Japanese Gift to Putin Sparks Akita Dog Boom in Russia


Moscow, Dec. 16 (Jiji Press)—The Akita, a large breed of dog originating from Japan, is rapidly gaining in popularity in Russia, after President Vladimir Putin's pet dog sent as a gift from Japan in 2012 came under the spotlight.

The latest Akita boom was sparked by a video of a Japanese media interview with Putin ahead of his two-day visit to Japan for talks with Prime Minister Abe Shinzō this week, which showed the president coming into the interview room with Yume, his pet Akita dog, and feeding her before Japanese journalists. Yume means "dream" in Japanese.

The video, made public on Tuesday, grabbed the hearts of dog-lovers in Russia, prompting them to seek to buy the same dog as the president's, according to Komsomolskaya Pravda, a local tabloid.

Pet shops in the country started putting ads saying they have the same Japanese dog as the president's or Akita dogs with the same hair color as Yume, in hopes of capitalizing on the Akita boom.

In Russia, breeds of dog originating from Japan apparently grew in popularity after the 2009 release of an American movie themed on the faithful Japanese dog Hachikō, which waited for its owner to return home for years, even after his death. It is not uncommon to see people walking their Japanese dogs such as Shiba in upscale residential areas in Moscow.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

President Vladimir Putin plays with his Akita dog Yume before a press conference with Japanese media on December 7, 2016. (Photograph from the website of the President of Russia)

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