Fusion of monomyoblasts to form multinucleated myotubes is a prerequisite for skeletal myogenesis, and muscle fibroblast–myoblast interaction plays an important role in the process; however, relative studies are limited. In the current study, SLD (sex-linked dwarf) chicken, a myogenic deficient model caused by GH (growth hormone)–IGF-I axis deficiency due to dw gene mutation, was introduced to study effects of fibroblasts on myodifferentiation. Using a membrane insert co-culture system, we identified that, compared with SLD fibroblasts, normal fibroblasts promoted myogenesis of primary SLD myoblasts by improving their differentiation potential in a paracrine fashion, and this effect was involved in both primary and secondary fusions. This process was also coupled with up-regulation of β1 integrin, and reduced myogenesis, resulting from siRNA interference demonstrated that β1 integrin was required for the response. Further, in terms of genetic discrepancy between normal and SLD fibroblasts, GH–IGF-I signalling might play a role in this paracrine control.