Pygmy Spotlight: Goats

Pygmy goats have charming personalities and make excellent companion pets for both humans and other animals. Though any goat breed will make an excellent pet, smaller breeds are most popular—they require the least amount of space, resources, and—of course—they’re adorable. Pygmy goats are one of the most popular breeds. An adult will grow to be between 16 and 23 inches at the withers, often weighing between 40 and 80 pounds. These goats breed year-round, meaning that kids are nearly always available for purchase and adoption.

 

The pygmy goat’s lineage is fairly straightforward; the breed was developed from the West African dwarf goat, which is commonly found in the Cameroon Valley. They were taken to Europe by the British during the colonial era, and a few hundred were then sent to the United States to use in zoos and as research animals. In the 1960s, pygmy goats were acquired by private breeders, quickly gaining popularity as pets for their size, personalities, friendliness, and hardiness.

 

As with most animals, there are a few downsides to keeping a pygmy goat as a pet. Goats in general can be very messy, and they are often picky eaters. Goat parents should be prepared to spend more money on food than one might with a standard cat or dog. Additionally, if they are not properly exercised or not allowed space to run and climb, they can be destructive. However, effectively handling your pet’s time and allowing them to run in the backyard is an easy and effective way to deter bad behavior.

 

When properly raised, a pygmy goat will spend its days lounging around, entertaining you and your family, and charming everyone in its path. These are perfect pets for people with larger homes, open spaces, and farms—in addition to making the perfect human companion, these little goats are great friends for other farm animals.

Pick a Pygmy Pet: Pigs!

Pygmy Pigs, also known as teacup pigs, miniature pigs, dwarf pigs, and micro pigs, have become America’s top trendy pet. The term itself refers to a small breed of domestic pig, such as the Pot-bellied pig of Vietnam or the Göttingen minipigs of Germany. These tiny creatures have small, perked-back ears, a potbelly, a chubby figure, a rounded head, a shorter snout, and tiny legs.

Their breeding history is slightly foggy, but we know that pygmy pigs began showing up in the mid-1970s; labs across North America and Europe bred them for use in medical research within the fields of toxicology, pharmacology, pulmonology, cardiology, aging, and as a source for organs for organ transplantation. Pigs are very useful in studying human disease, and—due to their high intelligence—are very easy to manage in a laboratory setting. Though your pygmy pets might have seemed destined to become close companions, they were originally bred for research purposes.

However, these tiny pigs don’t stay small forever. Most breeds of teacup pigs grow up to be between 75 and 200lbs—around the size of a medium/large dog. Though this is significantly smaller than adult farm pigs, which can weigh up to 1,100 pounds, a 200-pound pet is not what most people expect when they purchase a pygmy animal. Moreover, teacup pigs have a long lifespan—they outlive dogs, and they often outlive cats. Their lifespans are often around 15-20 years. If you adopt a pygmy pig, you’re in it for the long haul.

As a result, laws vary on the legality of keeping pigs as house pets. If no such laws exist, your pink little friend may be considered, exclusively, as livestock. If this is the case, be sure to double-check your sources; some towns and cities have ordinances disallowing farm animals within city limits. Pigs are intelligent, adorable, and rewarding pets—just be sure to understand the repercussions in your choice of companion.