It is a type 124 folktale in the Aarne–Thompson classification system.
The Three Little Pigs was included in The Nursery Rhymes of England (London and New York, c.1886), by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps. The story in its arguably best-known form appeared in English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, first published in 1890 and crediting Halliwell as his source. The story begins with the title characters being sent out into the world by their mother, to "seek out their fortune". The first little pig builds a house of straw, but a wolf blows it down and eats him. The second pig builds a house of furze sticks, which the wolf also blows down and eats him. Each exchange between wolf and pig features ringing proverbial phrases, namely: "Little pig, little Pig, let me come in.""No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.""Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in."The third pig builds a house of bricks. The wolf fails to blow down the house. He then attempts to trick the pig out of the house by asking to meet him at various places, but he is outwitted each time. Finally, the wolf resolves to come down the chimney, whereupon the pig catches the wolf in a cauldron of boiling water, slams the lid on, then cooks and eats him. In another version the first and second little pigs run to their brother's house and after the wolf goes down the chimney he runs away and never goes back to eat the three little pigs, who all survive.
The story uses the literary rule of three, expressed in this case as a "contrasting three", as the third pig's brick house turns out to be the only one which is adequate to withstand the wolf.