Stephen Pastis (the creator of the strip) tried (failed) to get a comic called Rat (about a depressing philosophical rat) and The Infirm (about a struggle lawyer). He combined elements of both strips to make Pearls Before Swine. Several syndicates liked it, but weren't sure if it was marketable. However, United Media decided to put the strip on the Internet and see what kind of buzz it would make. Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert and fan of the strip) showed his fans the strip, which sparked enough interest for the strip to be published.
- Rat- He is a megalomaniac rat. He is self-center and acts out his own interest with disregard for other people's feelings. As such, everyone hates him (save Pig). He also thinks he is much smarter than he really is. He has been known to break the fourth wall to complain about the strip. He often writes very bad pieces of literature (such as Angry Bob Vol. I-III) that everyone hates.
- Pig- He is a kind-hearted, but naive and unintelligent pig. He is Rat's roommate and suffers the most abuse from him, but is dumb enough to think of him as a friend. He has a habit to talking to inanimate objects to the point of forming a "Fruit Buddy" club. His least likable trait is the fact is he is a cannibal.
- Goat- He is an intellectual goat. However, he can barely stand the stupidity of Pig and cruelty of Rat. He often criticizes the poor quality of Rat's literature (such as Angry Bob Volume II, where Bob "un-dies").
- Zebra- He is a zebra who tries to deal with the predators attacking him and his herd. A recurring gag early on in the strip is that his herd will do stupid things to try (and fail) to avoid getting eaten. He has a cat named Snuffles (who was revealed to be a terrorist).
- Guard Duck- He is a guard hired by Pig, because a guard dog was too expensive. GD starts as having a temper-problem, but was changed so he sees the whole world as a battle field. He often suggests militaristic solutions to problems in the neighborhood.
- Crocodiles- The main antagonists. The Fraternity of Crocodiles (the official name is "Zeeba Zeeba Eata") are a group of stupid crocodiles, who speak very poor English and have odd accents. Their main goal is to eat Zebra (who they called "Zeeba"), but never succeed.
- Larry-He is the dumbest of the crocodiles and is possibly the leader. However, he doesn't live in the Zeeba Zeeba Eata house. He has a wife, who is much smarter than him, and a son, called "Junior", who is not only smarter than him, but also a pacifist and vegetarian.
The title comes from Matthew 7:6, where Jesus says "Neither cast ye your pearls before swine". In the context of this comic, Rat thinks he is the wisdom being wasted on "the swine" (Pig).
Pearls Before Swine: Sergeant Piggy's Lonely Heart's Club Comic