Updated: A reader has kindly provided a link to this photo of Putin and his poodle and here’s our updated coverage.
On the eve of the G-8 summit, Reuters News Agency reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been known to repeatedly diss Barney, U.S. President George W. Bush’s Scottish terrier:
(Bush) tells how early in his first term he introduced a visiting Putin to his Scottish terrier, Barney, and the Russian made no secret of his disdain for the small dog…
When Bush later visited Russia, Putin showed off his much larger dog, a Labrador, and suggested it could dispatch Barney with little effort.
Bush still refers to Putin as “my friend” as they prepare to meet on Thursday on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Group of Eight industrial nations at a Baltic Sea resort.
The International Herald Tribune published a similar story with slightly more details one year ago:
During a visit to the Russian president’s dacha, or country home, outside Moscow, Putin’s large Labrador, named Koni, bounded out to greet the two arriving leaders. Comparing his dog to Bush’s much smaller Scottish terrier, Putin turned to Bush and said, “Bigger, tougher, stronger, faster, meaner – than Barney,” according to several people who have heard the story.
Bush’s aides say the tale is a mark of a close friendship that is strengthened by a little needling between the two men.
But Russian policy analysts said they have heard a different message in the story when the president has told it to them. Putin may have been teasing, they said, but the story also conveys a sense of self-confidence married to self-doubt that dates to czarist times – a “mine is bigger than yours” rivalry that can even extend to the presidential pets.
Something that is lesser known, however, is that the Putin household also includes a poodle whose hairdresser granted an exclusive interview to Pravda:
”I make a fashionable trimming for the poodle – in lion’s style. It is a very nice classic trimming. By the way, poodles are becoming fashionable again. We should probably say thank you to the president’s wife for it. The Labrador was one of the most fashionable dogs in Russia for a long time. The trend started in 2000, but it is fading now. That was the time when everyone wanted to buy a “real man’s dog” – the Labrador became a politically important breed too,” the hairdresser said.
Lyudmila Putin is not the only fan of poodles in the political community of Russia. Valeri Bogomolov, the Secretary General of the United Russia party owns one too.
Unfortunately, Scottish Terrier and Dog News has been unable to locate any photos of Putin and Tosya the poodle. The closest we could get is Putin with Ferenc Gyurcsány, Prime Minister of Hungary…and Gyurcsány’s dog.
Let’s hope a Tosya photograph arrives in an unmarked brown envelope and we can publish it just as we exposed the terriers at the centre of the dog scandal involving a Kentucky Congressman.
More on Bad Vlad as he tries to dog bully Angela Merkel.