There have been a number of studies made to find out why pigs get anxious for truffles, and why it was mainly female pigs. Simply put, it is pheromones, chemicals capable of acting outside the body of the secreting individual to impact the behavior of the receiving individual.

Female pigs it was thought that they were detecting a steroid alcohol, which has been identified in truffles and is also in a boars’ saliva. It is called Androstenol, also present in the sweat in men’s armpits. In fact, Androstenol, a putative human pheromone, affects humans choices and preferences. There was a study that shows females demonstrate a preference for Androstenol, a sex differential influence of the experimental odor.

So what makes pigs take a back seat to dogs in truffle hunting? In the past pigs have proven to be a reliable way of finding truffles, but dogs are used nowadays given they are easier to manage and do the same work. Dogs are trained from puppies to recognize the truffle aromas through an intensive training process.