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7 pet fads through the decades

Oct. 3, 2013, 1:54 p.m.
Vietnamese potbellied pig Otis at Central Park Zoo

Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images (main and inset)

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Vietnamese potbellied pigs, 1980s-'90s

During the Reagan and Clinton administrations, it seemed that everybody knew somebody who kept a Vietnamese potbellied pig as a pet. Explained a breeder to the Philadelphia Daily News in a trend piece from the beginning of the potbellied pig boom, 1989: “It's really the first real pet to come around since the dog, cat and bird. Yuppies like 'em. If you've got an alligator on your shirt and a BMW in your driveway, the next thing you need is a Vietnamese potbellied pig.”

Vietnamese potbellied pig Otis at Central Park ZooAs it turns out, a fair number of these somebodies were oblivious to the fact that even “miniature” pigs can grow into rather large adults. Exhibit A: These photos show the same Vietnamese potbellied pig, a hefty fella named Otis at the Central Park Zoo. In the photo at right he is a 3-month-old cutie in 2004. At left he's grown up a bit after only three years.