Ranger is a two-year-old German shepherd who has pituitary dwarfism and 68,000 followers on Instagram. He's the cutest thing you'll see today.
German Shepherds and other "tough-looking" dogs tend to get a bad rep. Sure, they can be fierce and intimidating, but they're also just as adorable as any other dog breed. For some people, it's usually the sheer size of a German Shepherd that makes them hesitant. If you're one of them, well, you might want to meet Ranger, a two-year-old German shepherd who has dwarfism. According to PEOPLE, this makes him remain puppy-sized throughout the rest of his life.
The genetic condition that Ranger has is known as pituitary dwarfism. This is what makes him permanently small. As per Claudia E. Reusch and her chapter in Canine and Feline Endocrinology, the condition occurs as a result of "autosomal recessive inheritance." But, fret not; other than stunting his growth, he's a pretty normal doggo who loves doing pretty normal doggo things. Ranger's mom, Shelby Mayo from Pennsylvania, knew that he was the runt of the litter before adopting him. However, she didn't expect him to stay small forever. Originally, she believed the dog was so small because he had a parasite. This was not the case exactly.
She stated in an interview, "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." Shelby found out that he didn't have a parasite when she took him to the vet. Ranger's doctor told her that he had Giardia as well as an “infection” on his neck — in addition to pituitary dwarfism. Shelby explained, "During this time Ranger remained very small. The vet had suspected that he may have pituitary dwarfism... 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." Uh-oh! Thankfully, things worked out just fine.
Vets luckily identified and diagnosed Ranger with a thyroid problem. He was immediately placed "on levothyroxine" and began using a specially formulated soap from one of his followers on social media platform Instagram (he has 68,000 of them, by the way). Quickly, Shelby shared, "His fur grew back and the dryness went away." While pituitary dwarfism has been known to lead to a variety of health issues and a shortage in his life span by five years, in addition to developmental and behavioral problems, Ranger is actually doing pretty well. His mom explained, "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." As long as he has a loving home and gets the care that he needs, he's in great hands! You can check out all the mischief he gets up to on Instagram.