Miniature pigs, micro pigs, mini piggies or teacups. However you want to say it, these itty-bitties are the latest pet craze to hit Britain.
The micro pink cuties no longer are just your county fair blue-ribbon prize winners. Micro pigs have taken wannabe pet owners by storm.
Move over Chihuahuas and Yorkies, these teacup-size oinkers have become competition to the already popular toy puppies.
Only three pounds at birth, micro pigs will reach 25 to 55 pounds by adult maturity -- a similar weight to adult pugs.
Mini piglets are barely three inches tall and are tiny enough to fit snugly in a tote around town. But as adults they will mature to reach between 10 to 15 inches, much like a small beagle.
"They make excellent pets and are easily housebroken," according to Tanglewood Farm, a miniature pig farm in Canton, Ga. "They are not finicky eaters, don't bark and rarely shed. Their tremendous intelligence and amiable nature are quickly making them a strong contender as America's favorite house pet."
With the H1N1 virus on the spread, swine are getting a bad name. But breeders say a person cannot catch the H1N1 virus from pigs. In fact, these tiny friends have hair rather than fur, making them less troublesome to allergy sufferers than many dog breeds, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Only a recent trend, miniature Vietnamese potbellied pigs came from Southeast Asia to the United States in the 1980s. Mini piggies can range from black to white. There are even some white pintos with ocean-glass-blue eyes.
These little bitties cost a pretty penny. Depending on breed and/or sex, the price of a miniature pig could range from $700 to over $1000. However popular it is in Britain, the trend hasn't caught on just yet here in the States. Many places like New York still consider pigs as farm or exotic animals and will not legally allow residents to own one as a pet.
But don't worry; there won't be a run out of miniatures any times soon. Micro pigs hit sexual maturity within a couple of months after birth and produce 13 litters a year making these pint-size Wilburs readily available.