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The Short Spined German Shepherd Is Still A German Shepherd

The Short Spined German Shepherd Is Still A German Shepherd

No, someone didn’t play with photos. They were not edited. That’s really a standard GSD cut in half. That’s a short spined German Shepherd… a dog with a spinal condition. 

I bet a lot of you guys have never heard of such dogs. I admit… they do look like a product of someone’s fantasy. 

But, short spined dogs are real, and their deformity should be something we know about.

That’s why today, we’re giving space to those special dogs. They really need it.

What Is The Short Spine Syndrome?

If you’re completely unaware of what this condition means, I’m gonna help you out. It’s actually what it says it is: a condition where a dog has a shorter spine than he’s supposed to have.

Spinal deformities are quite common with dogs; however, most spinal deformities are a result of injuries.

But, this deformity, short spine syndrome, is quite rare, and only around 30 dogs in the world are known to have it. |1|

Short spine syndrome is a result of inbreeding.

Thanks to research |1| conducted by Dr. Hansen back in 1968, we have a better look into the matter, and we know what actually happens with the dog’s spine. The problem is that the dog’s vertebrae do not develop fully. They remain in the form of cartilage. 

Sometimes, the vertebrae are so clenched together that it does not flex like a normal spine.

This is what a short spine looks like:

short spin picture on rendgen
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And, this is what a normal spine looks like: 

normal spin picture
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This deformity actually affects the dog’s ability to move properly. Dogs with this condition can have issues with walking, or performing strenuous tasks like swimming, hiking, or jumping. 

Nonetheless, this syndrome also means that a dog affected by it won’t be able to move his head. In order to turn around, he will have to move his entire body.

The short spine affects other parts of the dog’s body, too. That’s why you’ll see dogs having a shorter and curled tail. They don’t wag as other tails do. 

Lastly, a short spined dog will look a lot like it has a hunch. 

The appearance may be ridiculous, but it’s far from that. |2|

Does This Syndrome Affect The Dog’s Life Quality

Well, unfortunately, it does. 

You see, dogs suffering from this syndrome aren’t really suffering from any pain. They were born this way. Normally, they shouldn’t ever experience pain in their back. It’s not something that affects their lifespan.

But, it does affect their quality of life.

Unlike most dogs, short spined dogs will face problems doing the simplest things. Imagine a big German Shepherd boy that eats, drinks, runs, and walks fine. Now, imagine a short spined German Shepherd. Even eating a simple meal is troubling for this little boy.

You can’t expect these GSDs to perform the same actions as regular GSDs. This means you’ll have to alter the way you exercise and play with them. Jumping after a frisbee or fetching a ball isn’t really possible for these pups. 

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention performing basic needs like peeing or pooping. 

So, if you ever meet a short spined GSD, make sure you help him out. There’s no treatment for this condition, so any dog suffering from it will need all the help he can get from his hoomans.

Meet Quasimodo… A Short Spined German Shepherd

Quasimodo german shepherd dog
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Thanks to their unusual looks, short spined dogs are quite popular. Some even went viral on the Internet. 

Some people love them, some are too uncertain what to think of them. And, some are scared. 

There’s really nothing to be afraid of because they’re dogs, just like their normal-spined buddies.

As I mentioned earlier, there are only 30 short spined dogs in the world, and one of them is Quasimodo. 

Quasimodo’s a happy dog like any other. But, he’s not like the others. You can say Quasimodo is only a half of German Shepherd from the outside. 

And, from the inside?

He’s absolutely the same as any GSD. 

Obviously, he was named after Quasimodo, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Unfortunately, short spined dogs are always facing rejection. It’s not unusual to hear that these dogs were abandoned as puppies. People don’t want to deal with dogs with such an issue. 

That’s too bad. Luckily, there are still good people and rescue centers willing to take them in and show them how great life can be.

When Quasimodo was a puppy, he was abandoned, too. A short spined GSD stray does not have a lot of chances to succeed in life, not to mention survive.

Fortunately, Secondhand Hounds, a rescue organization from Minnesota, found Quasi and gave him a second chance. 

Today, Quasi is still with the organization as their mascot and beloved pet. He’s enjoying the spoiled life he deserves. You better follow him on Facebook for daily inspirational content because Quasi is definitely an inspiration. 

Related: Quasi The Hunchback Hound


Short spine syndrome is something that really affects a dog’s quality of life. But, as you can see, Quasimodo is an exception to that rule. Sure, there are some alterations, but Quasi leads a normal, happy life.

If you ever meet a short spined German Shepherd, or you get a chance to adopt one, don’t hesitate. These are dogs, German Shepherds, like any other specimen of their breed. And, they need love and care from hoomans; otherwise, they won’t make it on their own.


|1| Hans-Jorgen Hansen. (1968). Historical Evidence of an Unusual Deformity in Dogs (“Short-Spine Dog”). DOI

|2| Toshihiko Ueshima. (1961). A Pathological Study On Deformation Of The Vertebral Column In The “Short-Spine Dog”. DOI