An popular image shows a massively muscular dog named Wendy who is claimed to be the world’s strongest dog. Today we’ll take a look at this story.
The image is real and Wendy is a real dog.
The dog was reported in several 2007 news reports as an example of “Bully Whippet Syndrome.” As the NY Times reported:
“Bully whippets,” as the heavyset dogs are known, turn out to have a genetic mutation that enhances muscle development. And breeders may not want to eliminate the “bully” gene after all. The scientists found that the same mutation that pumps up some whippets makes others among the fastest dogs on the track.
Bully Whippet Syndrome
This disorder, which only affects whippets, is a mutation in the myostatin gene which causes double-muscling. A single mutation of this gene is not considered a defect, and can enhance athletic performance of whippets. A double mutation can cause this “over-muscling” which is also found in cattle such as the Belgian Blue.
Despite the menacing stature of these muscular dogs, they generally have a friendly demeanor, typical of the whippet breed.
As of 2011, Wendy was last reported to be living on a farm in Victoria, Canada with owner Ingrid Hanson. She was reported to be 9 years old at the time, which would make the dog 12 in 2014.
Animal Planet Video
You can watch a short segment on Wendy in this Animal Planet video below:
Wendy the Whippet is a real dog which suffers from a genetic mutation resulting in double-muscling.
- A Mutation in the Myostatin Gene Increases Muscle Mass and Enhances Racing Performance in Heterozygote Dogs (Dana S Mosher, et al: PLOS Genetics)
- Meet the Incredible Hulk of Hounds (Rebecca Camber: Daily Mail: July 13, 2007)
- Meet Wendy, the Bully Whippet (My Little Dog: April 4, 2011)
- Strongest Dog in the World Still Kickin’ (David Deleon Baker: Pets Adviser: June 9, 2011)