Domestic pigs are considered as a valuable large animal model because of their close relation to humans in regard to anatomy, genetics and physiology. This includes their potential use as organ donors in xenotransplantation but also studies on various zoonotic infections affecting pigs and humans. Such work also requires a thorough understanding of the porcine immune system which was partially hampered in the past by restrictions on available immunological tools compared to rodent models. However, progress has been made during recent years in the study of both, the innate and the adaptive immune system of pigs. In this review we will summarize the current knowledge on porcine αβ T cells, which comprise two major lymphocyte subsets of the adaptive immune system: CD4(+) T cells with important immunoregulatory functions and CD8(+) T cells, also designated as cytolytic T cells. Aspects on their functional and phenotypic differentiation are presented. In addition, we summarize currently available tools to study these subsets which may support a more widespread use of swine as a large animal model.