The dog in the video below touched my heart. He is a Labrador retriever born with dwarfism. The condition is a rare defect. His body is shaped like a full-sized Lab, but his legs are underdeveloped. They bow and keep him from growing to a normal height. Dogs with dwarfism suffer from joint pain and have problems walking.
Just when I think I have heard about every way a pet can develop mobility problems, I am surprised to learn something new.
The pup in this video is an inspiration. He underwent surgery to relieve his pain and now he is a therapy dog that thoroughly enjoys life. Dogs with disabilities can do some pretty amazing things.
How do dogs develop dwarfism?
Most dwarf dogs have a condition called “Osteochondrodysplasia,” which means they have abnormal growth and development of bone, cartilage, or both. Dwarfism almost always affects the long bones of all four of a dog’s legs. Genetics play a big role in a dog being born a dwarf.
In addition to short legs, dwarf dogs often have a protruding lower jaw with an underbite. Many have bowed front legs and crooked spines.
Some dogs are bred to be dwarfs
Some breeds, like Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, Corgis, Bulldogs and West Highland Terriers are selectively bred to be dwarfs. Their short legs were needed to fit into small spaces or duck out of the way of large farm animals. Dwarf dogs have been around since ancient Rome.
This story originally posted on The Dodo.