Miniature dogs – malteses, poodles, pomeranians, chihuahuas, and the like – are so cute that they are aptly categorized as toy dogs.
Have you ever seen an adult German shepherd that is just a tiniest? Ranger, a two-year-old German Shepherd with dwarfism, will be a puppy forever.
Shelby Mayo of Phoenix, Arizona owns this special German shepherd. He has a permanent small stature due to pituitary dwarfism, a rare genetic disorder.
The condition can appear in German shepherds, corgis, and basset hounds as a result of “autosomal recessive inheritance” — or recessive gene inheritance.
Mayo considered Ranger the baby of the litter at the time. Ranger would eventually catch up to his siblings in terms of size. She didn’t know that the purebred German shepherd would be small for life.
“When we originally got Ranger from the breeder, he was smaller than all his other littermates, but we figured that was because he had a parasite.”
Ranger was diagnosed with a parasite after a consultation with his vet. The dog’s owners were informed that Ranger had Giardia and an “infection” on his neck.
“During this time Ranger remained very small,” Mayo said.
“The vet had suspected that he may have pituitary dwarfism.” The recessive genetic disorder meant that both of Ranger’s parents must be a carrier of the mutation, even if they don’t exhibit it themselves.
She added, “After a few more months we got him neutered and that’s when we started to see big changes. He lost his appetite, started to lose weight, lost almost all of his fur and had extremely dry and flaky skin.” Additional consultations with the vet revealed Ranger’s thyroid problem.
The doctor prescribed levothyroxine to him and gave him a bath with a soap that allowed his hair to grow back and prevented the skin from drying out.
Utrecht University, Netherlands, has confirmed that pituitary shrinkage is linked to growth hormone deficiency. This is a recessively-inherited disorder in shepherd dogs. However, it is not confined to the dog’s size and physical appearance.
Pituitary shrinkism is a serious disease that can cause severe problems in dogs.
They are unlikely to live past four to five years if they don’t receive proper treatment. Pituitary dwarfism can be prevented with a variety of treatments.
Mayo has documented Ranger on Instagram, and he has thousands upon thousands of followers, who give him a lot of support.
“One of our followers, ‘Guardians Farm,’ a small company that makes handmade soaps [and]Lotions . . sent us goat milk soap, which ended up helping Ranger’s skin immensely,” said Mayo.
Despite the dwarfism and its accompanying challenges, Mayo reassured Ranger’s fans that the dog is loved, and doing well.
“He is healthy and happy as can be as of now and loves jumping around and playing with his ball and squeaky toys with his two sisters Hazel and Jessie.”
Ranger is a dog just like any other dog. However, he will need lots of love and attention throughout his life. He has a loving family that is willing to help him face his battles against dwarfism.
Update: Here’s a new photo from Ranger taken last December 5, 2021.
If you want to follow Ranger’s adventure, follow his Instagram page.