"Little Teacup Pigs claims to breed the smallest pigs in the world that are the size of French bulldogs when fully grown." Business Insider, a news source site, posted a video beginning with this sentence before cutting to footage of adorable piglets playing, relaxing and being seemingly perfect pets. This video since has gone viral and has been viewed over 18 million times on Facebook alone.
What the video doesn't mention (and blatantly lies about) is that there is no such breed as a teacup or micro pig. These playful creatures in the video are simply potbelly piglets that have not fully matured. Teacup pigs are sold as babies and customers are often buying these pigs under the notion that the pigs will stay small forever.
The sad truth is that teacup pigs are not properly cared for and are sometimes inbred to achieve their tiny sizes. Many breeders give feeding instructions that do not promote the piglet's growth and health but actually ensure that the pig stays so malnourished that it does not mature naturally. Many micro pig owners are even instructed to feed their pigs only small amounts of "miniature pig food" (not potbelly pig or feeder hog food) without fruits or vegetables. Nutrition is so important in the early stages of these pigs' lives and due to being starved as babies, they grow to often have many health problems. It is because of this malnutrition that potbelly pigs have an average lifespan of 20 years while a "teacup pig" often does not live past 5 years.
(Meet Wilbur, a "teacup pig" whose owner was told to feed him only guinea pig food to stunt his growth. He now lives in a shelter and is extremely underweight with multiple health problems.)
However, many owners do not keep their pigs long enough to find out. Shelters and sanctuaries across the country are currently being overcrowded by 60-100 pound potbelly pigs whose original owners were told that they would stay the same size forever. Full-size potbelly pigs can definitely be a handful and many people are not prepared to take on the responsibility. After all, these owners had prepared for a pig that could forever stand at eye-level with small dogs, not a large and powerful potbelly pig.
Lies, starvation, overcrowded shelters and premature death. These words are not happy and they certainly are not cute. Please do research before ever buying a pet and encourage others to learn the truth about teacup pigs. If you think that you are up for taking care of a true potbelly pig, please adopt from a shelter as there are many former micro pigs in need of homes. Otherwise, please stick to dogs and cats and steer clear of the teacup pig trend.