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The magnetization reversal of 10 nm thick FePt nanowires has been studied for widths down to 30 nm. Above 500 nm, the magnetic domains grow within a dendritic structure. Below 300 nm, the reversal takes place by propagation of a single domain wall (DW), and the coercivity increases. Below 50 nm, the coercivity increase is such that a mix of nucleation and DW propagation appears. These results suggest that the reversal process is determined by the comparison of the wire dimensions with four characteristic lengths: the dendrite width, the disorder length, the mean edge roughness, and the nucleation distance.