A Dog With an Unusual Condition
When Ivy began appearing on TikTok, people weren't sure if she was real or CGI. Having never seen a dog like her, they began watching her videos in droves, and she quickly went viral. Nevertheless, no one knew exactly was was wrong with this playful but oddly shaped pup.
According to Ivy's owners, Luis and Maria, she needed to be re-homed when a family friend found themselves unable to take care of their pitbull puppies.
When meeting her, Luis and Maria soon realized she was different. She could not turn her head from side to side and lacked a tail. They later discovered she had a genetic ailment called short spine syndrome, but fell in love regardless and began sharing that love on TikTok. Ivy now has over 3.6 million followers.
What Is Short Spine Syndrome?
Short spine syndrome is a rare, genetic condition that makes Ivy (and other dogs like her) look very compact. Their heads are normal-sized but look like they're fused directly to their shoulders, making it seem like they lack a neck. Their spine then curves to a short, virtually nonexistent tail.
Dogs with the condition are generally healthy and live a normal lifespan. However, running jumping and eating can be difficult.
As the condition is so rare, there is not much information on it. In 2001, geneticist and author Elaine Ostrander wrote a book about the condition stating she believes it results from inbreeding, but that has yet to be proven. Luis said the DNA of Ivy and other dogs like her are currently being studied at Purdue University.
A Happy Dog Every Day
Despite her "shortcomings," Ivy is just like any other dog. She's happy and healthy and makes up for what she can't do in other ways. According to Luis, she uses her ears more animatedly than other dogs because she can't turn her head. This helps give her a feel for her surroundings. (Dogs often tilt their heads to hear or see better as we've pointed out in our article, Why Do Dogs Lick You? Strange Dog Behaviors and What They Really Mean.)
She also gives "side eyes." In normal dogs, this could be seen as dangerous, as the dog may feel fearful, but this is just another way for Ivy to see without turning her head.
Like dogs of her kind, she can't jump, and stairs are difficult. When she sleeps on her side, she often has trouble getting up. None of this has stopped her from loving life. Her owners enjoy every minute of their time with their fur baby, even joking that she is part frog, hence her Instagram name frogqueenivy.
She's in Good Company
There are about 35 dogs like Ivy in the world. In fact, she's not the first viral star with it (that honor originally went to Cuda the Pitbull.) But she is the one currently in the spotlight, and her TikTok page is nothing but love, fun and good times playing with her siblings, Ortley and Gio.
Followers are endlessly curious about everything Ivy does and frequently tune in to watch her doing the simplest things, from drinking water to playing in the yard.
Luis and Maria are proud of the joy Ivy brings to people around the world. Luis said, "We will definitely continue posting regular updates to our fans — it brings us happiness to bring joy through Ivy’s posts. People just like seeing a dog be happy and enjoy life, even with her disability. People like seeing her enjoying things that other dogs do. She’s just a funny gal."