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Dog has short spine syndrome but a big heart (and needs a home)

This German shepherd may look a bit squashed, but he's full of life and looking for a forever home.
/ Source: TODAY

There's a dog out there who might, on first glance, seem like he's shrinking away from the world.

But look again: Quasimodo is actually a purebred, 5-year-old German shepherd who happens to have an extremely rare disorder called short spine syndrome. And he's looking for a forever home.

You may not have heard of short spine syndrome before. That's probably because there are reportedly only 13 known dogs in the world affected by the condition.

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Minnesota nonprofit group Secondhand Hounds, which recently took Quasi in, says on his Facebook page that he was picked up as a stray and may have lived his whole life in a kennel.

According to an article in Inquisitir about another short-spined dog (the syndrome is also known as baboon dog syndrome), the condition is apparently genetic and not a result of lack of space.

The article indicates that dogs who have the syndrome may have normal organs that have been compacted in their frame. This can present problems and shorten life spans in some breeds.

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But good news for Quasimodo: He's not alone. Another article (on points to other owners of short-spined dogs who also have their own Facebook pages (and are sometimes called Quasimodo as well, in reference to the title character from the 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame").

Those interested in adopting Quasi, or other pets, can contact Secondhand Hounds via their website.

Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.