Boy Pig or Girl Pig? How to tell the difference at a Glance
Barrow: A neutered male
Boar: an intact male
Gilt: a female that has never had babies
Sow: a female that has given birth
Potential pig peopleoften want to know whether male or female
pigs make the best pets. The answer is that it doesn't matter as
long as the pig was spayed or neutered before puberty. Unspayed
females have strong mood swings, especially around the time they
come into heat, and un-neutered males smell very bad among other
You'd think it would be easy to tell at a glance whether a pig is
a male or a female but it isn't always that easy. There is a
condition called Cryptorchidism (often caused by inbreeding) in
which the genitals of the male pig look like just a couple of
patches of dried up mud. In cases of Cryptorchidism the male's
testicles never drop down and it makes the testicles inaccessible
for simple neutering.
Neutering of pigs with Chrytordism must be done surgically, which
is higher in cost and has a higher risk to the pig. Usually a pig
with Cryptorchidism will have to be four months old before a
veterinarian will neuter it. But of course they must be neutered
and sows that bear Cryptorchids should be spayed to prevent
passing on the health problems to the offspring.
You can tell if a pig is a male or a female by
noticing from which part of the body the urine is coming. The
stream comes from the rear end under the tail it is a
female. It comes from the belly between the legs if the pig is a
So, although you no doubt want to know the gender of your pet pig,
if for no other reason than to avoid naming a nice boy pig "Sue,"
if you make sure that your pig is spayed or neutered at about two
months old its gender won't matter much except for the naming thing.
If you do plan to breed your pig, research, research, research
and make sure that you really have a good reason to do so and
that you know what you are doing. The pet rescues are filling up
with pigs that were bought on impulse or silliness, and since
pigs bond to their owners and herd members more than nearly any
other animal does, it is cruelty to produce more pigs that may go
unloved when there are already so many piggies that need homes.
Keeping Pigs as Pets