Breed Profile: Kunekune Pig

In America, the short-legged, short-bodied Kunekune pig is commonly thought of as a pet.

Kunekune Pig

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

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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.