My daughter has always wanted a little pot-bellied pig to keep as a pet in our yard at the homestead. These pigs are certainly adorable when young, but they grow older and much larger.
As we considered getting her a pig, I wondered if they make good pets and how long they live. I know a dog can live up to 15 years if well taken care of, but how old would a pet pig get? My dad had always said that a pig gets as old as your appetite. I certainly had no intention of slaughtering a pet pig, but just how long this commitment would be was a concern.
How long do pigs live? Pigs can live from 15 to 20 years, depending on the pig breed. A pet pig can last up to 20 years of age if treated with proper care. The world’s record for the longest-living pet pig is a staggering 23 years, which shows that a pig can be a long-term companion (and commitment) with good care and love. Meanwhile, wild pigs have a shorter pig lifespan of four to eight years.
There are several factors that affect a pig’s life expectancy, and I’ll cover everything you need to know about your pig’s lifespan right here.
- How Long Do Pigs Live as Pets?
- Teacup Pigs and Mini Pigs Life Span
- How to Increase My Pig’s Life Expectancy
- Pig Lifespan in Human Years
- What Pig Has the Longest Lifespan?
- How Long Do Pigs Live FAQs
How Long Do Pigs Live as Pets?
Pet pigs can live as long as 18-20 years. Pet pigs usually receive higher care than other domesticated pigs and are treated more frequently for health problems to prolong their life. When fed an appropriate diet, pigs live long time. The oldest pig was almost 24 years old, making pigs longer-living pets than dogs.
Conversely, when pigs are overweight or unhealthy, they don’t live as long due to health issues.
Teacup Pigs and Mini Pigs Life Span
Teacup pigs live for 5 years. Meanwhile, mini pigs live an average of 18-20 years if left to live a full life.
Teacup pigs have a shorter lifespan because they have been specially bred to create a smaller size and are often underfed to keep them small. As a result, teacup pigs may not always be healthy pigs. Perpetually starving and often interbred within their own DNA pool introduces many health issues not usually found in pigs and shortens the lifespan of these super miniature pigs.
Mini pigs like potbelly pigs, which were originally used for breeding teacup pigs, are ironically the longest-living pig breeds. They are pot-bellied pig breeds and, even in the wild, tend to live longer than their wild counterparts. Mini pigs (but not the teacup variety) have fewer aging issues than other breeds, which contributes to their long lives.
Mini pigs and teacup pigs are often terms used synonymously. However, they mean different things. Mini pigs are certain pig breeds, usually pot-bellied pig breeds, that don’t grow as large as other pig breeds. Teacup pigs come from mini pig breeds but have been inbred to create smaller pigs than mini breeds usually produce. The inbreeding creates additional health problems for the pigs.
In addition, teacup pigs still get quite a bit bigger than a teacup. In order to keep a pig smaller than it normally would grow, teacup pigs are often starved. Overall, they have poor health.
What Factors Can Affect Pet Pig Lifespan
Purpose for Raising the Pig Affects How Long the Pig Lives
The purpose for the pig affects how long it lives. Pet pigs, with the exception of teacup pigs, live the longest number of years of any pig, while slaughtered pigs have the shortest lifespan. Teacup pigs live fewer years than other pet pigs, and farm pigs live longer than slaughter pigs but fewer years than pet pigs.
Pet pigs can live as old as 20 years and often get the best health care of any pig because their owners are willing to pay for vet visits, healthcare, and corrective actions that cost more and aren’t usually economically feasible in other situations.
Teacup pigs are an exception to the longer lifespan because they are usually starved and malnourished, resulting in a shorter lifespan. Even when a teacup pig is not kept on a bare minimum diet- inbreeding to create a smaller pig often results in additional health complications and shorter lives.
On the farm, pigs live between one and three years while they fatten before they are slaughtered. Breeding pigs can live 10-15 years but do not usually die naturally. Even breeding pigs are often slaughtered when they are not longer as viable for breeding.
Commercial slaughter pigs are raised for optimum profitability and so are slaughtered around 6 months of age on average.
Overall Health of the Pig
Genetics, disease, exposure, and other factors affect each individual pig’s lifespan. They will live shortened lives when their diet and daily care are inadequate.
How to Increase My Pig’s Life Expectancy
Like any good pet pig owner, or responsible pig breeder, you want to ensure your pigs are healthy and in the best possible physical condition. This will ensure your pigs don’t suffer early mortality and can live long lives like your pet.
Feed Pigs Healthy Food (Not Just Anything)
Always feed your pigs fresh, natural foods like cabbage, lettuce, carrots, and apples. Never feed leftovers that may contain unsafe foods for pigs, because unsafe human food leftovers are how diseases and illnesses often start.
Your pet pig is not your garbage bin. Pigs should be fed pig-safe food that is commercially designed for their particular breed. Since you are not fattening up your pet pig for slaughter, you should provide a low-carbohydrate feed that will sustain them but not lead to obesity.
Ensure your pet pig has enough water; if they sleep outside in the pen, ensure their water supply doesn’t freeze at night. A water heater may be required in cold climates.
Pigs Need Space and Exercise.
Pet pigs require exercise and space to relax. While a pig raised for slaughter doesn’t necessarily need a lot of space to move around, a pet pig is hopefully going to live much longer. So, having enough space to explore, satisfy their digging instincts, and forage for natural foods is an ideal environment.
Ensure your pig gets enough sunlight to boost their vitamin D3 production, but be aware that a pig has light-toned skin that easily sunburns (unless it’s a brown or black-skinned pig).
If you keep your pig in a small yard or a city apartment, be sure you take your pig for regular strolls. While pigs can run, it is not healthy for their joints when they become larger. Instead, let them mozy along on a harness with you at the park or around the block.
Your pig should have access to some good natural mud, fresh water to rinse in, and a nice dust bath area where they can roll to maintain their skin’s optimal condition. You can bathe your pig, but overdoing this will lead to crusty skin and serious skin problems. After all, a healthy pig is a happy pig.
Provide a Clean, Safe Environment for Pet Pigs
Most importantly, when it comes to your pig’s health, it is vital that you keep them in a safe environment. If your pig gets out of your yard, then they may be hit by a car (ending their life early), or dogs may attack them.
Ensure your pig’s environment is safe, secure, and toxin-free. Fine-tuning your home like you would for a human baby is advised if your pig is an indoor pig.
Consider whether there are electrical wires in the range of your pig’s mouth, if the furniture paint is lead-free and if there are furniture items that your pig may run over, potentially injuring themselves. Finally, it’s your responsibility to keep your pet pig safe so that they can reach a ripe old age.
Seek Vet Help in Emergencies About Your Pet Pig
You can take steps to ensure your pet pig lives a healthy and long life. It’s not rocket science! Simply ensure you cover all the bases your own child has: is your pet eating correctly, has your pig been vaccinated for contagious diseases, and do you regularly take your pet pig for a vet check?
If your human child is ill, you won’t hesitate to consult with a doctor. So, if your pet pig is unwell, don’t hesitate to speak to a vet and get them the treatment they need.
Also, make sure your pet pig is happy. Because when a pig is happy, they will live longer since they will be healthy too. Pigs are group animals, so don’t keep only one pig on its own. Rather keep two or three pigs together to meet their social needs.
Abandonment of Pet Pigs as a Cause of Premature Death
Another sad reason many pet pigs don’t live to a ripe old age is that most people are completely unprepared for what is involved in keeping a pig as a pet. Therefore, many pet pigs are abandoned annually when people dump them in animal rescues and shelters.
The reasons for their abandonment are often as silly as “I didn’t know the pig would grow that much,” or “I can’t teach the pig any tricks,” or “This pig is so messy.”
So, before you think about adopting a pet pig, do your homework and determine whether you would be a good pet pig parent.
Pig Lifespan in Human Years
You’ve decided to get a pet pig—Great!
My daughter was overjoyed when we decided to get her one. Our research also discovered that different pig breeds could reach a range of ages that are different from our ages as humans. The first year of a pig’s life is equivalent to 18 human years, but after that, one pig year equals four human years.
So, to help you make the best choice in pig breed here are the pig lifespan in human years:
Pig Years to Human Years Comparison Table
|Pig Years||Human Years||Pig Years||Human Years|
|1 pig year||18 human years||8 pig years||46 human years|
|2 pig years||22 human years||9 pig years||50 human years|
|3 pig years||26 human years||10 pig years||54 human years|
|4 pig years||30 human years||12 pig years||58 human years|
|5 pig years||34 human years||15 pig years||62 human years|
|6 pig years||38 human years||18 pig years||86 human years|
|7 pig years||42 human years||20 pig years||90 human years|
What Pig Has the Longest Lifespan?
You may wonder what age most pigs will reach, whether pet pigs, miniature varieties, or the “big old slaughter pigs.” Here are a few pig breeds and their ages as well as the longest-living pig breed:
Pig Breeds And Average Life Expectancy Table:
|Pig Breed||Average Life Expectancy (In Years)|
|Wild Boars||15-20 years|
|Duroc Pig||10-15 years|
|Spotted Pig||15-20 years|
|Berkshire Pig||6-10 years|
|Hampshire Pig||10-12 years|
|Landrace Pig||6-10 years|
|Poland China Pigs||6-10 years|
|Yorkshire Pigs||8-10 years|
|Chester White Pigs||6-8 years|
|Razorback Pigs||9-10 years|
|Truffle Pig (Spanish Black Pig)||15-20 years|
|Potbelly Pigs||15-18 years|
|KuneKune Pigs||15-20 years|
Fat pigs have to live for fewer years than other healthier-weighted pigs of the same breed. Overweight pigs can lose as much as ⅓ of their natural lifespan. But, even these statistics may not be accurate because most fat pigs are being raised for meat and are slaughtered before they reach a natural death.
If your pet pig is overweight and you want it to live a long, healthy life- you’ll want to work to find out from your vet what a healthy weight is for your pig. Pig obesity can cause breathing issues, increase the risk of disease and heart ailments, and cause depression and lethargy in your pig. For more info on how to help an obese pig, check out this article, which has an entire section on it.
As a general rule, the larger the pig, the lower its life expectancy. Smaller pigs tend to live longer. Potbellied pigs have the longest lifespan of all pig breeds. The oldest pig ever recorded was a pig named Oscar. He currently holds the Guinness World Record at 21 years 13 days when he passed.
How Long Do Pigs Live FAQs
You may have some more questions about your pet pig’s life expectancy or how long your breeding pigs may live (if not slaughtered), and here is some more great information.
How long does a pig heart last? Pigs can live up to 20 years or more, which is the natural life span of their heart. However, in non-pig heart transplants, the valves have been used for human heart procedures over many decades. Yet, until recently, the first pig-human heart transplant was thought impossible, but a US man has lived two months on a pig heart transplant.
How long do wild pigs live? Wild pigs live an average of 6-8 years. After 4 years, the mortality rate increases to 50% each year. Exceptionally older wild pigs max out around 10-12 years. Experts consider 9-10 years to be the maximum age for most wild pigs. Their shorter lifespan is due to their exposure to harsh weather, famine, and predators.
How long do domesticated pigs live? Domesticated pigs can live for an average of 10-15 years if allowed to live out their lives. The lifespan of a pig will depend on its use; slaughter, breeding, or pet. Domesticated pigs can live longer lives than wild pigs because they maintain better health and diet.
How long do pigs live before slaughter? Pigs are slaughtered at 6 months. On a small farm or homestead, pigs may live as many as 9 months before slaughter. This is the optimal age for food-to-weight ratio. After 6 months, a pig’s weight gain slows down and they continue to increase their food intake.
What breed of pigs lives the longest? The Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig has the longest lifespan and can live up to 20 years. Other pot-bellied pig breeds also have longer lifespans which range between 18-20 years. Mini pig breeds live longer than larger breeds and teacup pigs. The oldest pig ever recorded, Jane, was 23.5 years old. No pig is known to live longer than 23 years.
How can you tell a pig’s age? A pig’s age can be estimated by looking at their teeth, assessing their weight and development, inspecting tusks, and observing behavior. Pigs have baby teeth and grow adult teeth at 2-3 years old. Age can be estimated by examining the type of teeth and the amount of wear and tear on the teeth. Tusks come in at 2 years as well. In addition, pigs’ weight, growth, and behavior can also be assessed using average breed trends.
When you are ready to get your pet pig, remember one thing. Pet pigs are awesome!
We love our little spotted pig, and it’s been such a blast training her and introducing her to the other animals in the yard. Because we know that if we take good care of her, she will live for many years. She can even be around when my daughter goes to her prom one day.
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