Strongest Dog in the World Still Kickin’

A photo of a very muscular dog is no hoax. That’s Wendy, a whippet with an odd genetic defect.

Muscle dog Wendy and Arnold Schwarzenegger

If you do a Google image search for the rather generic search term “dog,” the very first image you’ll see (out of 128 million others) is a photo you’ll swear has been Photoshopped.

It’s an image of a big, muscular dog that looks like it has been given a pile of steroids.

In fact, some captions say this particular pooch is the “strongest dog in the world.”

Alas, the photo is not a hoax. The pictured dog is a whippet named Wendy.

Why is this dog so ripped, looking something like a canine Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Well, it turns out poor Wendy has a rare genetic problem known formally as myostatin. She’s basically “double muscled,” and weighs twice as much as she should.

She’s bulging from all quarters, and has not just 6-pack abs but something more akin to a 24-pack!

“Wendy Is Doing Great”

“Bully Whippets” like Wendy are currently the subject of frantic scientific research.

These normally sleek dogs (cousins to Greyhounds) have a fearsome, knuckle-dragging “I’m gonna kick yer freakin’ butt!” appearance, but Wendy’s mom says she’s friendly and enjoys nothing more than a good back scratch.

Although the famous dog photo is no fake, there is a bit of a myth going around on the Internet: namely, that Wendy is some sort of covert canine spy for the Russian Army.

That’s ridiculous. Wendy and her mom, Ingrid Hansen, live in British Columbia.

“She doesn’t know she’s got a genetic defect,” says Ingrid. “She might give you a nasty lick, that’s all.”

I spoke with Ingrid by email last year, and Wendy, soon to turn 9 years old, is still doing well. Here’s what Ingrid told me:

“Wendy is doing great. She slowed down a little over the winter, but now with the good weather is gearing up again. She does still like to play and wrestle with my two poodles, and acts like a puppy when she’s doing it. Mostly she does what she has always done; sleep, eat and play whenever she feels like it.”

Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Dave Baker, founder and publisher of Petful, is a journalist and editor who has worked at The New York Times and The Nation magazine. He was also part of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize–winning team at The Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Petful is now based. A longtime advocate for pet food safety, Dave has been passionately tracking pet food recalls for the past 10-plus years, and more than 30,000 pet parents are subscribed to his recall alerts — which often arrive faster than even the recall alerts put out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Learn more about Dave and the rest of the Petful team here: Meet the Team.

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1 Comment

  1. Tamar Love Grande
    Tamar Love Grande
    June 9, 2011

    I’m sure Wendy is a lovely beast, but she freaks me out as much as Ahnold in the Conan movies.


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