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Pig named Sue shows agility isn't just for dogs

July 22, 2009 |  5:19 pm

We first told you a few months ago about a pig named Sue whose penchant for agility courses has been raising eyebrows in his native England.  (Yes, "his"; Sue is a male pig, named for the Shel Silverstein song "A Boy Named Sue.")  Since then, he's taken his training to a new level -- he practices agility and other behaviors every day and his owner, Wendy Scudamore, plans to take his act on the road, exhibiting at livestock shows to show just how smart pigs can be.

Sue is a Kunekune pig, a breed known for its ugly mug and raised by Scudamore at her Herefordshire farm.  Scudamore's 12-year-old daughter Lucy trains her dog on an agility course they've set up at the farm, and Sue began to mimic the dog's moves when he realized it was receiving treats.  And, it turns out, Sue is a natural, navigating ramps, tunnels and other obstacles with ease.  He's even shown interest in herding the sheep that also live on Scudamore's farm, causing many observers to speculate that he could become a real-life "Babe."

The comparison to the fictional sheep-herding pig isn't lost on Scudamore, who told ZooToo, "I love that line: 'that’ll do pig, that’ll do pig.' I thought, I must keep trying to remember to say that to him."  Still, she acknowledged, Sue will probably never be "quite as clever as Babe, but it’s a nice thought."  (Babe, fictional character though he may be, is certainly a tough act to follow.)

Sue was originally intended to be used for breeding, but an unfortunate misunderstanding at the vet's office left him neutered.  (That's a big "oops.")  Sue was in the market for a new career; with his natural ability and eagerness to please, agility seemed like the perfect option.  Scudamore hopes to make Sue an ambassador of sorts for the Kunekune breed, which is native to New Zealand and was in danger of extinction as recently as the 1980s.  (See more video of Sue in action at ZooToo.)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: uzoouk via YouTube

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