| 4.9°C Dublin

Adult German Shepherd with rare condition still looks like a puppy


Ranger the German Shepherd dog PIC ranger_thegshepherd/Instagram

Ranger the German Shepherd dog PIC ranger_thegshepherd/Instagram

Ranger the German Shepherd dog PIC ranger_thegshepherd/Instagram

A four-year-old German Shepherd will remain the size of a puppy his entire life due to a rare genetic condition which impacts his growth.

Ranger, who lives with his owner in Arizona, has a condition called pituitary dwarfism. This affects his pituitary gland and means he is deficient in growth hormones.

According to The Kennel Club, pituitary dwarfism is inherited when both parents carry the abnormal gene for the condition, which is more likely to occur from inbreeding. It is most common in German Shepherds.

Explaining Ranger’s condition on Instagram, his owners said they initially suspected his stunted growth was a result of a parasitic infection named Giardia that he had when they first brought him home.

“Upon further investigation and consulting with our vet, we discovered that he actually had pituitary dwarfism which is caused by pure-bred inbreeding,” they explained.

Although vets informed Ranger’s owners that he would have a shorter life expectancy due to the condition, he has already lived longer than they predicted.

“He is currently the healthiest he’s ever been,” his owners said, adding that he previously lost his fur due to hypothyroidism as a result of the dwarfism.

To combat this, he is currently on medication to treat hypothyroidism which he will likely take for the rest of his life.

According to a Q&A on Ranger’s Instagram, where he has more than 138,000 followers, the condition only affects his physical growth.

“He is mentally a full-grown German Shepherd, the only thing different is his size,” his owners said.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Under photographs of Ranger posted to his Instagram, he receives dozens of comments from followers expressing how cute they find him and wishing him good health.

Despite his cute appearance, his owners have warned that his condition comes with a number of potential health issues.

“We do not encourage or condone breeding to get dwarfs,” they said.

Most Watched