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Kunekune facts for kids

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Kunekune at the Hamilton Zoo
Conservation status Rare
Country of origin New Zealand
  • Pig
  • Sus scrofa domesticus

The Kunekune is a small breed of domestic pig from New Zealand. Kunekune are hairy with a rotund build, and may bear wattles hanging from their lower jaws. Their colour ranges from black and white, to ginger, cream, gold-tip, black, brown and tricoloured. They have a docile, friendly nature, and can successfully be kept as pets.


The breed 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 Māori people of New Zealand adopted Kunekune; kunekune is a Māori-language word meaning "fat and round".

By the 1980s, only an estimated 50 purebred Kunekune remained. Michael Willis and John Simister, wildlife-park owners, started a breeding recovery programme, which encouraged other recovery efforts. As of 2010, the breed no longer faces extinction, with breed societies in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In 1993, two were imported into the United States from the UK.


In 2017, a report of Science Daily claimed that Kunekune has remarkable social learning with "astonishingly good memory".


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, slightly upturned snout, often black, and either semilopped or pricked ears. It has a short, round body with short legs and may have two wattles (called piri piri) under its chin. The Kunekune stands about 60 cm (24 in) tall. An adult Kunekune can weigh between 60 and 200 kg (130 and 440 lb), males being considerably heavier than females.

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