There's one thing most people know about pigs: they are messy as hell. In times past, in some rural 3rd-world areas, pigs would even consume the waste from the outhouse.note This Animal Stereotype is so prominent, it lead to pigs being almost invariably portrayed as filthy dirt-lovers.
Actually, pigs are instinctively clean animals, but their habit of rooting the ground and rolling in whatever moisture is available creates messy results in confined spaces. Despite not having that much hair, pigs aren't able to sweat, meaning that they have to roll around in cool and damp places frequently to prevent themselves from suffering heatstroke. Also, thanks to their omnivorous instinct to probe and explore everything around them for traces of food, pigs love to make a mess by chewing things to bits and rooting around in the pieces. Rotten wood, sofa cushions, or especially straw are bound to wind up in a million tiny fragments when a pig can get at them. For a human observer, such behavior creates a strong impression of a messy, dirty, unhygienic animal.
There is also quite a common subversion of this trope: when the pig is obsessively clean, proper and hygienic, in a somewhat exaggerated way. Note that to count as a subversion, the pig shouldn't just be clean; tidiness should be one of the main defining traits of its personality.
There's also the so-called Babe Syndrome: the tendency of city folk who have never seen a live pig in the flesh to think that pigs are small and cute and pink and make good pets. While pigs are very intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and such, the average barnyard porker isn't particularly cuddly. They can also weigh up to a few hundred pounds and occasionally be quite aggressive. There are a few breeds bred specifically as pets, such as pot-bellied pigs, but even these require specialized care that most people cannot meet.
For non-porcine characters who are messy as pigs, see The Pig-Pen. For another common pig-related trope, see Gluttonous Pig (and its Darker and Edgier subtrope, Fed to Pigs). For a trope related to boars, pigs' big and scary cousins, see Full-Boar Action.
- Played for Laughs in ElfQuest: Shards. The tunnel Ekuar creates in an attempt to penetrate the Djun's palace ends up emerging inside a pigsty. When Drub the troll pokes his head out to investigate, the very first thing he spies is a pig's backside at extremely close range.
- In Astro City story "Pastoral", Cammie sends an email to a friend in the city with a comment about how unpleasant real pigs are.
- Dennis the Menace (UK): Rasher, Dennis's pet pig, spends most of his time wallowing in mud, occasionally with sufficient force to send large waves of it towards other characters. He also eats large amounts of garbage.
- Pig from the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. While he may be messy, or not the sharpest tool in the shed, he's actually one of the nicest characters in the strip.
- Invoked in U.S. Acres when Roy asked Orson why pigs were so messy, and he gestured at the mudhole and said "We bathe every day!" While this is Played for Laughs, it's true; mud-bathing does keep pigs clean.
- The Lion King: Pumbaa, though he's only smelly and farts/burps a lot. Then again, he's a warthog, not a domestic pig. You should call him ''Mr.'' Pig.
- The Shaun the Sheep movie show us how messy the Pigs are when unsupervised once the Farmer is missing and the Pigs took his house. Of course when they see the Farmer coming back they have to clean all their mess quickly and Hilarity Ensues.
- Pulp Fiction
Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got sense enough to disregard its own feces.
- Though not really the (dead) pigs' fault, the carcass-grinding Vat-of-Guts trap in Saw III, which threatened to drown a man in macerated, decomposing hog residue, was one of the more revolting mechanisms in the series.
- Gouger, Snouter, Rooter, and Tusker, who pull the Hogfather's sleigh.
- The Hogfather himself was described as intensely smelly while in pig form, too.
- Quadroped, the main character in the awesome children's book The Pig, The Prince and the Unicorn. Is constantly being chastised for being messy by everyone else in the book, but especially by a pretentious anal-retentive eel.
- In On Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill defends the philosophy of utilitarianism from the attack that it is a "doctrine of swine", i.e. maybe it's okay for pigs to live according to pleasure and pain alone, but not human beings.
- While Piglet from Winnie-the-Pooh is much less messy than other examples, it is still made clear in one story that he Hates Baths.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, the Heffleys win a baby pig at a fair, and are forced to keep it to avoid insulting the people running the fair. The pig ends up causing a lot of trouble and messes, culminating in the family leaving the pig at a petting zoo. Much to Manny's displeasure, since he and the pig had bonded at first sight. Circumstances eventually reunite the pig with the family, and they end up accepting it as a pet. The pig turns out to be pretty intelligent, since it only takes a few days for Greg's mother Susan to housebreak it. It even somehow figures out how to use the television remote.
- Edward Gets Messy is a picture book about a pig named Edward who always does everything he can to keep clean and avoid getting messy or dirty until one day, through no fault of his own, he gets covered in paint and discovers that it isn't the end of the world. After that, he starts doing stuff like participating in sports even if it gets him muddy because he knows he can always clean up at the end of the day by taking a bath.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys:
- Aphrodite transforms a pig into a woman. She still think like a pig and dove into the mud in one scene.
- The episode before that has Hercules turned into a pig and he rolls in a mud puddle.
- Piggies by The Beatles, as seen in the page quote.
- In C.W. McCall's "Convoy", Rubber Duck repeatedly complains about the odor of Pig Pen's truckload of hogs, insisting that the other trucker keep well ahead of him to minimize exposure.
- Pigs are considered "unclean" animals [for eating] in Judaism and Islam. There are several theories for why:
- The prohibition relates to the propensity of pigs to harbor trichinella worms, which cause painful muscle disease and can only be killed through thorough cooking, which (goes the theory) was not always possible in ancient times. Whether this is God protecting His people with His timeless wisdom or cultural wisdom being reinforced by (supposed) word of God is entirely a matter of faith. This theory, however, doesn't hold up to more-recent archaeological evidence.
- The prohibition relates to the way of life of the Hebrews and Arabs. Both peoples originated in the desert and remained, for the most part, in arid climates, i.e. places where human vegetable food is scarce. Cattle, sheep, and goats do not eat human vegetable food, but pigs do; therefore, keeping pigs is wasteful and ought to be avoided. Contemporary scholars favor this theory.
- The prohibition is to set Jews/Muslims apart from their neighbors. While this is likely for Judaism (a common theory goes that the point of all Kashrut is to keep Jews separated from the Gentiles), it's less likely for Islam (which, for one thing, is a proselytizing religion, and for another thing, allows — even encourages — mixing with the other "Peoples of the Book"/monotheists).
- The prohibition is basically inscrutable, because believers must obey God no matter what. This is a common position among rabbis and some Muslim scholars.
- Pork goes bad more quickly than other meats, and when you live in a very hot climate, long before the advent of the refrigerator, avoiding pork is sound practice, especially as pigs offer few other products or services except garbage disposal.
- This tradition can also be traced back to the Old Testament period of The Bible, notably the Book of Leviticus, which stated that several animals are considered unclean, including pig. This is abandoned in the New Testament, which states all foods to be edible and heavily condemns sects which forbids the consumption of some foods, notably in the Book of Timothy.
- Inverted in the case of Hamo from GoGo's Crazy Bones. The character's bio says that he has a reputation for being dirty, but is obsessed with being clean.
- Pey'j, Jade's lovably obnoxious pig uncle from Beyond Good & Evil. He's the designated fount of lowbrow humor (such as powering his Jet-Boots with farts).
- The Rashberry species in Viva Piñata. Their house is covered in mud, and eat rotten food. And when you cross-romance them with their polar opposite — the perfect, dainty Swanana — you get something completely different.
- The villains of Mother 3 are based around pigs. They wear pig suits, their symbol is a pig snout, and their capital is even called "New Pork City". They're dirty because they wreak havok on the flora and fauna.
- In the comic book included with Hogs of War, an early panel depicts a family of pigs at home before they have joined the army; the living room floor is covered with small piles of excrement. A later panel depicts the pigs about to parachute behind enemy lines; one of them says that he needs to use the toilet, but the sergeant says "You don't use the toilet! You're a pig! You do it on the floor and roll around in it! We all do!"
- The Warrens of Darkest Dungeon are filled with malicious man-sized pigs (and the occasional boar) living in their own filth and the remains of humans they've eaten. Justified in that they only physically resemble pigs; they are actually fleshy confines for creatures beyond understanding, who don't particularly care about their cleanliness.
- Rocko's Modern Life: In "Unbalanced Load", Rocko sees all the dirty laundry in his bedroom and complains that the place is a pigsty. An angry pig eating pizza responds (in a distinct New Jersey accent) "You got a problem with that?" and is kicked out by Rocko.
- The pig-people from the Invader Zim episode "Gaz, Taster of Pork". Dib has to be used as their toilet brush and heaven knows when the last time their communal toilet was scrubbed!
- 2 episodes of the 1999 version of Woody Woodpecker on Fox Kids features a pig character as an antagonist.
- Meg kissed a pig on one episode of Family Guy.
- Tiny Toon Adventures:
- Normally averted with Mabel's pet pig Waddles on Gravity Falls. However, when a "Freaky Friday" Flip swaps the minds of Soos and Waddles, Soos goes out and finds a mud puddle; "Do I dare live out the cliché?"
- Generally averted in Peppa Pig, except for the Running Gag that "everyone likes jumping in muddy puddles".
- In one episode of Ivick Von Salza: The Little Lumberjack, Malta decides to relax in a mud puddle, but refuses to wash the mud off afterwards. Ivick and Vigoras spend the episode trying to bathe her, but to no avail. In the end, Malta becomes clean after she falls into a puddle.
- Zigzagged Trope in Creature Comforts: the defining personality trait of one pig character is germophobia, but he's generally shown in a muddy sty and covered in swill, the comedy coming from the contrast to what he's saying.