There are many breeds of miniature pigs, including the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. In addition to pot-bellied pigs, the term mini-pig includes an additional 14 recognized breeds of small pigs including Julianas and KuneKunes. Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs can be as heavy as 200 pounds, reach a height of 14-20 inches at the shoulders and typically live for 14-21 years. Mini-pigs communicate both with sounds and with body language. Mini-pigs should never be left alone unsupervised with even the friendliest, potentially predatory, dogs and cats. Mini-pigs are very smart and can be trained to walk on a leash/harness and to sit, stay, come, and retrieve objects.
Mini-pigs may be housed successfully inside if they are given enough space, an area in which to root, and proper environmental enrichment. Ideally pet pigs should have access to a safe area of untreated lawn outside in which to root and chew on grass. Pet pigs generally like to urinate and defecate in a single area that is far from where they eat and sleep and can be trained to eliminate either inside and outside. Pigs in urban environments may be taught to walk on a leash/harness and go outside like dogs. If this is not feasible, they can be trained to use a litter pan indoors.
The most common skin problem in mini-pigs is dry skin that results from a dietary deficiency of fatty acids. In addition to dry skin, mini-pigs commonly suffer from sarcoptic mange, parakeratosis, yeast dermatitis, and sunburn. Hooves of mini-pigs grow continuously throughout life and need to be trimmed periodically. The canine teeth (tusks) of male pigs grow throughout life, while those of females stop growing at about two years of age. Starting after the pig is about a year of age and usually after giving the pig a sedative, your veterinarian will trim tusks during an examination.
Just like other pets, mini-pigs should have a complete veterinary check-up after they are acquired and then annually after that. Your pig may need to be sedated for examination. Your veterinarian will determine the vaccines that are advisable for your pig, based on your pig's potential exposure to pathogens, breeding status, and geographic location. An analysis of your pig's feces should be performed annually to check for gastrointestinal parasites. Pet pigs should be screened for mites through a skin scraping. Veterinarians also will often help pig owners with hoof care and tusk trimming. Neutering of males and spaying of females is recommended for all pigs.