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Pig may present the next best dog breeding tendency

Pig ready for her meal.
Pig ready for her meal.
Mark Almond/malmond@al.com

If you have never heard of or seen a “short-spine dog,” you may not believe that it is possible; perhaps someone is quick with Photoshop. Not true. In fact, this malformation had been denoted by the court painter David Klocker when he portrayed two malformed dogs in 1668 and 1690 in his works. At that time, the author’s pictures were derived from living models and have served as the basis for a critical interpretation of a type of malformation known as the “short-spine dog.” The terminology today is short-spine syndrome.

In 1956, the explanation verified the paintings and designated that they were proof of historical evidence denoting the malformation in dogs. Until recently, however, no one really heard much about this malformation, however. That is, until Pig came along.

Pig, a short-spined Akita mix, born like this in the woods northeast of Atlanta, was found by Kim Dillenbeck and taken in and loved. Many people would have shunned the dog and many did. In fact, the vet Kim took Pig to advised the owner to have the mutt put down.

When Pig was first discovered, it was assumed that she would not live long; figuring she was so compact that she would most likely suffocate under her own organs due to her squat shape. The Akita mix is unusual in that she is missing part of her spine, several ribs and "her hips and joints are rotated in the wrong positions."

Pig is young, under a year old and weighs about half of what she should under normal conditions. Since she is still growing Kim is afraid that more weight could potentially be her demise, but she will love and care for her as long as Pig is here with her.

There are other breeds of dogs with short-spine syndrome out there, too. For the most part, these dogs seem quite happy and loved – even if their life expectancy may be shorter than most by several years. The important part is that people out there love them and care for them for as long as they are lucky enough to have them.

The only potential issue is that some people may want to catch this new-fangled ‘fad’ and breed dogs to look like Pig and the other short-spine dogs. This could be disastrous if they do not fully understand the ramifications of what a dog has to go through in order to live like this.

The best thing for these short-spine dogs is for them to be loved and not ogled. They may be happy but could potentially live a life of pain – even if that life is short. It is hoped that no one would want to develop dogs like this just because some have been born like this and have created media attention. It is best to admire and then to leave well enough alone!