“A cat looks down upon a man, and a dog looks up to a man, but a pig will look a man in the eye and see his equal.” ~Winston Churchill
Pigs don’t get enough credit. As one of the most intelligent animals, they are more well known for their love of mud than for their remarkable learning and problem solving abilities.
The International Journal of Comparative Psychology writes, in their study, Thinking Pigs: A Comparative Review of Cognition, Emotion, and Personality in Sus domesticus:
“What is known suggests that pigs are cognitively complex and share many traits with animals whom we consider intelligent.”
Donald Broom, Professor of Animal Welfare at University of Cambridge Veterinary School, who has been conducting mirror reflection tests with pigs, says:
“Pigs have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly [more so than] three-year-olds.”
Check out this research study about the intelligence of pigs versus young children:
Pigs are part of the order Artiodactyla, or even-toed ungulates. They share this order with cattle, sheep, goats, camels, deer, giraffes and hippopotamuses.
Despite the commonly used expression “sweating like a pig,” pigs actually do not have sweat glands. They regularly bathe in water and wallow in mud in order to prevent overheating. The mud covering their bodies also offers protection from flies and helps to prevent sunburn. Pigs are naturally very hygienic animals and have designated sites for going to the bathroom, far from their sleeping and feeding areas. Domesticated pigs can also be trained to use a litter box.
Pigs are social creatures and have complex emotions, including empathy. In a study at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, researchers wanted to see if the pigs would show ‘emotional contagion’ (sharing the emotional response someone else is having) toward other pigs in their pen. They found that the pigs did indeed react to the behavior of the other pigs. You can read more about this study here.
Newcastle University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development found that pigs can feel if the glass is half empty or half full, just like humans. This is highly dependent on the living conditions however, as hogs kept in comfortable, safe pens were more likely to respond positively to a new experience than those in less stimulating pens.
At NumberBarn, The Pig is our mascot and we’re proud of it. Sure, the word “pig” has some negative connotations, and we’re not ignorant to that. We just prefer to focus on the positive aspects of having a pig as our mascot. We’re proud to feature an intelligent, empathetic and absolutely adorable creature on our website, email and social media. In fact, every employee at our company is given a stuffed pig to keep with them and we share these travel photos on our Instagram.