8 Aversive Facts About Insta-Famous Teacup Pigs

Close up of two teacup pigs sleeping

Teacup pigs for sale?

You might rush to get yourself one of these insta-famous mini pigs but beware: teacup pigs are more myth than reality. Teacup pigs are nothing but a mini version of regular potbellied pigs. They are small in size either because of malnutrition or excessive inbreeding, both of which could be unhealthy and hurtful for the pigs.

Teacup Pigs

These teacups or Juliana pigs are known by many names micro pigs, petite pigs, miniature pigs, pygmy pigs, and dwarf pigs are but a few. These cute little packages of cuteness are not only roaming farms but are being kept as pets in our homes as well.

If you look up “teacup pigs” or “min pigs” on YouTube, you will see why these micro mini pigs are becoming one of America’s most popular pets. Given their high intelligence and petite body, they can be seen during all sorts of adorable things—swimming, enjoying belly rubs, racing, and snuggling with kittens and puppies—in YouTube videos. Watching these cute and funny teacup pigs videos, many viewers want to get their hands on a teacup pig as well. But these buyers don’t that teacup pigs are a myth.

Two teacup pigs kissing

Continue reading as we bust myths about mini pigs and unearth some of the not-so-cute facts about these adorable teacup pigs.

1. Teacup Pig is a Myth

Teacup pigs don’t really exist—there’s no such breed. Rather “teacup” is a false and misleading advertisement label that breeders give to potbellied pigs to drive sales. These so-called teacup pigs are malnourished during the early stages of their lives when they are developing and need the most nutrients. Due to undernourishment, their growth is stunted and then labeled as teacups to make potential buyers believe that these mini pigs would stay petite throughout their lifetime.

2. They Will Grow Bigger Than Their Potential Teacup Parents

These breeders might even show you the pictures of the parents of the teacup piglets being sold to you. Some may even let you meet small pregnant mini pigs, making you believe that the so-called teacup pigs would stay small even when they mature. But know that Piglets can get pregnant at a small age of 3 months, when they still have lots of, lots of, growing up to do. These potbellied mini pigs may continue growing up to the age of 3 to 5 years.

So while getting a “teacup” pig, you should keep in mind that your micro pig may grow up to 200 pounds. No doubt, potbellied pigs are smaller as compared to farm pigs that may weigh up to 1,000 pounds, still a fully grown potbellied pig would be at least 80 to 100 pounds and may even go up to 200 pounds and about 14 to 20 inches.[1]

Black Potbellied Miniature Pig

Many of the owners, that get a teacup pig believing that it would stay micro-sized throughout its lifetime, end up having to discard their pig as they just cannot provide for a pig weighing up to 200 pounds when they signed up only for around 20-pound “teacup” pig. Most of these pigs then “end up in overburdened shelters or are euthanized once they outgrow their suburban habitats.”[2]

3. Small Size of Teacup Pigs is Unhealthy and Hurtful

Teacup pigs look cute and all but how they are kept small by cruel breeders is hard to even hear. Two of the most common ways of stunting potbellied pigs are underfeeding and inbreeding.[3] 

Pig grazing outside in a fiel full of flowers


Cruel teacup pig breeders, stave tiny piglets to stunt their growth. Starvation and underfeeding start as soon as the piglets come into this world. Due to starvation, piglets don’t get the requirements that they need to properly grow up so resultantly their skeletal structure remains somewhat small while their internal organs continue to grow. Because of this, teacup pigs are unable to thrive. They cannot function properly as their small skeletal systems are unable to support them and they start developing bone deformities and other health issues. [4]

Many times the sellers even advise buyers to keep their teacup pigs on a special diet—to continue underfeeding them.


Baby potbellied pig mounting other pig

Another method of developing teacup pigs is inbreeding small-sized potbellied pigs and crossing them with other mini pigs like Juliana pigs. Inbreeding might produce small-sized piglets but at what cost? Due to the loss of the diversity of the gene pool, the resulting piglets become susceptible to a plethora of congenital health issues, greatly affecting the life expectancy of teacup pigs.

4. It is Hard to Keep Teacup Pigs With Other Pets

As they are prey species in nature, they don’t get along well with cats and dogs that are predators. Therefore, while with early socialization training, you can expect your dog, cat, and teacup pig to live together harmoniously, you should never leave them unsupervised.[6]

mini pig yawning

When startled, pigs run away, which may trigger the predatory instincts of cats and dogs, especially the ones with high prey drive. Therefore, if you have a cat and dog living under your roof, you should think twice before bringing home a teacup pig.

5. Teacup Pigs Have a Very Short Life Expectancy

The susceptibility to a variety of health issues and genetic disorders due to the loss of gene pool diversity because of inbreeding, combined with health issues arising from continuous starvation leads to a shorter life expectancy. Where regular potbellied pigs have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, teacup pigs live only around 5 years. Teacups have a very weak immune system making them susceptible to even more health issues. Similarly, small skeletons and growing internal organs also make normal body functioning pretty difficult for cute piglets.

Two Juliana pigs playfighting

That said, if you feed your so-called teacup pig a balanced diet, he will live a healthy lifespan of 12 to 20 years. But this may also result in your “teacup” pig growing up to 100 and 200 pounds.

6. Keeping a Teacup Pigs Can be Crazy Expensive

Teacup pigs are a hot trend and breeders are using the opportunity to make crazy money. They are using scammy and misleading advertisement tactics labeling mini potbellied piglets as “teacups.” If you are thinking of buying a teacup from these breeders, be ready to break your bank by paying a whopping $750 to around over $3000 for a teacup pig that would never fit in a teacup and may even outgrow your house if you don’t starve them.

Juliana Pig walking along a water body

The cost of t buying a teacup is one time but the real expenses are of keeping a teacup pig. If you are a pig lover and would not starve or underfeed your so-called teacup pig just to keep him small, then your min pig would grow well above 100 pounds, and then you might end up literally breaking your bank providing for an over 100-pound pig when you had the budget for only about 20-pound teacup pig. 

7. Outdoor Space is a Must for Teacup Pigs

Pigs in general need a lot of daily exercise to expend their pent-up energy. If your teacup pig is not receiving ample daily exercise, he may develop behavioral issues. You will have to provide your pig with a large fenced area where he can freely roam around and dig the ground. While a small backyard or lawn would be enough space for a teacup pig, as it grows above 100 pounds, it would require much more space. And when not provided the needed space, it will develop destructive tendencies and may oftentimes attack its owners—bite or charge. Many of such grown “teacups” are discarded by their owners.

baby juliana pig wondering around in a rocky terrain

8. Pet Pigs are Illegal in Many States

While it is legal to keep teacup pigs or regular pigs in farm settings in most states, keeping pigs, regardless of their micro size, is illegal to be kept as pets in many municipalities.[5] So before you go and make the purchase, make sure that pet pigs are legal in your municipality.

Because of these zoning laws, many pig keepers have to surrender or abandon their teacup pigs after they realize that keeping pigs as pets is illegal in their zone. Such pigs end up in shelters, which are already overwhelmed, so do your research to save the piglet from suffering.

9. Pigs are Herd Animals

Piglet biting other piglet's ear

Pigs are extremely social creatures. Thus they should be kept in pairs so that they always have some company. But as caring for a pig is expensive caring for two would mean double the expenses which might not be feasible for most folks who are already struggling to provide for one 100-pound plus “teacup” pig. In that case, it is crucial that teacup pigs get enough human interaction on daily basis. Because if they are not, they will develop destructive behavioral tendencies—they would become aggressive, bored, restless, and might bite or charge.

Teacup Pig Cautionary Tales

Many are going crazy after watching cute and funny videos of these so-called teacup pigs on YouTube. Many are charmed by the social media frenzy and cuteness of these petite piglets. Here are two cautionary tales for you to reconsider purchasing a teacup pig.

Esther the Wonder Pig

Derek Walter and Steve Jenkins agreed to adopt a teacup pig named Esther when persuaded by a friend who was looking for a house for a young “micro-pig.” They loved the “mini pig” and provided it a balanced diet and met all of its nutritional needs but then it started outgrowing its petite teacup pig size. It grew and grew and soon it became apparent that they had been misled. There’s no such thing as a teacup pig.[7]

Esther theWonder Pig

Thanks to its loving owners, Esther continues to receive the love and care that it deserves but not many teacup pig lovers can provide when their “teacups” started growing and approach 100 pounds.

Ruby Rose Gifted Her Mom a teacup (Giant Killer Pig)

On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Ruby Rose told the audience that once she surprised her mother with a “teacup” pig. However, over time as the micro pig started growing, they realized that it was a giant pig—more like “a giant teacup at Disneyland.”

Like many teacup pig buyers, Ruby Rose was also deceived by the scammy breeders as they showed her tiny pregnant teacups, making her believe that teacup size is the adult size of these petite teacup pigs. But later she found that those pregnant pigs were actually piglets—pigs can breed when they are just 3 months old.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Teacup Pig!
1. Do you know that there is no such thing as a “teacup” pig? A teacup pig is a deception—your “teacup” will get 100-pound plus.
2. Are you okay with starving or underfeeding your teacup pig? To maintain their stunted growth, you will have to starve your teacup pigs.
3. Do you know teacup size is hurtful to pigs? Teacup size is hurtful and unhealthy for pigs as their skeleton stops growing but internal organs don’t.
4. Do you know teacup pigs have a very short lifespan? As compared to regular potbellied pigs who have a lifespan f 15 to 20 years, teacup pigs hardly live about 5 years.
5. Are pigs as pets legal where you live? Teacup might be illegal where you live.
6. Do you have other pets? Teacup pigs may not get along with other pets—cats and dogs.
7. Can you provide a lot of outdoor space? Pigs need a lot of fenced space, where they can roam freely and dig if they want.
8. Do you have the budget? Teacup pigs not only have a hefty price tag but keeping them is also crazy expensive.
9. Can you provide them with ample social interaction? Pigs are herd animals, if they don’t get social interaction, they will develop behavioral issues.
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