Can Dogs Live with Pot Bellied Pigs?

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Introduction

As pet pigs gain more and more traction and popularity, it's hard not to wonder whether Babe would make a good pal for your furry friend. Pigs are intelligent, energetic, and compassionate creatures, much like our dogs.

While it is possible for dogs and pigs to live together in one household, the transition might be difficult. In most households, the natural rule of thumb is that pigs fall below dogs on the food chain. There are a number of ways to reduce the aggression or trauma that may come along with the addition of a new family member, but it will take patience and determination. 

While it is ultimately possible to have a dog and pig live together in one cohesive family unit, how successful the integration goes really depends on the time and space you have to supervise interactions.

Signs You Dog Doesn't Get Along with Pot Bellied Pigs

While your furry friend may eat out of a bowl (or gobble treats from your hand), dogs were once natural predators in the wild and may potentially view pigs as prey. You can observe behaviors in your dog to determine whether your pup has the temperament to live successfully with a pig.

Remember that safety comes first, and it is important to observe your pup’s personality. It is critical to understand that some dogs may show little to no warning before moving in for an attack, so it is important to be active and attentive throughout the relationship-building process. Dogs can get aggressive over food or simply because they feel anxious, so never leave a dog and pig alone unsupervised.

Body Language

Signs that your dog wasn't meant to get along with pigs include:
  • Growling
  • Staring
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Tense jaw
  • Back hair on edge
  • Snapping
  • Stalking
  • Stiff tail

Other Signs

Other signs may include:
  • Anxious behavior
  • Chasing the pig
  • Crouching near the pig
  • Attacking
  • Other signs of aggression

The History Behind Dogs Living with Pigs

Before domestication, dogs were natural predators in the wild. As descendants from wolves, dogs depended on hunting for survival. In the wild, pigs fall below dogs on the food chain. And while domesticated dogs have preferred the love and care provided by humans, all domesticated dogs continue to possess an innate prey drive to some extent. 

Some dog breeds, specifically those used for hunting or sporting, cannot be trusted with smaller animals. While more passive, companion breeds may be more compatible and less aggressive with small animals, they still possess the basic canine instinct to hunt for food.

The Science Behind Dogs Living with Pigs

The activation of a dog’s prey drive is multi-faceted and different in every dog. Multiple factors come together to generate your dog’s behavior: 

  1. Breed - Some breeds are more highly motivated to chase prey than others, such as Pointers or Spaniels
  2. Experience - Prior success is a reward that keeps on giving, encouraging your pup to hunt again 
  3. Opportunity - The freedom to act in an environment conducive to the natural instinct to hunt 
  4. Motivation - The aspect of internal processing that propels an animal into action 
  5. Social Facilitation - The presence or absence of other pack members may encourage your dog to act on their natural instinct.
The bottom line is to really know your dog and to recognize predatory behavior when it’s present. Once predatory behavior has been recognized, you can proactively take whatever steps are necessary to prevent any mishaps.

Training Your Dog to Live with Pigs

Honestly, it is not likely that you can train a dog to live with a pig. There will always be a chance that something might set off your pup and instinct will take over. This has happened across all types of breeds, as well, because all dogs have evolved from the wolves and maintain the prey-drive. 

If you truly cannot live without both a dog and a pig, you must provide separate living spaces. Both animals are intelligent, compassionate creatures, capable of feeling jealousy and love. 

Because most dogs have a natural instinct to hunt, it is very important to start slowly with introductions. Rushing introductions between your pup and pig could lead to mistakes and accidents, so don’t rush into anything. 

Both pigs and dogs love a good snack and are easily distracted and bribed with treats! Rewarding your pets with treats for good behavior is a great way to encourage a friendly relationship throughout each meeting. Strong training and socialization skills will be necessary for both animals involved.

Safety Tips for Dog and Pig Companionship:

  • Do not leave a dog and pig together unsupervised.
  • If your pup is baring their teeth or showing signs of aggression, quickly separate the animals.
  • If your dog attacks your pig, bring Babe to an emergency vet immediately!

We Want to Hear About Your Dog and Pig Living Together!