Breed Profile: Kunekune Pig

In America, the short-legged, short-bodied Kunekune pig is commonly thought of as a pet.
By Sue Weaver
January 24, 2014
Add to My MSN

The Kunekune is a diminutive, short-legged, short-bodied pig with a short- to medium-length upturned snout, wattles (also called tassels or piri piri by Kunekune breeders), and small, semi-lopped or upright ears.
Photo by Peter Worth/Alamy

Content Tools

Related Content

Piglets and Chicks, Oh My!

The arrival of our first chickens and pigs to the farm, and prepping to head off to my summer intern...

For Your Nighttime Viewing Pleasure

Build a reflecting telescope to enjoy the nighttime celstial show.

For the Beekeeping Newbees!

Encouragement for new beekeepers who may be confused and overwhelmed about all the conflicting advic...

Pigs For the Summer

Keeping feeder pigs over the summer is a good way to use garden leftovers and produce great tasting ...

Homegrown Pork (Storey Publishing, 2013) by Sue Weaver guides you through the process of choosing a flavorful pig breed and instructs you on formulating a proper diet and providing safe and comfortable living quarters for your backyard animal. The following breed profile for the Kunekune pig is from chapter 4, “Breeds.”

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Homegrown Pork

Kunekune Pig

Type: Pork (though too small to be considered modern meat)

Origin: New Zealand

Color: Black, black and white, white, gold, tan, and brown

Size: Small

Conservation Status: Not applicable

Description: The Kunekune is a diminutive, short-legged, short-bodied pig with a short- to medium-length upturned snout, wattles (also called tassels or piri piri by Kunekune breeders), and small, semi-lopped or upright ears. It has short- to medium-length, straight or curly hair.

While most Americans consider Kunekunes pet pigs, the breed is indeed a first-class porker. Introduced to New Zealand in the early 1800s by nineteenth-century whalers and traders, this little pig was raised by the Maori people for meat. The word kunekune in Maori means “fat and round.” However, by the 1980s, only about fifty purebred Kunekunes remained in New Zealand. Wildlife park owners Michael Willis and John Simister initiated a conservation program. This in turn led to additional recovery efforts. The breed no longer faces extinction, with breed societies in New Zealand, Britain, and the North America.

The Kunekune is said to root less than other breeds. Pigs are hardy, good-natured, peerless foragers that take up little space, making them ideal for raising grass-fed pork by families that prefer small, succulent cuts of tasty meat.

Learn about other breeds featured in Homegrown Pork:

Breed Profile: Hereford Hog
Breed Profile: Tamworth Hog

Reprinted with permission from Homegrown Pork: Humane, Healthful Techniques for Raising a Pig for Food by Sue Weaver and published by Storey Publishing, 2013. Buy this book from our store: Homegrown Pork.

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.