The History of Potbelly Pigs as Lard Animals

The origin of potbelly pigs can be traced back to Vietnam, where it is theorized that a crossbreeding of four different types of pig formed, over time, what we view as the modern potbelly pig. This origin story, however, is often refuted. Some theorize, that while the potbellied pig did make its way to Vietnam, that it actually made its first appearance in China around the tenth century. The potbellied pig first reached America in the 1980s when Keith Connell brought them over in order to breed them at zoos. Near the end of the 1980s an all-white version of the potbellied pig made its way to Texas.  


Potbellied pigs grew in popularity due to their smaller size. They weren’t traditionally butchered for pork, but rather for lard. During WWll lard was a vital product as it was used to make explosives as well as grease industrial instruments. Before WWll lard was also used a lot in cooking. However, due to the copious amounts of lard needed during the war, people grew accustomed to using vegetable oil as a heart-healthy alternative. Overtime the military stopped needing lard as well. They instead shifted to synthetic lab-produced chemicals to aid their needs. Thus, lard pigs became much less popular and fewer breeds remained farmable.  


Now, the potbellied pig is also kept as a pet. Many farmers no longer see them as a very suitable source of meat due to their large ratio of fat compared to other pig breeds. However, some places in the world, such as Asia, still rely on the potbellied pig for livestock. This is due to how easily they are fed. Potbellied pigs can eat practically anything natural. They also have litters that can reach up to 12 and can have offspring up until the age of 10.