The world’s smallest d-g

November 9, 2012 • 7:09 pm

Via msn now, we have a d-g that weighs half a pound.  Meysi the terrier will officially enter the Guinness Book of World Records when she’s a year old—assuming that she’s not going to get much larger.

It’s hard to understand just how small Meysi is, but seeing it frolic in the shade of a mini coke can certainly helps. We’ve reported on her previously but she’s even more unbelievable in motion. Little Meysi is now 2.7 inches tall, almost half the size of 4.5” Beyonce, the dachshund mix from California who currently holds the title of World’s Smallest Dog. At three months old this tiny terrier from Poland looks more like a teddy bear key chain than a living creature, a keychain that was having the time of its life battling a fringed carpet. When Meysi is fully grown she may very well be officially considered the World’s Smallest Dog. Of course, we don’t have to wait until then to declare her the cutest.

Yes, I posted a d-g, but this won’t happen often.

46 thoughts on “The world’s smallest d-g

    1. I haven’t googled it, but I’m guessing that you think the dog has a “short circuit” in it’s circulation leading to a lot of blood bypassing the liver. So … stretching my anatomy, there’s a connection which shouldn’t be there between the Portal Artery and Portal Vein?
      I’ll guess further, because I’ve heard of several other “shunt-like” situations, that this connection is there to allow the blood to bypass an organ that isn’t needed in the developing foetus, but is needed in the infant. So, one other “shunt” is a PFO (patent foramen ovale) which allows blood between one chamber of the heart and another, bypassing the circuit to the lungs while the baby uses the mother’s lungs via the placenta. there’s another example rattling around in the bottom of my mental bag of anatomy, but I can’t grab hold of it. “Blue baby” syndrome may be related (indeed, a PFO might cause such a complication? But I know it from it’s decompression sickness consequences ; the lungs are very effective bubble traps!)
      I suppose that one could consider the whole placenta complex as a “shunt” which needs to close off it’s circulation pretty soon after birth?
      NOW I’ll google it. See if my anatomy is up to scratch, or do I need to do some revision?
      Goody ! – no anatomy books for me this weekend! Apart from Chris Stringer’s “Origin of Our Species”, which is only incidentally anatomical. And I’ll have to find a copy of “Kitten Kong“, now that I’ve mentioned the Lancastrian pudding thumpers.

      1. I forgot to sign up for follow-up notifications! Gah.

        Congenital portosystemic shunt was what I was thinking of, where the ductus venosus doesn’t close off after birth. The maternal liver does most of the liver’s work during gestation, so the ductus venosus lets most of the fetal blood supply bypass the liver. Shortly after birth, it (usually) closes so the neonate’s liver starts doing its thing.

        Exceptionally small dogs, particularly “teacup” anything, seemed to have them A LOT. I suspect there was some causality, as in the PSS inhibited growth of the dog, but there does seem to be a genetic component as well. Yorkies in particular seem to be overrepresented. So the two together, teeny AND Yorkie, immediately makes me think PSS. It makes me want to feed the dog a high fat meal and see what it does!

      2. I wasn’t at all saying that the puppy DOES have a shunt – but like RedSonja – find it suspicious when you combine breed and size. My next questions would be – parents? Lineage history? Diet? Insulin like growth factor-1 and growth hormone levels?

        1. From the Googling, those sound like relevant questions. For me, cat or dog-wise, mongrel-vigour is definitely the way to go. Let them fight amongst themselves to determine who gets to breed. But always, always neuter pre-pubescent.

        2. From the Googling, those sound like relevant questions. For me, cat or dog-wise, mongrel-vigour is definitely the way to go. Let them fight amongst themselves to determine who gets to breed. But always, always neuter pre-pubescent.

  1. That’s cute? Ugh! That must be a complete redefinition of the word. If I saw that in my house my first impulse would be to step on it. My cats would probably try to eat it.

      1. That’s not cute, it’s twee.

        I am a dog person because I like to play rough. Dogs usually enjoy that, but cats? Cats let you know pretty quickly that the only roughplay they like involves killing things.

        1. Most cats will happily play rough with your hand, which is about the right size for them. But a full-body wrestle between a cat and a human is just too lopsided to be safe.

          I expect dogs would not want to wrestle horses either. (Or if they would, that should not be counted as a reason to prefer dogs over cats.)

          1. My hands — and, particularly, wrists, for some reason — are always scratched up. They’re one of Baihu’s favorite toys.

            And my shoulders are always ripped to shreds, but that has nothing to do with roughhousing…it’s because he spends so much time perched up there, as he is as I type.


    1. A friend of mine (“Uncle Horrible”, in contrast to another friend “Dr Toxic”, who did get his PhD) had a mother who had three of these yapping monstrosities. “Yorkshire Terriers” to the doting Mummykins ; “skip rats” when Mummykins was out of earshot (“dumpster rats” in American).

      1. Can anyone imagine the two trying to interbreed? Meysi would end up looking like she’d spawned an Alien.

        Of course her taking the record not only assumes that not only will she not be much larger when she’s a year old, but that whatever made her that small lets her survive that long.

        1. Even if they can’t physically mate with each other, there’s still only one dog gene pool with which they can both exchange genes. Seems to me that ought to count as being the same species.

          1. I think there are three evolutionary lessons to take home from this.

            First, there is a huge amount of plasticity in the genome.

            Next, “species” is a quantizing descriptive label we apply to an analog phenomenon. Where do you draw the line between red, orange, and brown? It’s convenient to have labels for colors, and there are colors that are unquestionable fits for those labels. But there’re also no lines on the color wheel (rather, no manifolds within the L*a*b* space) where you can reasonably say that this point on the one side is red, but this adjacent point here is orange and this other adjacent point is brown.

            What we actually do have in biology are family trees, and we can say with confidence that this rat-thing and a Great Dane are cousins whose last common great…great grandparents were wolves several thousand years ago. We can have similar confidence that they and we also share a common ancestor a hundred million years ago, and that we also share a common ancestor with every living thing on this Earth (outside of Craig Venter’s labs) a few billion years ago.


            1. It’s not simply an arbitrary label to say that chimps and humans are different species. It’s a biological fact that the chimp gene pool and the human gene pool do not mingle.

              The same cannot be said for Great Danes and rat terriers. Their gene pools can and do mingle. So it’s not arbitrary to say they belong to the same species.

              It’s not about how long ago their last common ancestor lived. It’s about whether there is significant ongoing gene exchange between their lineages.

              1. On the other hand, look at all the ring species, such as that famous series of gulls. We apply the “species” label in those cases, even though their gene pools mingle as much as with canids. And cats, too — not just ligers and tigons, but there are domestic cats that are hybrids with all sorts of exotic wild species. You might be able to get a partial mix with intermediate steps all the way from a housecat to a Bengal Tiger, though I’d hope that there’s nobody unethical enough to attempt such in a controlled manner.


              2. Do people often try to cross a small terrier with a great dane? It would be an interesting experiment to populate an island with a selection of Yorkies and Great Danes – I suspect their genomes would continue to diverge.

              3. Whether Yorkies can mate with Great Danes is not the point. The point is that there are intermediate-sized dogs with which both can breed (and would if allowed to). That makes them all part of one gene pool.

                Your island experiment would change the situation by removing those intermediates. Then there would be two gene pools, but only because you set up the experiment that way by isolating the two extremes.

                Put Great Danes and Yorkies on an island with a mix of other breeds and my prediction is that you would not get speciation. Instead, distinct breeds would disappear after a few generations and you’d end up with a single population of medium-sized mongrels.

                (I would not make the same prediction for a mix of housecats, bobcats, jaguars, cheetahs, etc.)

              4. Put Great Danes and Yorkies on an island with a mix of other breeds and my prediction is that you would not get speciation. Instead, distinct breeds would disappear after a few generations and you’d end up with a single population of medium-sized mongrels.

                I wouldn’t at all be confident of such an outcome. The farther a dog is from the wolf phenotype, the less likely it is to survive at all in the wild. The Yorkies would soon become lunch, and the Danes would likely starve. If there were any sizable predators on the island, the Danes wouldn’t last long at all.

                Gregory, are you comfortable classifying Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls as different species? If so, you shouldn’t have any problem putting Yorkies and Danes in different species.


              5. It’s a thought experiment, Ben. “Island” is just shorthand for “benign isolated environment in which they can choose their mates freely”. Interfertility, not survivability, is the question on the table.

                I’m not familiar enough with gulls to want to guess at how much gene flow there is between adjacent forms.

              6. I still think my observation about the environment in which breeding actually takes place is relevant.

                Tigers and lions don’t interbreed in the wild, but the famously do (under certain circumstances) in captivity.

                …and, to a first approximation, purebred dogs only breed in captivity in controlled circumstances. There are mutts, yes, but generally not that many amongst the purebreds.

                Sure, many of them could interbreed, but their (human-controlled) environment simply doesn’t permit it.

                So, if we have populations that are effectively reproductively isolated, even if there’s the occasional hybrid, isn’t that pretty much the textbook definition of one of the species definitions?

                Now, add in not only the gross morphological differences but the likely insurmountable challenges to a direct unassisted hybrid…and, really, I don’t see how we can’t consider Danes and Yorkies to be different species.


              7. I’m guessing that it’s because the only reason either breed exists is because of human activity and that if we were to stop putting artificial selective pressures on dogs via selective breeding then both the Yorkie and the Great Dane phenotypes would disappear rather quickly.

              8. It took thousands, if not tens of thousands, of intelligently-guided breeding to create Yorkies and Danes from their shared wolf ancestry. Why should it take less for their lineages to converge to some new {ph,g}enotype?

                Turn it around. If we were to put Yorkies and Danes together in a comfortable environment for both, with no other canids around, do you think there ever would be a Yorkie / Dane hybrid? Do you think the two populations would ever re-converge? Or would the Yorkie population continue happily breeding more Yorkies and the Dane population continue breeding more Danes?

                And which of those two scenarios — vague intermixing of all canids or co-located overlapping yet reproductively isolated populations of canids — does their actual environment better resemble? Statistically, the number of Yorkies alive today who will have descendants that are also directly descended from Danes alive today is close enough to zero that we might as well put it at that.


  2. She behaves just like any other happy/healthy dog it seems. It’s remarkable to me how you can scale down the size of a brain so much and not seem to lose cognitive functionality.

    1. Several years ago I read neural analyses of such tiny dogs which actually indicated quite major restrictions on their cognitive capacity. I’d post the link if I could find it.

      The video above doesn’t show much more than what a tame rodent would do. Seeing evidence of their social capacities would be more useful.

      1. Was that analysis on these super-miniature dogs, or just on small breeds in general? Because some of the small breeds are really smart- the Jack Russell Terrier immediately comes to mind, even if Jackies tend to have more energy than a ferret on Jolt.

    2. My vet treats a lot of “little rat dogs” for epilepsy. Apparently having such a small brain makes them prone to seizures (as well as incessant yapping, which looks like a “loss of cognitive functionality” to me.)

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