumane and potentially life threatening to re-home creatures with these biological traits.

I am my ganders ‘mate,’ in his eyes, and to be separated from me could be very detrimental to his health and well being.

mattbrowne's avatar

@crisw – Thanks for that. Never raised a goat myself. What I meant was ‘able to digest cellulose’. This is what made goat and sheep so interesting. So I don’t think that goats and sheep and pigs are pets. But dogs clearly are.

Well, I think guinea pigs and rabbits might be both today, although I think rabbits used to be food only. Maybe selective breeding even created two groups of rabbits in terms of their behavior: one for easy cuddling and the other for tasty meat. I would have to look into this.

But pigs in the entire history never served the purpose of dogs, cats and cuddle rabbits, did they? Well, maybe one or two for Hollywood movies like Babe.

SmashTheState's avatar

Pigs have been kept as highly prized pets since the Middle Ages in Europe for their truffling abilities. A pig with a nose for truffles was highly valued and pampered.

mattbrowne's avatar

@SmashTheState – Okay, that’s a great example for viewing pigs as pets. I stand corrected.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther