Whippet are very fast runners, can reach 60 km an hour and have traditionally been used for racing. A rather unfortunate complication has arisen in that some whippets are experiencing doubling muscling, a cramp in the shoulders and thighs.
This is due to a mutation on the MSTN gene which encodes myostatin, a protein important in muscle composition. This mutation involves the deletion of only two DNA bases.
If the dog has mutations in both copies of the MSTN gene then they have the double muscling problem. The parents will have only one mutation.
There is a relationship between speed, muscle mass and a single mutation of the MSTN.
Selective breeding of whippets but not other heavy muscled dog breeds leads to this double muscle condition.
Reported by Shadam in Nature 2007, vol 447, p 274
- Martin Eastwood