Kune Kune Pig

Wild Status:

Least Concern

Scientific Name:

Sus scrofa scrofa kunekune


New Zealand but now Worldwide


The kunekune is believed to have descended from an Asian domestic breed introduced to New Zealand in the early 19th century by whalers or traders. They differ markedly from the feral pig of European origin known in New Zealand as a "Captain Cooker". The native Máori people of New Zealand adopted kunekune: the word kunekune means "fat and round" in the Māori language.


By the 1980s only an estimated 50 purebred kunekune remained. Michael Willis and John Simister, wildlife-park owners, started a breeding recovery program, which in turn encouraged other recovery efforts. As of 2010 the breed no longer faces extinction, with breed societies in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom.


The natural habitat for kunekune is woodland and pasture. They love being outdoors and are suitable for a range of climates.


The kunekune is covered in hair which can be long or short, and straight or curly. Hair colours include black, brown, ginger, gold, cream and spotted combinations. It has a medium to short snout and either semi-lopped or pricked ears. It has a short, round body with short legs and two tassels (called piri piri) under its chin. The kunekune stands about 60 cm (24 inches) tall.

The resident Kunekune at The Jungle Zoo was previously a ‘rescued’ house pet but after becoming too large and boisterous we were approached and asked to give him a home.

This breed of pig is often sold for sale as a ‘Micro pig’. This term is very misleading as the Kunekune, although much smaller than most pig species, can still attain a very large size.

The rising popularity of this breed as a pet has contributed to many individuals being kept in poor ‘domestic’ conditions, often resulting in animals being abandoned or poorly treated.

The Jungle Zoo cannot condone the keeping of pigs as domestic pets, as many households simply cannot offer the level of care and dedication needed for this intelligent, powerful and demanding animal.