About Pigs

Pigs, belonging to the animal kingdom, class Mammalia, and order Artiodactyla, are fascinating animals.  They have been an integral part of human history and agriculture for thousands of years. 

Pigs are both part of the domestic farming world and the wilds of nature. Learn more about or squiggly friends by exploring the diverse world of pigs, including their general description, various breeds, lifespan, dietary habits, and their significant contributions to various aspects of human life.

Pigs encompass both domesticated and wild species, each with unique characteristics and adaptations. Here is a quick look into both domestic and wild varieties:

Domestic Pigs:

Domestic pigs, scientifically known as Sus scrofa domesticus, are highly versatile animals that have been selectively bred for specific traits. They come in a wide range of sizes, colors, and coat patterns. 

Domestic pigs have a stout body, a snout used for rooting, and a curly tail. They are known for their intelligence and social behavior, often living in groups or herds.

Wild Pigs:

Wild pigs, also referred to as wild boars or feral pigs, belong to the same species as domestic pigs (Sus scrofa). However, they differ in their habitat and behavior. Wild pigs are descendants of domesticated pigs that have returned to the wild or escaped captivity. 

They are adaptable and can thrive in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and wetlands. Wild pigs have a more robust build, longer tusks, and a thicker coat.

Types of Pigs:

How many breeds of pigs are there? How many species of pigs are there, including wild pigs? What are the most common or popular pig breeds?

  1. Pig Breeds: There are numerous pig breeds worldwide, each bred for specific purposes such as meat production, lard production, or pet companionship. Some common pig breeds include:
    • Berkshire: Known for their flavorful meat, Berkshire pigs have a black coat with white markings on their face, legs, and tail.
    • Duroc: Duroc pigs are prized for their meat quality and are known for their reddish-brown coat and muscular build.
    • Hampshire: Hampshire pigs are popular for their lean meat and black coat with a white belt around their shoulders.
    • Yorkshire: Yorkshire pigs, also known as Large Whites, are highly prolific and have a white coat. They are often used for pork production.
    • Tamworth: Tamworth pigs are prized for their bacon production and have a reddish-brown coat. They are known for their hardiness and foraging abilities.
  2. Wild Pig Species: Wild pigs, including various subspecies, can be found in different regions of the world. Some notable wild pig species include the warthog, the Eurasian wild boar, the Javan warty pig, the Visayan warty pig, and the Celebes warty pig.


Pigs, with their domestic and wild varieties, captivate us with their versatility, intelligence, and contributions to our lives. From their valuable meat production to their role in scientific research and their potential as cherished pets, pigs have a significant impact on human culture and sustenance. 

As we appreciate the diverse breeds and behaviors of pigs, let us also recognize the importance of responsible husbandry practices and the ethical treatment of these remarkable creatures.

Types of Pigs

Berkshire Pig

Black Pied

Cinta Senese

Curly Haired Mangalica

Great White Pig

Hereford Pig





Vietnamese Pot Bellied

Visayan Warty


Wild Boar


1. What are the largest and smallest pig species?

Pigs exhibit a range of sizes:

  1. Largest Pig: The largest pig breed is the Gloucestershire Old Spot, which can reach weights of up to 600 pounds or more. These pigs have a distinctive white coat with black spots.
  2. Smallest Pig: The smallest pig breed is the Miniature Pig, also known as the Teacup Pig. These pigs are bred selectively for their small size and can weigh between 40 and 100 pounds when fully grown.

2. How long do pigs live?

The lifespan of pigs can vary depending on factors such as breed, genetics, and husbandry practices. On average, domestic pigs can live for 10 to 15 years.

However, some individuals may live longer, especially with proper care and nutrition. Wild pigs have a slightly shorter lifespan due to the challenges of living in the wild.

3. What do pigs eat?

Pigs are omnivorous animals with a diverse diet:

  • Domestic pigs: They are often fed a balanced diet that includes grains, vegetables, fruits, and commercial pig feed. However, pigs are natural foragers and have a keen sense of smell, allowing them to root and search for food in the soil.
  • Wild pigs: Their diet primarily consists of roots, tubers, fruits, nuts, insects, and small animals. They are known for their ability to dig up the ground in search of food.

4. What are pigs used for?

Pigs have significant contributions to various aspects of human life.  Here is a quick look at some of the ways they are used by society:

  1. Meat Production: Pigs are one of the primary sources of pork, a widely consumed meat around the world. Their meat is versatile and used in various culinary preparations.
  2. By-Products: Apart from meat, pigs provide other valuable by-products. For example, their fat (lard) is used in cooking and soap-making, while their skin is utilized in the production of leather.
  3. Research and Medical Purposes: Pigs are often used in medical research due to their anatomical and physiological similarities to humans. They have been instrumental in advancing medical knowledge and treatments.
  4. Companionship and Pets: Pigs, especially miniature pig breeds, have gained popularity as pets due to their intelligence, sociability, and trainability. They can form strong bonds with their human caregivers.

5. What are pigs known for?

Pigs are known for several characteristics and behaviors:

  1. Intelligence: Pigs are highly intelligent animals, often ranking alongside dogs and primates in cognitive abilities. They can learn tricks, solve puzzles, and demonstrate complex social interactions.
  2. Sociability: Pigs are social creatures that thrive in group settings. They engage in social behaviors such as grooming, playing, and communicating through various vocalizations.
  3. Rooting Behavior: Pigs have a natural instinct to root, using their snout to dig and search for food in the ground. This behavior helps them uncover roots, insects, and other edible items.

  • Burnie, David & Wilson, Don, Animal, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC.
  • Hickman et al, Integrated Principle of Zoology, McGraw Hill, Boston.