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Dwarfism in wolves?

Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:33 pm
by -Revan-
This question was inspired by a wolf character of mine, who's an undersized wolf pup. This led me to questions about dwarfism, and how common it is. I searched the forum for this but didn't bring up any results.

Has dwarfism been observed in wolves? A Google search didn't tell me much other than it's known in the dog breeds GSD, White Shepherd, Karelian Beardog, Saarloos Wolfdog and Czech Wolfdog.

What's the life expectancy of a wolf with the condition? I can't imagine it would have a very high chance of survival.

Re: Dwarfism in wolves?

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:25 am
by SolitaryHowl
I have checked a few of the scientific journals I am subscribed to (via my university), and came up with no results for the wolf. Tried a whole whack of different keywords.

If I had to guess:

It has not been observed because, if a wolf were to have dwarfism, it would probably die before passing its genes on because it is at a huge disadvantage (can't hunt properly, etc). This trait would be heavily selected against.

The reason why dwarfism is present in the domestic dog is probably due to selective breeding by people. There is no natural selection/pressure (ie: the need to hunt) to keep the gene responsible for dwarfism from appearing in some domestic dog breeds.

I hope that answers your question!

Re: Dwarfism in wolves?

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:36 pm
by -Revan-
Yes it does! I figured a wolf born with dwarfism would die in the pup stage if not sooner, maybe even due to internal complications from not being properly developed, if not from external factors of natural selection like you mentioned.

Thanks for the answer!

Re: Dwarfism in wolves?

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:31 pm
by Koa
Solitary's answer is spot on.
Topic locked.