Kunekune Pig: Characteristics, Origin, Breed Info and Lifespan


Do you want to know cool secrets about the Kunekune pigs?

If yes, then continue reading this article to find out more about them.

These bright and colourful pigs are not only kept for meat alone but also as great pets.

So, if you wish for a pig breed to fill your home with liveliness and keep your company always.

No doubt you are on the right track reading about the active Kunekune pig breed.

Here, you will get to know what the Kunekune pigs are, their unique features and exactly why they are just the right breed for you and your farm.

Also, we will discuss the reason why people don’t get the Kunekune breed, the origin of the breed and other very useful information about them.

So be sure to finish this article just before you proceed to get the popular Kunekune pigs.

Just towards the end of the article are answers to the frequently asked questions about Kunekune pigs. 

Helpful article:

What is a Kunekune pig?

The Kunekune is a very beautiful breed of domestic pig that is small in size.

Their name Kunekune was coined from the Maori language meaning fat and round.

They are very friendly in nature with good behaviour and easy to teach.

To top their outstanding nature Kunekune pigs have a wide range of colours and are sometimes spotted or even tricoloured.

As such, they make good ornamental animals and great pets to have around.

Kunekune pigs can have short, curly, straight or long hair in different colours.

They have such good quality pork but a reduced quantity because of their small size. 

Kunekune pig breed

What is the origin and history of Kunekune pigs?

The Kunekune pig origin can be traced to the Maori people of New Zealand.

Remember they gave it the name Kunekune also.

Kunekune pig DNA says they are descendants of Asian domestic pig breeds.

But they were later introduced to New Zealand in the early 19 century by traders and whale hunters.

In the late 19 century, the Kunekunes faced extinction with an estimate of 50 pure breeds remaining.

Luckily, a breeding recovery programme was set up by wildlife park owners named Michael Willis and John Simister.

This greatly supported the recovery of the breed which was already at the brink of extinction.

And also, the publicity of Kunekune pigs being a must-have for people who love intelligent, friendly and docile companions.

In recent years, the Kunekune pig breed has now survived well and no longer face extinction threats.

Why choose Kunekune pigs?

This is a question you should keep asking yourself until you get convincing answers to them.

Fortunately, prepared just for you below are good reasons to have the Kunekune pig breed.

1.  They are a very intelligent breed of pigs:

Kunekune pigs are very quick learners who connect with people well with their high IQ.

Pigs in general are considered the smartest domesticated animal, as they show a large number of intelligence traits.

They can be likened to have the intelligence of a human baby as they feel emotions, and understand the concept of reflection.

2. Kunekune pigs are docile, easy to handle and are friendly animals:

The ease that comes with handling these pigs makes them a perfect choice for novice farmers and small scale pig farms.

They are well-mannered pigs, quite easy to train and instruct.

3. Beautiful and ornamental pigs:

They have exciting colours in different combinations and sometimes they come in spotted colours.

Kunekune pigs colour ranges from white, cream, brown ginger, and even black.

Funny enough, pet lovers like their small size as they come in handy.

4. They are social animals and are emotionally sensitive:

These intelligent pigs enjoy Human interaction, form special bonds with owners and even get emotional with their handler.

They understand when they have been warned, hold grudges sometimes and show when they are happy or hurt.

5. They make lively companions and great family pets:

Tell me why would this active and lively animal not make great pets?

So far, I have tried to interest you about the beauty, intelligence and other cool capabilities of the Kunekune pigs.

Their bright variety and different combination of body colours and friendly nature make them really unique.

All this makes the Kunekune pig breed a great pet to have in a family and even around children.

6. Very good foragers:

Though they might not be the best rooting pigs on a field, these pigs will search for their own food and rummage through the pasture.

They eat almost anything like grasses, hay, pig feed, pellets, grains, fruits, vegetables and even insects.

This makes them a smart choice for small scale and backyard farms.

7. They are clean animals: 

Kunekune pigs are not just beautiful animals and also odourless pigs that like their environment clean.

When they have a choice they keep their sleeping area neat and hardly mess it up.

8. The sows of Kunekune pig are good mothers:

Yes, they take good care of their young ones.

Kunekune sows make a good nest by themselves out of grasses hay and branches when they are about to give birth

They produce good milk to support the growth of their litter.

Hence, there is an increase in the survival of the piglets before weaning.

9. Their meats are tasty and delicious:

They have outstanding meat that is fat-rich and really delicious.

Kunekune pigs are thought to be a crossbreed of the Berkshires with the kind of quality and tasty pork they have.


What are the characteristics of Kunekune pigs?

Physical characteristics of Kunekune pigs

1. Size: 

Do not forget, Kunekune simply means fat and round.

This should give vivid descriptions of their size.

Kunekune pigs are small-sized breeds with short round bodies.

For a pig of their size, they have a well-built body with tender and fat-rich muscles.

2. Colour: 

This unique breed of pigs is one of the most colourful pigs we have in the world.

They display such lovely irresistible colour patterns in different combinations.

They come in different varieties which are single-coloured, spotted, and tricoloured.

Their wide range of colours are; white and black, cream and black, ginger, black, cream, gold tip and brown.

3. Head: 

They have small heads with a moderate jowl which grows bigger as they appear.

There are two wattles just under their jawline.

4. Body: 

A Kunekune pig has its body covered with hair that can be long or short, sometimes straight or curly and of a different colour.

Their body structure is neither long nor too deep like other commercial pig breeds because of their size.

5. Ears:

They are a very attentive breed of pigs and a good listener.

Kunekune pigs have standing ears or semi looped ears which look halfway standing.

6. Weight:

The Kunekune pig is one of the smallest breeds of domestic pigs with an average height of 60cm when mature.

When fully mature, they weigh about 60-200kg.

7. Snout:

This breed of heritage pigs has a medium to short upturned snout.

8. Teeth:

They have the kind of dentition well adapted to chewing as with other pigs.

9. Tusks:

All breeds of pigs have tusks of varying sizes, the Kunekune boar have their tusks longer than they sow.

The presence of this tusk doesn’t make them aggressive to all.

10. Hooves and claws:

Their small black hooves help supports the weight of these pigs well.

They have well fitted cloven hoof that makes their movement much easier.

These hooves need trimming once or twice a year.

11. Tail:

Kunekune pigs have short curly tails that help them drive flies away.

Intrinsic characteristics of Kunekune pig breeds

12. Behaviour:

The Kunekune pig breed enjoys interaction with people and they like being played with and brushed.

They are very friendly and are easy to instruct with no sign of aggressive nature.

Their intelligent nature helps them focus well and they get emotional sometimes.

13. Climate adaptability:

Kunekune pigs are adapted to all climates, they are known to adapt well in both cold and hot regions of the world.

14. Growth:

Their growth is depending on the quality and quantity of the pasture made available.  

Generally, they have a moderate slow growth rate, but they have a good weight gain within their first 6 months after birth.

15. Compassionate

Kunekune pigs are smart pigs with high IQ among animals and that’s why they get emotional and show compassion.

They show feelings of being hurt, happy, compassionate and even get moody

16. Breeding/reproduction

Boar 6-7 months to become fertile while the gilt 5 months.

Birth Average of 7 piglets and takes good care of them

Weaning them in six weeks, and they are ready to

17. Meat quality

Kunekune pigs fatten nicely even when they are fed with just grasses.

Their pork is considered nicer than the commercial breed as they have a good ratio of meat to fat.


What is the lifespan of Kunekune pigs?

These slow-growing animals with late sexual maturity can live up to 9 years.

They get weaned at about 6 weeks old and reach market size within 6 months.

The Kunekune boar becomes fertile 5-7 months after birth and gilts can get pregnant after 5 months.

What is the habitat and environment of Kunekune pigs?

Kunekune pigs thrive in a wide range of environments and harsh climatic conditions.

They are widespread over cold climates as much especially in warm climates around the world.

These guys love being out-door most times or on a pasture and do sleep out in the open and in clusters to keep themselves warm.

How much space do Kunekune pigs need?

Kunekune pigs are most comfortable in wide-open spaces on open fields.

They require a lot of space to keep them because they love to play around, forage and are used to being kept in an extensive system.

These interesting pigs are also gradually getting adapted to staying in smaller confinements like gardens and spacious backyards.

What are the disadvantages of rearing Kunekune pigs?

Here are some of the disadvantages of getting the Kunekune pigs for your farm.

1. Their small size put off farmers interested in the large scale production for its quality meat:

Have you been looking for that commercial pig breed that has such quality meat with large deep sides with bulky bacon and pork?

Then, can assure you that Kunekune pigs are not your type.

Not only do they have moderately slow growth but some farmers find their small size as a con to the breed.

2. They require adequate space to live and grow:

Like I said earlier you have got to have enough space to accommodate pigs.

The amount of spacing required by Kunekune pigs depends on age and productivity.

3. The Kunekune pigs are slow-growing pigs that reach sexual maturity late:

The pure breed Kunekune pigs take their time when it comes to mating and might not be good for farms Hoping to commercialise them quickly.

Kunekune boar gets fertile after 6-7 months but they usually do not start mating immediately.

Their gilt and sow sometimes feel reluctant to mate with the young matured boar though they mature in 5 months and can get pregnant afterwards.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kunekune Pigs

Are Kunekune pigs good for meat?

Know that pigs raised in free-range and more organic ways are usually of good quality standards.

Kunekune pork is of good quality and are tasty and delicious meat but are lacking a bit in quantity because of their size.

As such, they are a pretty good small pig breed for meat if only you don’t mind their funny size.

Can Kunekune pigs be trained as pets? 

The Kunekune pig is well known for being a good pet pig breed.

They are animals that are intelligent, obedient and very easy to instruct.

What are Kunekune pigs known for?

The most common reasons why the Kunekune breed are so well known are their lovely colourful varieties and impressive personal charm which makes them a good pet

Also, they have such quality pork to offer when well kept.

How old does a Kunekune pig have to be to breed?

The Kunekune sow can start breeding after five months as they have certainly reached maturity by then.

While the boar usually takes a longer time.

What do Kunekune pigs eat?

Kunekune pigs have a long list of dishes and feeds they enjoy because they feed on both plants and animals.

They have the ability to fatten up on grasses and hay alone and can even survive easily on limited feed and grow on low feed input.

Overfeeding  Kunekune leads to various poor health so does underfeed them.

So, they don’t need to be overfed to fatten them up as they grow well on proper diets of different grasses, hays, and other pig feed.

How fast do Kunekune pigs grow?

Their growth and development is rather slow as the lag

Boar fertile in 6-7months sow pregnant 5 months.

How big will Kunekune pigs get?

They have an average height and weight of 60cm and 100 -175 pounds respectively and the boars do get bigger to above 250 pounds.

Are Kunekune pigs good for crossbreeding?

Not all the Kunekune pigs you’ll find are pure breed, Kunekune boars are used for crossing other breeds.

Some have been bred to enhance certain qualities which the breeder desires.


Kunekune pigs are very good options for your small farms in need of small safe and commercial pigs.

They are also great options if you aim at producing your own quality meat as they are easy-going pigs you can easily handle.

This breed of pigs might lack in size, growth and maturity.

Nevertheless, impressive qualities like their quality meat, catchy colours, and attractive behaviours make them a fantastic choice to keep.


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