Pigs vs Boars: What is the Difference?

Ever heard someone calling a pig boar? Every got confused if pigs can “really” be called boars? Well, you might have. To be honest, pigs and boars are the two different terms we use for pigs. Still, there must be a reason why some pigs are called pigs whereas, others are referred to as boars.

It’s time to clear our doubts and find out what makes a pig “pig” and what makes a “pig” boar. To be able to compare these creatures, allow us to introduce them differently first.

Table of Contents

Pig

Pigs are the most beloved animal of the Suidae family. They are most commonly known as hogs, swine, and pigs whereas their scientific name is Sus.

The male pigs are referred to as boars whereas the females are called Sows, no matter how old male or female is, they would be boars or Sows. 

There are two kinds of pigs; wild and domestic ones. Both wild and domestic pigs are widely distributed in the whole world.

Though pigs have been domesticated and farmed almost everywhere in the world the majority of the pig population is found in China, European Union, United States, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and Japan.

China is the top pig producer, as per the 2020 estimate almost 67. 62% of the total world’s pig population was surviving there. 

Pigs are super useful for humans and fellow animals. They reward us with several valuable products like lard, leather, glue, fertilizer, and pork. However, they are also used in cosmetics, medicines, and processed food. 

Pigs are omnivores by nature, they can eat and digest all sorts of foods; meat and plants. The wild pigs are more into leaves, roots, fruits, flowers, fish, and insects.

Whereas, the overly pampered domestic and farmed pigs are another case. They farmed pigs eat all sorts of food from food scraps, soybean meal, corn, plants to meat.

The domestic ones however get to eat vegetables and conventional mini pig pellet feed. 

Pigs are playful, sensitive, friendly, and super intelligent. They have a habit of forming close bonds with humans and fellow animals.

Because of their social nature, pigs make great pets. The said animal is known for its playful habits of playing footballs, enjoying massages, and loving music. Pigs prefer living in groups, if left alone they die of loneliness. 

Boars

Boars or Wild Boars are the wild members of the pig species Sus Scrofa. They belong to the same family as pigs; Suidae.

Boars are known and recognized by several names including; wild pig, Eurasian wild pigs, common wild pigs, wild swine, or simply boars. 

The wild boars, despite living in the wild, have an impressive history of association with humans. Several domestic pigs have been an outcome of cross-breeding wild boars.

The Wild boars have also been intentionally cross-bred with a few domestic breeds to obtain Boar-pig hybrids.

The boar-pig hybrids are now being seriously raised as house pets in Australia and America. 

The true wild boars became extinct long ago even before the development of modern English. We have now started referring to both true wild boars and the wild pigs as wild boars, Eurasian wild pigs, common wild pigs, wild swine, or simply boars.

The few livestock keepers also have a habit of calling male pigs “boars”, especially the pigs that have not been castrated.

The hunters have given the different designation to boars; the 0 to 10 months olds are squeaker, 10 to 12 months juvenile, 2 years old pig of sounder, 3 to 5 years old boar of 4th/5th/6th year, six years old boar, and seven years and over grand old boars. 

The wild boar records are a bit doubtful, however, the MtDNA studies indicate that the Eurasian wild pigs or wild boars have originated from Indonesia and the Philippines.

pigs-and-boars

Besides the places of origin, the wild boars have now been widely distributed to Eurasia and North Africa. A countable number of wild boars are also found in Asia and Europe. 

The ancestor of most big meat breeds wild boar is bulky and has been blessed with a large head, small deep-set eyes, well-developed canine teeth, short robust trunk, massively build suid, short thick nearly immobile neck, and large elongated hooves.

The wild boars have a well-developed smell, acute hearing, weak eyesight that lacks color vision. As the wild boars are exceptionally large and heavy, the males weigh around 165 to 220 lbs whereas, females can weigh as low as 110 lbs. 

Now that our readers have got an idea of what wild boars and pigs are, we are in the right place to compare these two animals. So, let’s find out how these two closely related animals are different?

Pigs vs Boars

Still, to be able to compare or understand the difference between boars or pigs you need to understand the terms we use for pigs. Frankly, we use a lot of terms; like swine, hogs, cow, pigs, and boar. “Swine” and “pig” are the two generic terms we use for pigs of all kinds.

A big old pig is commonly known as a hog, the sow is an adult female pig, the wild pigs, and the domestic non-castrated male pigs are referred to as boars. 

So for the record, the boars are wild pigs. They are the ancestors of the biggest domestic pig breeds. If we compare these domestic pigs and wild boars here is what we find out;

  • The domestic pigs are subspecies of Sus Scrofa whereas, the wild boars are the species of Sus Scrofa. 
  • Wild pigs or boars have bristlier thicker coats whereas, domestic fellas have a ridge of hair running down the back.
  • The tails are noticeably different as well, boars have short hairy tails whereas, the domestic ones have longer straighter tails.
  • The wild boars are larger and heavier, the big domestic pig breeds are also fairly large and heavy but it’s still a bit shorter and less heavier than the boars.
  • The domestic pig breeds appear neater and cleaner whereas, the other case is messier.
  • The boars can either have black or dark gray color. On the other hand, domestic pig breeds usually have white, pink, and black coats.

These were the few differences we found upon comparing the wild boar and domestic pigs. If we compare boars and pigs as wild and domestic animals we would say; these animals live in two breathtakingly different environments.

The boars do not live under the direct influence of humans whereas, the domestic pigs live under human care. In the end despite the different lifestyles and physical differences, wild boars and pigs are both pigs.

So, it’s quite useless to compare as there are not any impressive differences. If all domestic pig breeds do not appear identical how would the wild and domestic breeds be similar? The only legitimate difference is that one is domestic whereas the other one is wild.

Resources

  • Usman Aslam has done his degree in Agronomy and Animal breeding from the CAU (China Agriculture University). He is serving as a livestock expert in local farms.

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