This Tiny German Shepherd Will Always Be A 'Puppy'

“He definitely knows he's small but doesn't let it affect his personality."

Ever wish your puppy could stay small forever? 

Meet Ranger — a 2-year-old German shepherd dog who tips the scale at only 17 pounds. 

Ranger isn’t a “mini.” The unique dog suffers from a rare genetic mutation called pituitary dwarfism, a condition found primarily in German shepherd and wolfhound breeds. Ranger’s growth hormone deficiency leaves him in a state of arrested development, still with his fluffy puppy-like haircoat and features.

Shelby Mayo, Ranger's mom, knew he was much smaller than his other littermates when she brought him home. She assumed he was the runt of the litter — then she discovered that Ranger was suffering from several other health issues. 
“When we first got Ranger he had a parasite called Coccidia,” Mayo told The Dodo. “Then he got a different parasite called Giardia and had a large infection on his neck.”

Under Mayo’s care, these issues resolved and Ranger grew stronger. However, he still didn’t get any bigger. That’s when a vet suggested that the sweet dog could be a pituitary dwarf.

“When we first found out about Ranger’s condition we were in denial, but once we realized this was our new reality, we were relieved,” Mayo said. “The months leading up to his diagnosis we could not figure out what was wrong with him and why he was having all of his health issues.”

After Ranger was neutered, he began suffering from dry skin and hair loss. People who had been following the dog's journey on Instagram reached out with advice. 

Ranger started taking thyroid medication to help his fur grow and receiving baths with moisturizing goat's milk soap, supplied by one of Ranger's Instagram followers, every other day.

Many dogs with Ranger's diagnosis suffer from other serious medical issues, but the pint-sized pup seems to now be in good health. Ranger is only a fraction of the size of his sisters, a yellow Lab and German shepherd, but he doesn’t let that get in his way during playtime.

“Ranger and his two sisters, Hazel and Jessie, are a pack and do nearly everything together!” Mayo said. “They love to play around and play ball. Ranger definitely has a BIG personality, he is very energetic and is a little spoiled, to say the least.”

“He definitely knows he's small," Mayo added, "but doesn't let it affect his personality.”

To learn more about Ranger and his adventures with his sisters, you can follow him on Instagram.