Four-year-old Rambo has pituitary dwarfism which has caused him to remain at the same height since he was as a puppy – he takes daily medication to stay healthy
Picture: Jennifer Littleton)
When it comes to adopting a puppy, owners can spend hours gazing at them trying to ingrain the size of their tiny paws into their memory.
But it doesn’t take long for them to grow up.
One owner doesn’t need to remember his dog’s puppyhood because he will stay looking like a puppy his entire life due to a rare genetic condition.
German shepherd Rambo has pituitary dwarfism, an autosomal disorder that can cause short legs, a long body, a short jaw, bulging eyes, and skin disorders including baldness and bacterial skin infections.
Despite now being four years old, he has remained at the same height as he was as a puppy.
Sign up to our TeamDogs newsletter for your weekly dose of dog news, pictures and stories.
The inherited disorder is most common in German shepherds but is also known in Weimaraners, spitz, dachshunds, corgis and basset hounds, Saarloos wolfdogs, and Czechoslovakian wolfdogs.
Although Rambo is not in any pain, his condition has caused a secondary health issue, which he needs to take daily medication for to stay healthy.
Owner Jennifer Littleton, from Louisiana, said: “Rambo is only about the height of a cocker spaniel.
“He also has hypothyroidism which is caused by pituitary dwarfism. He takes thyroid medication daily.
“He also doesn’t have a lot of hair because of hypothyroidism.”
It is not uncommon for strangers to stop Jennifer and Rambo in the street to ask about his condition, as most people have never seen a dog with pituitary dwarfism before.
The rare generic condition impacts about one in every 500 purebred German shepherds.
“People comment on his size all the time,” said Jennifer. “He has a very sweet personality – he can be hyper.
“He like most German shepherd’s when it comes to people, he’d rather stick beside his family.
“He loves playing with my three-year-old daughter.”
German shepherds usually live between nine to 13 years – but those with pituitary dwarfism have a shorter lifespan between three and seven years.
She added: “Rambo still has a lot of life left – he has so much energy.”
Raising awareness of her dog’s condition on social media, Jennifer set Rambo up with his very own Facebook page – Rambo, the German Shepherd with Pituitary Dwarfism – where she shares updates about her day-to-day life.
“When I got Rambo in 2018, my intent was to have him go on trail rides with me,” said Jennifer.
“When he was six months old, I had him neutered and tested for pituitary dwarfism. Two weeks later, I got confirmation from my vet that he tested positive.
“I was given three options – put him to sleep, treat the symptoms, or try hormones replacements, which was still in its trial phase and is expensive and not guaranteed to work.
“I chose to treat his symptoms, none were showing other than hair loss. I took Rambo back to the vet and they did two or three blood tests – the results came back and said he also has hypothyroidism due to the disorder.
“We’ve been treating Rambo for years now – he has had a good bit of hair growing back.
“The vet and the techs who take care of him are amazing and they just absolutely love him. This is the first case of pituitary dwarfism my vet has ever treated.”
Do you have a dog story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.