The use of lactobacilli as probiotics in swine has been gaining attention due to their ability to improve growth performance and carcass quality, prevent gastrointestinal infection and most importantly, their ‘generally recognized as safe’ status. Previous studies support the potential of lactobacilli to regulate host immune systems, enhance gut metabolic capacities and maintain balance in the gut microbiota. Research on swine gut microbiota has revealed complex gut microbial community structure and showed the importance of Lactobacillus to the host's health. However, the species- and strain-specific characteristics of lactobacilli that confer probiotic benefits are still not well understood. The diversity of probiotic traits in a complex gut ecosystem makes it challenging to infer the relationships between specific functions of Lactobacillus sp. and host health. In this review, we provide an overview of how lactobacilli play a pivotal role in the swine gut ecosystem and identify key characteristics that influence gut microbial community structure and the health of pigs. In addition, based on recent and ongoing meta-omics and omics research on the gut microbiota of pigs, we suggest a workflow combining culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches for more effective selection of probiotic lactobacilli.