|REAL PHOTOGRAPH; INACCURATE DESCRIPTION|
Example: [Collected via e-mail, October 2007]
B'liv it or not its a dog!!! The strongest Dog in the World. Working in Russian Army Special Forces.
Origins: The canine shown above isn't "Working in the Russian Army Special Forces," and it probably isn't "The Strongest Dog in the World," but it is a real pooch nonetheless.
The type of dog pictured here is a whippet, described by the American Kennel Club as "an English Greyhound in miniature" and "the fastest domesticated animal of his weight." Specifically, this dog is a "bully whippet," a type of whippet with a genetic mutation that makes it more muscular and faster than standard whippets:
It worked. "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.
"People have referred to her as Arnold Schwarzenegger," says doting owner Ingrid Hansen, stroking Wendy's sleek black coat and white chest.
Wendy was recently part of a genetics study done in the U.S. on mutation in the myostatin gene in whippets, which resemble greyhounds in appearance. The National Institute of Health study reported that whippets with one single defective copy of the gene have increased muscle mass that can enhance racing performance in the breed, known for speeds up to
But whippets with two mutated copies of the gene become "double-muscled," like Wendy. It has been seen before in one human, and also in mice, cattle and sheep, says the study.
The uber-muscled whippets are called "bullies," not because of their nature — Wendy likes nothing better than a good back scratch and isn't shy about sitting in your lap to ask for
A research article about the mutation that produces double muscling was published in the PLoS Genetics journal.
Last updated: 24 March 2010
Camber, Rebecca. "Meet the Incredible Hulk of Hounds." The Daily Mail. 13 July 2007. Harmon, Amy. "As Breeders Test DNA, Dogs Become Guinea Pigs." The New York Times. 12 June 2007. [Victoria] Times Colonist. "Big Wendy the Muscular Whippet." 2 July 2007.