Potbelly Pig History: How Did Potbelly Pigs Get To America?

Although potbelly pigs have been domesticated for hundreds of years, it’s nice to know a bit about where your lovable pet has come from. You research about your ancestors, right? So why not know about the ancestors of your best potbellied friend?

We all know that potbelly pigs are a direct descendant of the old world wild pig family, which includes the wild boar. But how did they get to America? The potbelly pigs in the U.S. today are generally associated with Vietnam. There they were a “local type” of pig to Vietnam and many people think that the pigs we see in America today are probably a cross-breed of four local types of Vietnamese pigs. Our potbellies share many characteristics with the Vietnamese pigs, such as pointed ears, sway back, straight tail, pot belly, size and nice disposition.

Potbellies came to America from Canada in the mid-1980s by Keith Connell, a zoo director. These pot belly pigs were bigger than the ones we have today and were all black and wrinkled around the head and face. They were intended as breeding stock to supply the zoological gardens. In 1989, shortly after Connell’s import of the pot belly pigs, another line of pot belly pigs arrived in Texas. They were brought by a man name Leavitt from Europe and mostly all white in color. Many pot bellies in the U.S. can be traced back to the Connell and Lea lines.

After that, the popularity of pot belly pigs as pets grew because of their smaller size (when compared to a farmyard pig), their intelligence and their companionship. They are easily trained and are by nature, very clean animals to have around. Still today, many people find them better pets than dogs because they are more intelligent and extremely loyal. However, they are harder to care for than dogs and unfortunately today there are many people who neglect and abandon these wonderful animals. Learning more about our pet’s history can make us appreciate them for the amazing creatures they are.


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