Characteristics & Differences of a Mini Pig vs a Full-Sized Farm Breed


Characteristics & Differences of a Mini Pig vs a Full-Sized Farm Breed

There are many clear differences between a mini pig and a full-sized farm breed pig.  Even those with limited knowledge of pigs can be taught to recognize the physical characteristics that identify a farm breed pig vs a mini pig.  They do share common characteristics; hooves, snout, tail, etc., but with some distinctive differences.  They come in similar colors and patterns, although some colors are unique to farm breeds and other colors are unique to minis.  Their overall body conformations are a dead giveaway for determining what type of pig you are identifying.

In adolescent and older pigs the obvious telltale signs are the body shape and size.  Farm breed pigs grow extremely quickly while mini pigs can take their time.  If you’re looking to add a piglet to the family and you have questions about the expected adult size or the breed of the pig, always ask to see the parent pigs. 



  • The head of the full-sized farm breed is elongated.  Their snouts are long and narrow while a mini piglet will have a rounder face and shorter snout. 


  • The body of a mini pig will have a shorter torso and short legs, while the full-sized piglet will have a longer torso with more distance between their longer front and back legs.


  • The ears of a full-sized pig are large and erect, standing out and forward from the head, while the mini pig will have smaller, perked ears that lay slightly back.


  • The profile of a full-sized pig will have a straight lower jaw line, and longer narrow snout, while the mini pig will have a softer, rounded jawline.

Farm breed pigs are known for their curly tails; however, they often lay straight when the pig is relaxed.  The tail of a farm piglet is longer than that of a mini.  Some farm breed piglets will have no tail at all.  It is a common practice to dock, or cut their tails within days of birth to prevent litter mates from chewing them.  


It is also not uncommon for farm breed piglets to have metal eartags pierced into one ear, because of USDA requirements for sale barn or livestock auction identification. On rare occasions, mini pigs will have eartags in place if they have traveled through a state that requires this for permanent identification, or if they have been through an auction or sale barn.  The preferred method of permanent ID for mini pigs is microchip behind the left ear.  More information on microchip placement for mini pigs.

    Photo credit:

Southern Stumps American Mini Pigs 

The build of an older full-sized farm breed is very thick and stocky, with a longer body.  The head is small in proportion to the body.  They have very thick shoulders and rump with long legs.  The mini pig is built with a shorter torso, short legs, narrow, lean body with a head that is proportional to its body.



characteristics of mini pig vs farm pig
farm pig cropped

More information on mini pig breeds can be found here

Find more information on the American Mini Pig here.

For more information on mini pigs please visit the American Mini Pig Association.


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      Photo credit: Oink Oink Mini Pigs

         Farm Breed Piglet                         Mini Breed Piglet

         Farm Breed Pig 2 Years Old                                      Mini Pig Breed 2 Years Old

         Hip high in height to an adult                                                Below knee high