Are Miniature Pigs Man’s New Best Friend?

Study of dogs and pigs reveals which is more social.

Oct 9, 2020

Dogs have always been considered man’s best friend. They are loyal to their owners, offer unconditional love, and connect with humans more than other species. However, dogs may have a rival for being the best-suited animal for companionship. Miniature pigs are gaining popularity, but will they win over men’s affection?

Since little is known about pigs' social skills and their communicative behavior towards humans, experts from Hungary decided to conduct a study to compare dogs and pigs. This experiment required solving a specific problem.

An "unsolvable task paradigm" was used, where each animal was presented at first with a problem he could solve, according to MailOnline. In this case, it was a box with food that could be easily opened. Then, they were presented with the same box securely, which is the unsolvable problem.

What did the researchers find out? When the box in the room was empty, both the pigs and the dogs presented similar human-oriented behaviors, turning to humans for support. However, when opening the box with food inside became a challenge, dogs turned to the human earlier and for longer periods of time. Pigs, on the other hand, were faster solving the problem and turned to humans less often for help.

So while pigs' behavior proved to be similar to dogs towards human beings, pigs were more independent when they had to solve an issue, which, according to the researchers, may be due to pigs’ greater manipulative capacity. Another interesting difference found is that only dogs looked up at the human face when they didn't expect to receive any food at all.

According to The Science Times, pigs make great pets. Similar to dogs, they are social animals that tend to live in groups. Miniature pigs are also known to be highly intelligent and clean, regardless of their reputation as being dirty. What’s more, they get along well with cats and can live long lives of up to 20 years.

Still, there’s something important to consider. Pigs need caregivers who are knowledgeable about their behavior, as reported on Mini Pig Info. Owners should be truly committed to guarantee their pet pig will receive loving care, enrichment, and mental stimulation. Pigs like to play with toys and can learn tricks. They also need exercise or they can become obese. No matter how big or small pigs are, they are still pigs and they require specific attention.

Both pigs and dogs make great pets, but does the new study shed light on who makes better friends for humans? It seems both dogs and pigs can make amazingly friendly and social domestic pets. However, according to science, the unique bond between dogs and man is still the strongest.

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DAIANA BROJT, CONTRIBUTOR
With a love for fashion, technology, self-development, nature and communication, Daiana is a freelance writer. She is the creator of an online community platform dedicated to providing inspiration and information on trends, developments and positive impact initiatives in the world of Sustainable Fashion.