Genetic Defects: Dwarfism

An example of a normal sized (left) and dwarf (right) Hereford calf at The University of California, Davis

An example of a normal sized (left) and dwarf (right) Hereford calf at The University of California, Davis

Dwarfism is known to affect multiple breeds in cattle but most often found in Angus and Hereford cattle. Two genetic mutations have been found for bulldog dwarfism in Dexter cattle, but it is unknown if other breeds carry the same mutation.

Dwarf calves often have multiple defects which may include cleft palate, overshot jaws, short and/or broad heads, bowed legs, joints that are too lax, and shortness of breath. Not all dwarfs will exhibit all of these defects, but most will have one or more in addition to being abnormally short.