Normally, people use different terms such as pig and hog to describe a species of the porcine family. Though the two words are normally used interchangeably, they do not have the same meaning. So, what’s the difference between a hog and a pig, and why some people, especially farmers and hunters are more technical about their usage of these terms to identify pigs? Let’s check it out.
What’s the difference between a hog and a pig?
The first difference between the two is with regard to the age of the animal. In America, the pig is used to call a swine that is young and usually domesticated. Therefore, if you know that a swine is quite young, just a few years old, you know it is a pig and not a hog. Conversely, a hog is used to describe an older swine that are more than a few years old.
This difference is very confusing because it is a bit vague to say few years old or greater than a few years old. How many years does this refer to? The answer can be different for various people.
Size and Weight
A better way to differentiate a hog and a pig is based on their size and weight. In the United States and most parts of the world, a hog is generally a term used for a large domestic swine that is more than 120 pounds (which is equivalent to 50 kilograms). On the other hand, pigs are comparatively lighter and smaller and weigh less than 120 pounds.
This difference is clearer than the previous one as there is a benchmark from which to compare the weight and then conclude which swine is a hog and which is a pig.
But this is not the case everywhere, for example, in Great Britain, the term pig refers to all domesticated swine while the term hog is used to call a male pig that has been castrated (had part of its sex organs removed)
Hogs are also described to have stocky bodies, small eyes, short and slender legs, long and pointed heads, short necks, large ears, and a flat snout while pigs have short legs, bristly hair, cloven hooves, a cartilaginous snout.
Hogs are usually classified as domestic or wild swine. It is a classification that includes the domesticated pig and some other wild species of swine such as boar and the warthog, forest hog.
On the other hand, pigs are only referred to as domestic animals.
Farmers also call a swine a hog or a pig based on whether it’s ready to be slaughtered or not. If a swine on the farm is not yet ready for being slaughtered, it is a pig; and any swine that is being or will be slaughtered is a hog.
Commercial point of view
It is also possible to differentiate the two from a commercial point of view. When the term pig is used, it normally refers to the swine that are not ready to be sold into the market because it lacks meat content. In contrast, if the word hog is used, it refers to the swine that are ready to be sold in the market. Therefore, it can be said that pigs are the swine that are still on the farm, whereas hogs are the swine that are being sold to be slaughtered.
Ultimately, the difference between a hog and a pig is subtle and people use these terms a little differently and interchangeably. However, some people tend to use the specific terms for swine depending on whether it’s domesticated or not and which stage in life the animal is in.
No matter what people decide to call them, a hog or a pig, they are all can be made into delicious pork chops.