What Causes Dwarfism In German Shepherds
While dwarfism in German Shepherds is generally caused by a lack of growth hormones produced by the pituitary gland, there are a few other possible causes as well.
To help you understand all the possible factors behind this condition, lets cover a few.
Dwarfism in German Shepherds can be caused by:
- Brain tumors or cysts
- Other genetic conditions impacting growth such as skeletal dwarfism
- Chronic infections
What Is German Shepherd Dwarfism
German Shepherd Pituitary Dwarfism is an autosomal and genetic disorder that is inherited via both parents. It affects the dogs pituitary glands, leading to a hormone deficiency. This causes the dog to stop growing at a normal pace. It normally isnt distinguishable until the puppy is two to three months old.
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How Much Is A Dwarf German Shepherd
Because it is such an undesirable condition, it would be difficult to find a dwarf German Shepherd to buy. Most are put to sleep as soon as symptoms become apparent.
Apart from keeping puppies and their humans from the challenges of this condition, most breeders dont want to disclose they have dwarfism in their breeding pool for fear of reducing the value of their puppies.
Nevertheless, not all people believe that euthanizing dwarf GSDs is the more humane option. Some will try to save them and give them the necessary support so they may have the best possible quality of life until they pass on naturally.
Even in these cases, they are rarely ever put up for sale.
Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous pet shops that will still sell dwarf GSDs either to unwitting buyers or those who were drawn to the uniqueness of dogs with this condition.
Typically, they will sell somewhere around the lower end of the normal GSD price range, which is $450 to $1,900. Although they might be cheaper to buy, they will cost much more to maintain due to the veterinary expenses they will incur throughout their lifetime.
Having A Dwarf German Shepherd As A Family Pet
German Shepherds with Pituitary Dwarfism can still make excellent companions, but youll definitely face some challenges that you might not have with other GSDs.
Dueto the way the condition impacts the pituitary gland, dogs can have personality issues like aggression or anxiety.
Somepups may also be slow or dullbecause of the reduced hormones in their bodies. Miniature German Shepherdswill usually need lifelong supplementswith things like fish oil, and perhaps hormone supplementation as well.
If your GSD friend experiences pain when they play or move too much, you may need to limit their activity and install things like ramps and rugs to help them get around your home comfortably.
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Can German Shepherds Be Small Without Carrying The Dwarfism Gene
No, there is only one recognized variant of the German Shepherd breed and it only comes in one size. The only way to have a smaller purebred GSD is by breeding Shepherds that are significantly smaller than others.
However, breeders might not get the desired result until a few generations down the line.
Can Dwarf German Shepherds Join Dog Competitions
In general, there are no dog shows for dwarf dogs however, there are a couple of other competitions available for them.
Some of these include Barn Hunt, Dog Agility, Nose Work, Lure Coursing, Dog Obedience, and more. While dwarf dogs are not known for performing well in competitions, these options are always open to them. After all, competitions are not just about winning.
All of these competitions have different rules and regulations as to what kind of dog can join.
Some are exclusive to a particular dog breed while some are open to all. If you canât find a dog competition your dwarf GSD can join, you can always organize one!
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General Attributes Of A Dwarf Gsd
The stunted growth of the dwarf German Shepherd is its most obvious physical trait. However, this issue goes much deeper than just its size.
They are not merely small but actually suffer from real growth issues like abnormal development of their spine, bones, and joints. Because of this, they are much more likely to experience instability and pain.
Many will also develop some form of paralysis in their lifetime.
Apart from growth problems, dwarf German Shepherds will experience skin and coat issues. They will shed most of their soft puppy coat but will rarely ever develop into their adult coat. Their skin also becomes scaly.
Additionally, the adult teeth of dwarf GSD may grow too late or not at all. Their organsincluding reproductive organsmay not form or may form to be abnormal.
Dwarfism affects German Shepherds not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. Many dogs that have this condition are extremely temperamental due to the hormonal imbalance it causes.
In some cases, they develop aggressive behaviors.
German Shepherds And Other Pets
To help them be calm and patient, it’s best to socialise your German Shepherd with other dogs and pets from a young age. Some can be a bit bossy with other dogs as they get older but with proper care, training and socialisation this is unlikely to become a problem. If youre having issues with your German Shepherd around other pets, the best thing to do is get advice from a trainer or behaviourist.
German Shepherds are usually fine with other family pets they have grown up with. If they havent grown up with a cat or other smaller pets, though, they may have the urge to chase them so any introductions later in life should be done very carefully.
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Miniature Vs Dwarfism In German Shepherds
Miniature German Shepherds are not GSDs afflicted with Pituitary Dwarfism. This is a common misconception. Instead they are simply a mix between a German Shepherd and a smaller dog breed resulting in their mini size. A purebred miniature GSD does not exist.
Miniature dog breeds are growing in popularity and several different dog breeds are used to produce the mini versions of the popular breed. Some of the more popular mixes include Golden Shepherds, Shepadoodles, Shollies and Siberian Shepherds.
Three Months To One Year Old
Around the age of three months old to one year old, dwarf German Shepherds will be noticeably shorter than other puppies in their litter. They will also retain their soft puppy coats for far longer compared to their siblings.
Once the shedding of puppy coats occurs in dwarf GSDs, the process will be noticeably uneven. These dogs will typically retain voluminous amounts of coat on their heads and hocks.
Similarly, the puppy teeth of dwarf GSDs will fall out during this time. However, their adult teeth will develop later than usual.
In fact, there are even cases where some dwarf GSD puppies do not develop any adult teeth at all. In addition to these, signs of overly blackened and scaly skin will also begin to show around this age.
Moreover, gender-specific issues will also show around this time. For male dwarf Shepherds, reproductive organs will be smaller than normal. On the other hand, for females, the first heat cycle is usually delayed or even prevented totally.
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Characteristics Of Dwarf German Shepherd Puppies For Sale
German Shepherds make great family pets. They are energetic, loyal, and affectionate. They have an outgoing personality that will shine through in the form of easygoing, friendly behavior, low activity level when not working. There is an approximate eight to ten-year-old age range for these dogs. If you live in climates where it snows, you can get dwarf German shepherd puppies for sale as training models.
These dogs need regular socialization, training, and exercise. When buying German Shepherd puppies for sale, look for breeders who are dedicated to breeding only the healthiest, happiest miniature shepherd offspring. Ask about the mothers exercise program. Find out if the breeder has any exercise classes or walks that the mother and her offspring can participate in together. Ask if the breeder will discuss things with you about grooming, diets, and scheduling so that you will know exactly what to feed your new pet.
The German Shepherd is a magnificent dog. Their elegant looks, their distinctive style, their intelligence, and their devotion to their owner make them adorable. However, there is also a long history of this breed having problems including hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, congenital eye defects, Von Willebrands disease, Yorkie patella syndrome, and heart defects. Most of these problems can be prevented by careful breeding. However, a German shepherd is still susceptible to some of these conditions.
Preventing Future Complications In Dwarf German Shepherds
Even though your dog may not have been born with dwarfism, he may develop the condition at some point in his lifetime.
In this case, youll want to do everything you can to avoid further complications. Here are some things you can do to keep your dog healthy:
Keep an eye out for symptoms of illness. If your dog shows signs of illness, contact your vet immediately.
He may be able to prescribe antibiotics or another treatment to cure the problem.
Take care of your dogs teeth and gums. Brushing your dogs teeth twice a week will help remove plaque and tartar buildup. Keeping his teeth clean also prevents gum infections.
Make sure your dog gets enough exercise. Exercise increases blood flow, which improves oxygenation throughout the body. This makes your dog more resistant to illnesses and injuries.
Give your dog nutritious food. A diet high in protein and low in fat is ideal. Foods rich in fiber and vitamins also promote good health.
Dont let your dog drink tap water. Tap water contains chemicals that can damage your pets kidneys, liver, and other organs. Instead, fill up a bowl of fresh water every day.
When it comes to caring for your dog, there are many ways to go about it. By following these tips, youll ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy.
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Can You Treat Dwarfism In German Shepherds
There is no way to cure dwarfism in German Shepherds, but there is a way to manage it and offer a better quality of life.
These management options help to make up for the lack of appropriate hormones in the affected pup, and combat any medical conditions it may cause.
Some of the treatment options for canine dwarfism include:
- Progesterone treatments that stimulate the production of growth hormones
- Thyroid medication that offers artificial thyroid hormones to supplement where they are lacking
The only way to offer an effective and safe management plan for canine dwarfism is through a close relationship with your regular vet.
This will be a lifelong issue that cannot be cured, meaning they will need a long-term and individually tailored treatment plan.
Dwarf German Shepherd Vs Miniature German Shepherd: Are They The Same
Dwarf German Shepherds are purebred GSDs with dwarfism. On the other hand, miniature German Shepherds are crossbred dogs that are smaller than regular German Shepherds.
Usually, miniature GSDs are born from the cross of a German Shepherd and a Poodle or a Border Collie. However, there are also instances where miniature GSDs are bred by crossing GSDs to Golden Retrievers, Corgis, Siberian Huskies, Pugs, Yorkshire Terriers, and others.
The picture below shows a mini GSD which is a mix of an Australian Cattle Dog and a German Shepherd:
As evident in the picture, dwarf GSDs and miniature GSDs are completely different dogs. This confusion only stems from their striking similarities in terms of size and appearance. But their similarities end there.
Miniature GSDs are generally healthier dogs than dwarf GSDs. Aside from their genetic makeup, their health differences dictate most of their differences.
Dwarf German Shepherds are likely to have visible issues on its body such as alopecia and small testes. Meanwhile, miniature GSDs are usually free from all these.
Another thing to note is that if you compare these dogs closely, you may notice that some dwarf German Shepherds will slightly resemble the appearance of a fox.
Take a look at this dwarf German Shepherd and his fox-like features:
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Exercise Needs Of A Dwarf German Shepherd
Becauseevery dog is affected differently, its impossible to say what kind of physicalactivities your dog will have.
Youshould always chat with your vet to knowwhat your pup can handle and what they should avoid. Your vet will likelyneed to do a thorough assessment to get a better idea of the specific dos anddonts for your pooch so they can give you guidelines.
Thatsaid, since many dogs have health issues that impact their spine, any exercise should be conservativeuntil you know what your pup can handle.
Swimming can be a good way to exercisedogs that suffer from spinal issues, though youll need to keep them in shallowareas until you know how they handle swimming.
After that, you should always keep an eye on your dog to make sure theyre not overdoing it. Any limping or favoring a part of their body could be a sign that theyre in pain. If thats the case, theyll need to take it easy and maybe even be treated with ice for a little while to keep them comfortable.
Dwarf German Shepherd: All About This Genetic Disorder
Dwarf German Shepherds are making their way into the public eye. With their tiny stature and unique appearance, its no wonder so many people are looking into this mysterious pup. So what is a Dwarf German Shepherd, why are they so much smaller than other Shepherds?
Dwarfism in German Shepherds is a genetic disorder most often caused by a lack of growth hormones produced by the pituitary gland, and can result in a shortened lifespan. While there is no cure for canine dwarfism, it can be successfully treated with progesterone and thyroid medications.
In this article well dive into the details of canine dwarfism, and help you understand why the intentional breeding of this pup is unethical.
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Why Is There A Miniature German Shepherd
To begin with, there are three types of miniature German shepherds.
While the two are genuinely purebred, one type is a genetic flaw, while the other is not as small as you think. The closest you can get to miniature are mixed breeds, but this type, too, has some flaws that might cause you some problems.
Lets talk about the mixed breed first, since theyre the most popular type of the small German shepherd breeds.
Complications Of Dwarfism In German Shepherds
Having a condition that impacts hormones that are responsible for so many vital functions can result in a slew of medical complications.
Canine dwarfism not only causes stunted growth in German Shepherds, but a host of other troubling complications as well.
Some of the most common complications of dwarfism in German Shepherds include:
- Chronic skin infections that are slow to heal
- Kidney disease and ultimately kidney failure due to underdeveloped kidneys
- Liver disease and ultimately liver failure due to an underdeveloped liver
- Secondary hypothyroidism that needs to be managed with daily medication
- Possible breathing difficulties if their ribs do not develop properly
- Possible back pain and injury due to abnormal distribution of the cervical vertebra
- Overall shortened lifespan due to a strain on so many body processes
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Dwarf German Shepherd: The Long And Short Of Gsd Dwarfism
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German Shepherds are known to grow quickly into large dogs. However, some will hardly grow and remain puppy-sized for their short lifetime. These dogs are dwarf German Shepherds.
German Shepherds can have dwarfism much the same as humans can. Pituitary dwarfism is the most common type and is a genetic disorder due to insufficient growth hormone. This causes slow growth in the GSD, resulting in various health problems leading to a lower life expectancy.
This article will investigate pituitary dwarfism in German Shepherds. Well explore what causes a dwarf German Shepherd, life expectancy, and treatments. Well also look at signs and symptoms and how to prevent dwarf dogs in the first place.
You should not look to purposely adopt a dwarf German Shepherd as they have a myriad of health problems, need lots of care, and have a limited lifespan.
To learn all about dwarf German Shepherds, keep reading!