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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Freak Week II: Bully Whippets.



Pop quiz: What is wrong with this dog?
A) OMG THAT PICTURE IS SOOO FAKE!
B) It's an experiment by the EVUL COMMUNIST RUSSIANS! We're SCREWED!
C) One gene.

Sorry, this picture has been sent around the interwebs so frequently as a "real or fake?" or Russian conspiracy fodder that it merited a short quiz. Beneath all this internet BS is a normal whippet with only one gene awry. As you can see, Wendy is a perfectly content Boston family pet underneath all that muscle:



Not all whippets are as muscular as Wendy. Whippets are a sort of mini greyhound bred for one thing: speed. They can run up to 36 mph and have a winning demeanor. As dog breeds go, whippets are relatively problem-free; at most, they have some "athletic" heart diseases, but otherwise lead average dog lives.


Normal whippet.

Super-muscular whippets like Wendy are called "bully whippets." This says nothing about their personalities, just their bizarre build. The gene for extra-fast whippets is the heterozygous form of the gene that omits myostatin in dogs. Having two of the same omission allele together leads to double-muscling, creating the same beefy look found in Belgian Blue cattle (from last Freak Week). Seriously - it's the exact same mutation, just in a dog instead of a cow.

Hey, Korea...
 

Imagine crossing a bully whippet with a Chinese Crested, Xoloitzquintle, or Peruvian Inca Orchid. If the resulting image made you wet your pants in a combination of fear, WTF, and awesome, our work here is done.

Tomorrow: Hello kitty...with straaange ears.

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