Looking for an unusual breed of pig with an uncommon appearance? Meishan pigs might be the answer for you.

What exactly is the Meishan pig? It is a Chinese pig breed that is often black in color with a wrinkly face similar to the popular Shar Pei dog breed which is also from China.

Meishan pigs also have large drooping ears, a trait that many owners love and look for. The drooping ears just make them a lot cuter, in the eyes of many.

So what is there to know about Meishan pigs? In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about these wrinkly droopy eared pigs.

History and Origins

As stated above, Meishan pigs originated from China and are now rarely found on other countries but China alone. The breed is now considered “critically endangered”

The most probable cause of their decline in population is due to the lack of use for the said breed. Meishan pigs have abundant fat and grow slowly compared to other breeds of pigs.

Meishan pigs are one of the oldest heritage breeds of domesticated pigs. It is possible that the other popular and similar breeds like Berkshire pigs were preferred by most farmers when it comes to raising livestock.

The breed is named after the Chinese prefecture of Meishan and it is part of the Taihu Chinese breed of pigs.

Meishan pigs are mainly used in the US for research purposes and breeding programs. The research was possibly terminated because of the risk of extinction.

Now, conservation groups are maintaining the Meishan line of pigs to stabilize the population from threatened to normal.

Extra History: Taihu Pigs and Meishan Pigs

When people learn that Meishan pigs are part of the Taihu pig breed, they grow curious and search about Taihu pigs as well.

Apparently, it captured my interest as well and I thought this is also interesting information related to Meishan pigs.

The two breed of pigs have little to no physical differences at all, which is why it can be confusing why they have different names. Both pigs were usually dark in color, have droopy ears and heavily wrinkled bodies and faces.

So, what exactly is the Taihu pig and why do they have different names if they are so similar?

In a sense, Taihu pigs can be considered as the “seed” breed that bloomed into a tree with several branches. These branches were given different names. For example, the Meishan prefecture.

Simply put, the name of Taihu pigs was made different for every district they were raised into and eventually developed different diet preferences because of their different environments.

These branches are called “strains” and here is the list of the known Taihu strains including our main star of the article, the Meishan pigs.

1. Meishan
2. Fengjing
3. Jiaxing
4. Erhualian
5. Hengjing

These strains are found in different districts or areas in China which is why each have its own unique name instead of just having the original “Taihu” name.

As complicated as it may be for some, this is common practice for many Asian countries. It is normal to have different names for one specific thing in different areas under one country.

Anatomy and Physical Appearance

Now that we are enlightened about the history of these gentle, wrinkled pigs, it is time to explain more about their body to know more about them.

The original Taihu breed is usually large while the Meishan breed of pig is usually small to medium sized pigs. They are also slow in terms of growth and develop fat easily.

Despite this, they have a very strong body that is immune to certain diseases and allows them to consume roughage and not all breed of pigs can do that.

Roughage — also known as “fiber” or “bulk, is an indigestible compound that a regular human body can’t absorb. Even other animals may not be capable of consuming roughage. Roughage is found in many fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.

If you’re also familiar with “Eeyore” from the popular children’s story “Winnie the Pooh”, the Meishan breed’s fully grown appearance is somewhat identical to the popular donkey character.

If not for the wrinkly face, perhaps, Meishan pigs can be mistaken for a donkey at some point because of fictional characters like Eeyore.

COLORS — Meishan breeds are only seen in dark colors. There are only two common colors – dark brown and pure black. Crossbred or mixed Meishan pigs may have a different color.

HEAD — Their faces are large and appear bigger because of the wrinkles.

EARS — The ears are often large too and can grow a bit long and always drooped downwards.

SNOUT (THE NOSE) — Their noses are upturned and can have spots of light color like peach or pink.

WEIGHT — The average body weight of a mature Meishan pig is 61 kg (134 pounds)

HEIGHT — An average adult Meishan pig can grow up to 22 inches tall (57.8 cm) and if measured around the chest it can be 39 inches (100 cm)

TEETH — Meishan pigs will have normal and non-sharp teeth but can still bite really hard onto food. All pigs usually get their needle sharp teeth clipped moments or hours after birth.

The sharp teeth get replaced by normal teeth afterwards.

TUSKS — all pigs grow tusks including domestic breeds like Meishan pigs. Male or female, wild or domestic, there are no exceptions.

Females usually have shorter or smaller tusks that rarely grow long or large enough to stick out of their mouths. Because of this trait, it was one of the easy ways to identify the gender of the pigs in the wild.

The tusks serve as a pig’s offensive and defensive weapon. However, domestic pigs usually have their tusks completely removed as it serves no purpose in captivity.

For those who may not be aware, the tusk is actually part of the jawbones and is considered part of the teeth. This means that if you cut off their tusks, it will not grow back.

However, trimming is a different task and is only done to care for the pig.

NAILS AND HOOVES — Meishan pigs also have hooves and “dewclaws” that may need trimming. On an average, a pig should have trimming at least once a year.

Indoor pigs will require more trimming while outdoor pigs that have a stable, solid footing may only require lesser trimming sessions.

TAIL — Meishan pigs often have long, straight tails and they are capable of curling them. There is no actual explanation why pigs curl their tails but there are a lot of theories as to why they do.

The only known purpose of a pig’s tail is to drive away insects like flies. It is to reach the areas their legs and mouth cannot reach.

Curious why pigs have curly tails? We have an article about that for you here.

Characteristics and Personality

Meishan pigs may look gloomy when perceived through their physical appearance. They often have their head down and their dark coloration as well as their large droopy ears often covers their eyes.

However, they are known to be a very silent breed of pigs and extremely docile compared to other breeds. They are often praised for their easy going personality that allows better handling at work.

Other breed of pigs oink or grunt a lot, but Meishan rarely makes any noise and they are complimented for that.

They are a great pig for people who are afraid of pigs. They are extremely gentle and prefer a peaceful lifestyle.

Rico Silvera — God’s Blessing Farm told www.tractorsupply.com

They may not be as charming as the other popular breeds, but once you get past their uncommon appearance, you will be smitten by how peaceful and lovely they can be.

Besides, their babies or piglets resemble the face of a pug — a wrinkled face dog that is loved by many.

Wrinkled body and face animals are becoming a popular “trend” but we aim to convince that adoring these kinds of animals should not just be a form of following a trend, but also become about completely opening your hearts for them.

They have a very different personality compared to other docile breed of pigs. Meishan pigs can be considered “sleepyheads” as they will rather take naps than spend time doing other things with other pigs.

These pigs are so gentle, they were never seen attacking or fighting with other pigs and animals, even people unless they are still piglets. Piglets can play fight and make a bit of noise since they are still young.

However, once they mature, people will be surprised by how different Meishan pigs are from the typical pigs.

Most pigs are also considered as one of nature’s “escape artists” but Meishan pigs have never challenged walls, fences or other obstacles that may prevent them from going to another area.

They will stay where they can as long as they are safe and sound.

Intelligent creatures

Aside from being such peaceful animals, they are very intelligent too. Just like any other pig, they are quick learners and can remember a lot of things.

It is a fact that pigs ranked fifth among the most intelligent animals in the world.

Within that small to medium body of theirs, awaits a big brain and loving personality! Who knew that behind their cute, wrinkly body and face is a surprising level of intelligence?

Pigs are also capable of outsmarting chimpanzees, one of the top smartest animals we’ve ever known! However, Meishan pigs are not competitive pigs and would rather let the other animals win. That is how peaceful they can be.

Meishan pigs can also really surprise you with their great memory as well as how fast they can learn and pick up hints about certain things.

Aside from ranking fifth in the world ranking, scientific studies and research also stated that an average pig have the same intelligence level as a 2 year old human child.

They discovered that pigs can have better focus and produce a higher success rate when it comes to tests and challenges unlike dogs and chimps.

Not all dogs can learn as fast as a pig can, as some dogs are known to be stubborn or even be full of pride. Although they are usually submissive, many dogs can be stubborn when it comes to training.

Unlike pigs that seem to naturally learn without feeling forced. They tend to learn faster because of their ability to focus better. Dogs can be easily distracted because of their playful nature.

The advantage of being a prey

Another reason why pigs such as Meishan pigs have such great intelligence compared to others is because they are prey animals.

Although Meishan pigs have never known the wild because they were domesticated from the moment they were born, they still retain their wild and natural traits.

Most pets that we have kept and raised are predator animals like cats and dogs so now we are being surprised by a prey like pigs and their capabilities! It’s about time we give these animals an opportunity to be loved and understood.

Prey animals need to be on alert more than predators and thus, may develop a more sensitive way of living. They need to be smarter than their swift and strong predators.

Pigs possibly learned to enhance their intelligence by adapting and learning how to outsmart their predators.

Predators do not have to be on guard most of the time, they are usually comfortable anywhere and don’t struggle as hard as a prey when searching for food.

I have a personal saying regarding this aspect in life. The poor may be poor, but they can definitely be wiser than the rich.

It’s because when you are always on edge, you become desperate to cling on for survival. While those who are at the top have it easy and tend to forget the meaning of challenges.

When life is hard, it teaches you to become strong. Even if they are prey animals, if their minds are strong, their chances of survivability will definitely increase.

Meishan pigs can be house trained

Even though Meishan pigs are mainly used for breeding purposes and live as livestock animals in farms, they are still capable of being house trained if ever you have to keep one.

Many pig owners say that pigs can learn faster than dogs. Meishan pigs or just pigs in general, can be house trained. They may learn how to use the litter box, play fetch and do several other tricks.

It has also been proven that the “treat rewarding” method works very well with pigs when training them.


In relation to their intelligence, pigs like Meishan pigs are capable of being compassionate. Their smart brains allow them to feel both negative and positive emotions.

This means that they can also feel pain, become depressed, be excited and many more! Because of this, many people are convinced that the cruel treatment towards livestock pigs should come to an end.

They are not mindless creatures that are supposed to be treated like objects or tools for our own gains. Meishan pigs deserve to be treated fairly just like other breeds of pigs.

They can sense grief

Pigs are capable of sensing grief from other animals, their companions or their human owners. When they do, they have a tendency to console them for comfort.

Meishan pigs are aware when a companion passes away or when they get left behind or abandoned. They can be sad, depressed and lonely to the point of crying real tears when mourning their loss or simply missing something or someone.

They can be sensitive

Since they have almost the same mentality or intelligence level as a child, you can expect them to behave similarly to a child. Meishan pigs can grow bored when isolated or uneasy when kept in an uncomfortable place and more.

They are capable of being stubborn, being spoiled, become manipulative or dominant. However, they are never violent. Meishan pigs will never attack you unless they are deeply provoked or threatened in a corner.

When a pig is mistreated or abused, they WILL remember it. They know how to hold grudges, remember the faces of their abusers but they can also be grateful and remember those who cared for them.

This is part of the reason why they are lovely animals, because they exhibit a behavior where the owners must be emotionally prepared as Meishan pigs can be emotionally sensitive too.

Pigs must be handled with genuine love and care!

Breeding and Life Expectancy

Meishan pigs declined in population when most farmers decided the breed doesn’t have much usage that they can benefit from. However, no breed is perfect and have its own pros and cons which will be mentioned towards the end of this article.

Despite their abundance of fat and slow growth, Meishan pigs usually become sexually mature at around 2 to 3 months of age which is 3 months earlier than the usual 6 months compared to most breed of pigs.

They also have at least 18 up to 22 teats where their liter (offspring) can suck from and this makes them good for reproduction purposes as they can manage feeding 22 baby pigs at most.

This is one of their unique capabilities that other pigs do not have.


Meishan pigs are popular for their great number of liters. They can produce 15 to 22 litters (piglets) and have high pregnancy success rate. They have great mothering skills too.

If you’re interested in learning more about breeding, you can check our article about that here.

Life expectancy

The Meishan pig’s average life expectancy is 15 years up to 20 years.

Since their population continuously grows small, there are fewer people that want to raise Meishan pigs. However, conservation centers state that Meishan can reach their prime when they are properly cared for.

This information brings us to the conclusion that there are times that pigs can live longer than their expected lifespan as long as they are healthy and loved.

Habitat and Environment

Meishan pigs are commonly found in mild climate areas. They are not picky or difficult to maintain and could thrive almost anywhere as long as the weather doesn’t do them any harm.

Natural habitat

A Meishan pig’s natural habitat is similar to other common pigs.

In general, the wild habitat for most pigs generally moist forests, swamps and woodlands, especially oak forests and regions where seeds are abundant.


All pigs especially small to medium breeds like Meishan pigs will prefer to inhabit places with favorable climate. Although they function better under mild or cool temperatures, they can still be sensitive to severe cold or extreme heat.

These pigs are prey animals and also need to be kept away from possible predators. If they have a wide space to graze outside, there must be fences to keep out animals like wolves, coyotes or even regular stray dogs.

Most pigs are sensitive to harsh weather conditions and thus must be protected from extreme heat and severe cold. They must be shielded from rain and any kind of storms.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Every animal including humans have its own imperfections. All pets will have its own pros and cons. Meishan pigs may have more pros than cons itself and we will explain it with firm details.

Low maintenance Slow growth
Good mothering skills Abundant fat
Gentle, peaceful animals Not as active as other animals


1. Low maintenance

Yes, these Meishan pigs are very easy to take care of.

They are not high maintenance because they are not picky eaters, they don’t demand big spaces like other pigs and they are immune to certain diseases and have natural foraging skills which allow them to find their own food outdoors.

Pigs have what we call a “stomach of steel” which means they can eat almost anything without getting sick from it.

However, just because they can eat anything including junk, doesn’t mean we should feed them with just anything. Certain food can still be harmful to their health and will weaken their immune system.

And since they don’t tend to run away or break free from farms or their living areas, there are fewer expenses when putting up fences to keep these pigs within your sight!

As long as they are provided with a stable shelter, enough food, water and protection from possible predators, they can thrive on their own and only sleeps most of the day.

2. Good mothering skills

Given with their ability to give birth to 22 piglets at max, farmers can benefit from it as the mother Meishan pig can raise and care for the piglets without causing accidents.

Accidents such as unconsciously sitting on the piglet or choking them almost never happen with a Meishan pig. They can feed their babies efficiently as well.

A pig with good mothering skills is usually good for nursing other orphaned animals like kittens and puppies. There are several rescuers that own pigs and the pigs can volunteer as foster mothers.

3. Gentle, peaceful animals

When threatened, a Meishan pig would rather run away and hide than fight for their lives. There is no reported case of a person attacked by a Meishan pig.

As much as I tried to look for cases of attacks even to fellow pigs and animals, these pigs are always firmly described as peaceful and gentle. They have never attacked or harm others.

This means that they can be amazing companions as they will never hurt you, so in return, we must never hurt them too.


1. Slow growth

Some farmers prefer to raise breeds that grow faster in order to have faster terms of income. This is completely understandable and this is why the slow growth of Meishan pigs is unfavorable to most.

However, they become ready for reproduction at 2 to 3 months of age compared to most breeds which makes up for the lack of growth speed.

Despite the early fertility stage, Meishan pigs still have high success rates of birth with a high number of liters (piglets).

2. Abundant fat

Another reason why they are unfavorable to some farmers is their abundant fat. They must properly fed even though they are not picky as they easily develop fat which does not serve much use anymore.

3. Not as active as other animals

Owners sometimes prefer animals that are lively and active. This means that they may find extremely docile, quiet or peaceful animals like Meishan pigs a boring animal.

However, this is completely situational and not really a downside for Meishan pigs.


  • How much is a Meishan pig?

Meishan pigs are treated as a rare breed and extremely threatened animal which is why getting your hands on one may be expensive or difficult.

There is no known price for Meishan pigs that are for sale and most of them are possibly mixed breeds.

To provide a possible amount, the closest price we can conclude is around $300 and can get up to $800 depending on the age and gender. Females are usually more expensive.

Prices may also differ depending on your breeder and area.

A friendly reminder: Always seek a reputable breeder for a safe and secured transaction.

  • Is it legal to raise endangered pigs?

The population condition of a specific breed can greatly affect the legality of owning them but in general, owning any kind of pig often requires a license which means getting registered and legalized.

Most areas in the UK and in the US require registration and licensing pigs regardless if they are being raised as livestock or kept as pets.

Rare breeds, special breeds or endangered breeds may require special licenses or additional requirements.

To get the most updated detail about keeping a pig in your area, the best step to take is to visit your local animal welfare offices or give them a call. Laws and policies may differ for every state or area.

If you want to learn more about legalizing your pig, you can read our article about it here.