The Göttingen minipig, also known as the Göttinger, is a domestic breed of miniature pig that was developed in Europe for the purpose of biomedical research. Using pigs in medical research has been popular for centuries, as they show many similarities to the human anatomy. This breed of pig was developed by crossing the Vietnamese potbelly pig with the Minnesota minipig and was later crossed with the German landrace breed to give it a pink or white skin color. It was made available to German researchers by the 1960’s.
Over the past two decades, the Göttingen minipig has become popular as a research animal throughout the world, reaching the United States in 2003 and Japan in 2010. This breed is bred and managed under the regulations of the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Sciences Associations and health reports can be requested for each colony from their respective barrier-breeding facilities.
The Göttingen minipig is bred to be small and to hold thin ears, as well as to have a low possibility in breeding. Like all pigs, this breed is social and it will form complex social structures that begin when piglets nurse. New groups of pigs will display aggression and fighting when introduced to other groups, but the social structure will typically stabilize within twenty-four to twenty-eight hours. In laboratory settings, domestic pigs act much like wild pigs, requiring social experiences, safety, and toys to encourage their playful behavior.
Image Caption: A young Göttingen Minipig. Credit: Minipigs/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)