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Info on KuneKunes

KuneKune Pigs are an amazing breed, and we are dedicated to bringing you the info on KuneKunes so that you can learn.

About KuneKunes page is general care and information

The articles on the first page dig a bit deeper into raising KuneKunes and this page is an in-depth selection of articles and terminology. See below a brief COI article and under that is an in-depth article about COIs and how they can help you improve your herd.

Info on KuneKunes

Learn more about KuneKunes with more info on KuneKunes to help you be a successful KuneKune Breeder.

Education on the Business End of Raising KuneKune Pigs.

Learn more info on KuneKunes the factors that go into KuneKune pricing and how much you can expect to pay.

Empower yourself in learning about Raising KuneKunes.

Learn all about COIs in these two important articles.

COI’S - Brief Understanding

When I asked fellow KuneKunes breeders about the COIs in their herds, most did not understand what I was asking unless they had a background in cattle, dogs, or goats. First, breeding with the Australian shepherd lines was my background experience. Thus, this is a customary practice and tool that is used in making decisions in our breeding program. I hope to share this information and even more info on KuneKunes with all my fellow IKKPS members so you too can use this invaluable tool for the betterment of not only your breeding program and herd but, for KuneKunes in general. So, with KuneKunes gaining popularity and growing in numbers, we must maintain as much genetic diversity as possible in our herds.

What is a COI?

COI stands for Coefficient of Inbreeding. COI measures the amount of inbreeding in one animal. The goal is to reduce the amount of inbreeding to lessen the increase of genetic defects and imperfections. While many breeders believe in line breeding and inbreeding, you are indeed doubling up on the good genes and increasing the chances of it showing in the offspring. 

However, they may not be considering that you are also doubling up on the “bad” genes that are not so valued. As a result, this includes but is not limited to, heart conditions, prolapsed anus’, low birth weights and survival of offspring, scrotal hernias, umbilical hernias, Cryptorchidism (where one or both testicles are retained inside), teat abnormalities, and many others. 

With the various lines in this country, it is possible to dramatically reduce COIs. Understanding where these bloodlines originated and what they can be traced back to is also especially important. With the various lines being renamed in the USA, it makes it harder for the newcomer to make these decisions. Using COIs will help.

What is the goal of using COI's?

When pairing two breeding mates, it is possible to reduce the COIs in the offspring lower than the parents. By continuing this practice, COIs will be reduced automatically in the KuneKune breed. Our online herd book will allow you to see what a potential mating COIs would be like prior to the actual breeding. The goal is to REDUCE the COI of the parents with their offspring, therefore, reducing the increase of genetic disorders, gaining diversity in your herd, and bettering the KuneKune breed. 

I hope that this article helped you understand that this is an invaluable tool to use in your program.  

How this affects what KuneKune Registry you use

Please note: IKKPS is the only organization that allows nonmembers to utilize the online herd book for calculating COIs for potential buyers and showing the full pedigree of your KuneKune pigs. IKKPS does not want to limit your knowledge to make the best decisions for your KuneKune Pigs.

For the other two organizations you must be a member to utilize the tool to see if a pig is compatible with your herd or if they show you the COI that is all you get. No pedigree or advanced features unless you are a member. Since we believe in the preservation of our beloved KuneKune Pigs, we do not limit that info on KuneKunes to anyone who wishes to see it. Signing up for our herd book is completely FREE whether you are a member or non-member.

Info on KuneKunes - In depth article on COIs

Deep Dive into COI’s and Why They Can Help KuneKune Breeders 


If you have taken the time to read over the COI article on our website, that one is old and was written exceedingly early into my 10-year breeding program with Virginia KuneKunes. As mentioned in that article, my background was from showing in conformation, breeding, and raising Australian Shepherds. Gathering my herd and asking my potential new breeders questions regarding COIs, they did not know what I was talking about. Therefore, I did much education for the members of the American KuneKune Pig Society on this valuable tool for breeders to use. It is a very commonly used tool and was incorporated into the herd book and even listed on the official registrations.

KuneKune Registry background information

First, I wanted to explain a bit more about this tool for all KuneKune Breeders. Being a founder of the American KuneKune Pig Society and a founder of the International KuneKune Pig Society, I strongly believe in education. COI calculations are used in our IKKPS online Herd Book and are also listed on the official registrations for the IKKPS. As a result, being a founder of both has given me some advantages in that some things will remain the same between the two organizations, and in the new organization things will be even further improved.

Consequently, you learn more over time and it is nice that I have the advantages of not only being a breeder for 10 years of KuneKunes with a large herd with much diversity within the herd in way of twenty-two bloodlines but, also being heavily involved in both organizations. Therefore, it is with those qualifications that I author the following article to help members learn even more about this tool, and will be introducing another tool that is exclusive to the IKKPS online herd book.

Review of the Basics

First, Let’s restart with the basics. COIs are the coefficient of inbreeding. It is a complex mathematical equation that places a percentage on KuneKunes based on their positions within a pedigree. Second, the commonly used calculations are from Wright’s Coefficient of Inbreeding and that is the formula used within the IKKPS Herd Books. Wright’s Coefficient of Inbreeding has been around since the 1920’s. Finally, in our herd book, it is adjustable from three generations to ten generations. For registration purposes, it is based on ten generations. When you change the generations, the COI will change. 

Why are COIs important? 

Some breeders inbreed or you may hear them say that they “line breed”. Therefore, that is just a subtle way of saying inbreeding. However, they do differ just a bit according to livestock breeders. Furthermore, we will get more into that later in the article.

Inbreeding or line breeding can indeed lead to desirable traits such as head style, snout length, ears, and some improved confirmation. As a result, while you may be “cementing” a certain “style” to the pig by doubling up and sometimes tripling up on genetics, you are also doubling and tripling up on the less desirable traits. So, it also has a side to it that is being ignored. 

Those are:

  • ·        Inherited deformities, blind anus, retained testicles, extra dew claws, hoof abnormalities, and more
  • ·        Inbreeding depression which affects reproduction
  • ·        Piglets that tend to be smaller, have slower growth rates and have a significantly reduced vitality
  • ·        Fertility issues and miscarriages
  • ·        Exaggerated characteristics like a super short snout which may cause breathing issues and abscesses of the jaw
  • ·        Smaller litter sizes

Typical Inbreeding Coefficients

Brother x Sister = 25%

Father x Daughter = 25%

Mother x Son = 25%

Half Siblings/ Cousins = 12.5%

2 common grandparents = 12.5%

2 common great grandparents = 6.25%

1 common Great Grandchild = 3.1% 


So, let’s discuss some genetic terminology.

Inbreeding – the mating of two KuneKunes who are related to each other

Outcrossing – this term means breeding two parents that are not related. 

Inbreeding vs Linebreeding info on KuneKunes

What is the difference between inbreeding and line-breeding?

Meanwhile, to understand this better you must understand that like humans, we all trace back to the same genetics and with KuneKunes they all trace back to a limited number of foundation ancestors. Consequently, to start this is not referring to the times that in the history of KuneKunes in New Zealand. Undoubtedly, we know some other breeds have been crossed with KuneKunes and listed in the herd books as unregistered. As a result, this is where some of the less common traits have come from.

First, inbreeding tends to mean more closely related animals, and in humans, it is called incest. Most importantly, inbreeding means parents to their offspring or full brothers and sisters. So, inbreeding increases the probability that two copies of any given gene will be identical and come from the same ancestor. Finally, the higher the inbreeding coefficient the more likely this is to happen. 

Inbreeding closely over and over in a herd will result in inbreeding depression. Therefore, this could result in the extinction of that herd over time if that continues. This is due to loss of fertility and other genetic diseases which would result in this method of breeding.

Inbreeding Depression

Inbreeding depression - this causes a decline in the reproduction performance of an animal and directly reflects the offspring’s ability to survive.

Livestock breeders chose the term “linebreeding” as the negativity around the word inbreeding was very well known. In today’s article, we will use what is accepted in most breeds of livestock to mean.

More Info on KuneKunes and Line Breeding

Usually, animals that are a bit less closely related such as uncle x niece, aunt x nephew, half-siblings, and cousins.

All offspring get two genes from their parents. One from the male and one from the female. The higher the COI the more chance that the two genes an offspring gets will be identical. That is where things can begin to go wrong.  

How to Breed for the long-time health of a herd

To ensure genetic health, breeders need to select the lowest possible COI. Utilizing the herd book is extremely easy. 

Keep in mind, that this is just a tool to use for genetic purposes. Furthermore, it is not the only tool in your shed and should not be singularly used. Consider the whole KuneKune you are using in your breeding program. Most importantly, you need to understand conformation and breed standards. What you are trying to accomplish as a breeder is that each generation will be better than the last. Example: tail sets. Likewise, it is one of the easier things to fix genetically. You would want a lower tail set bred to the higher tail set pig. Fixing things within the parents will usually result in improvements in the offspring. This is one of the reasons that understanding conformation is so important when you are selecting potential mating.

Info on KuneKunes and Retaining Piglets

Retaining piglets that have better conformation and characteristics than their parents, is why you would retain your stock. You utilize them to further improve the next generations. Breeding KuneKune Pigs myself and after my initial herd was purchased, retaining our pigs was a normal part of our breeding program. What I started breeding and what I ended up breeding was completely different and much improved over generations. 

I will never forget when my mentor asked me how my piglets were nicer than his when I used his stock. It was a compliment that held huge value to me. It was because I was trying to constantly improve each generation. Replacing parents within my herd with better specimens of the breed.

To clarify, while using lower COIs and focusing more on outcrossing may take breeders a little bit longer to get to their ideal pig it is the safest option to use for the longevity of the breed and your herd.

KuneKunes were very closely inbred in the USA back when they arrived in the USA and that was a necessity to increase the population in the USA. That is no longer the case. It is possible to breed excellent KuneKunes with as much genetic diversity as we have now. One issue is the bloodlines that were accepted where they were unregistered. Due to the lack of registrations, their lineage was lost. Of course, they may be genetically diverse, but they could also be from the same parents, siblings, or common grandparents. There is no way to know.  

KuneKune Registry Views

BKKPS - British KuneKune Pig Society

There are KuneKune Registries out there like the British KuneKune Pig Society that set goals and levels for COI which is acceptable for registration purposes. They have set their bar high. Don’t quote me but their requirements are 0-3% is considered good and acceptable. Anything over requires approval. Nothing over 10% is accepted at all for registration.

IKHR - International KuneKune Hog Registry

IKHR does not pay much attention to COIs that I am aware of. I am not sure if their herd book does COI calculations or not as I have never been a part of that organization but, I want to say that there is a breeder’s/member's section of their herd book that does calculate COI’s. It is a member-only function. Nonmembers to my knowledge are unable to do COI calculations.

AKKPS - American KuneKune Pig Society

AKKPS used to promote COI, especially in the earlier days and you know I authored several articles about it and introduced that tool to the KuneKune Community. The first AKKPS herd book, Zoo Easy had COI calculations in it as well. However, they were not on the registration certificates until years later. Many breeders within AKKPS use COIs as a tool.  With AKKPS and their new software program starting Jan 2023, the same one that IKHR uses, I am advised by the Vice-President that nonmembers will still be able to see the simple COIs of potential pairings. However, I have determined that all you will see is the COI. You will not have access to the pedigree or any further research. If you are like me, I need to see the visual of the pedigree as well to make decisions.

IKKPS - International KuneKune Pig Society

IKKPS still encourages the use of this valuable tool. We are dedicated to providing you with more info on KuneKunes than other KuneKune Registries. Therefore, COIs are shown on the official registration certificate, on litter records, and in the herd book. In the International KuneKune Pig Society, members and non-members can use the tool in our online herd book. It is just too important to not allow all KuneKune enthusiasts to use the feature for the longevity of the breed so that future generations may continue to enjoy this incredible breed. While some KuneKune Registries will limit either the entire COI tool section or show only the %, IKKPS shows it all to members and non-members. Since preserving this incredible breed for future generations is our goal, how could we not allow all to see and utilize all parts of the tool?

Info on KuneKunes and Frequently Asked Questions

What is an acceptable COI? What are the suggested guidelines?

While no USA or Canada-based registry has offered guidelines it is difficult for breeders who wish to use this tool to know what to strive for when utilizing COIs as a part of the decision-making process for potential mating. Under the KuneKune Registries view section is the only KuneKune Registry that I am aware of that has set specific guidelines. I commend them on their stance.

For this article and IKKPS, I would like to make the following suggestions.

This means the COI of the offspring.

0-5% excellent

5-10% good

11-12% use caution and know the animals within the pedigree

13% + a higher percentage of issues with the offspring and use extreme caution

Now we were going to get into the other new tool that IKKPS is introducing but, since this has gotten so long, I will save it for our next article.

Disclaimer: While not every breeder will agree with this article it is meant to educate and inform so that each breeder will be able to make the best decisions for their herd. My goal is to provide you with the best info on KuneKunes and the best tools for you to use. YOU are the only one that can make the best decisions for you herd! 

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