Panda Dog: A New Hybrid Species or a Cruel Joke?
What Is the Mysterious Panda Dog? (And How Can I Get One?)
Obscenely cute and somewhat controversial, the panda dog has taken Japan by storm.
Is it a new hybrid species born from an innocent but forbidden love affair between a panda and a dog? (That's a mental picture that's difficult to erase from my mind.)
Or is it a photoshopped image that was created by a bored person in order to pull our legs? (If so, will it one day be categorized under "mythical creatures" along with the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot?)
Oddly enough, it's not so much a mystery as it is a tale of love, passion, rescue, and a big bottle of black (doggie-safe) hair dye...
Columbo and His Extreme Doggie Makeover
Named after the quirky detective in the hit TV series Columbo, this maltese-poodle mix is the talk of the town in Tokyo. His owner, Kensuke Hirakawa, is a former beautician and pet shop owner who adopted Columbo after his previous owner abandoned him (reportedly due to his ugly looks).
Although Columbo was a bit aggressive and barked non-stop at first, Kensuke saw potential in this little droopy-eyed fur ball and took him in. Columbo soon warmed up to his new owner. Poor Columbo had been through a lot and had the marks to prove it—a stiff back leg, tear-stained eyes, and removed canine teeth (to prevent biting). It didn't take long for Kensuke, given his background styling hair, to hatch a crazy little plan for an extreme doggie makeover!
Using completely safe, non-toxic black hair color meant for dogs, Kensuke dyed parts of Columbo's dingy white fur to mimic a panda's striking patterning.
And boy did he stand out! Once a mixed-breed mongrel tossed aside because of his looks, Columbo is not only the most talked about and adored dog in the neighborhood (and probably all of Asia as well), he's also now the poster dog and mascot in a campaign to save the abandoned and abused dogs of Tokyo. Kensuke only hopes that this will help teach others how to be responsible and love their pets. (I know there's a moral in there somewhere...)
Columbo Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Kensuke said that dying Columbo's hair just made sense—the dog had always had stains around his eyes. And the good news is that the dye isn't permanent. Since it only lasts about a month, Kensuke can change Columbo on a whim! Who knows—maybe the dog will show up as a tiger or leopard next month.
But Wait! There's More!
It seems Columbo started a hip new trend—now panda dogs are popping up everywhere!
Take a look at these über chic panda-wannabees:
Panda Chow and Shih Tzu Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
It would appear chow chows are prime panda-dog material. As you can see below, even chow puppies look just like, well, unpainted panda dogs!
Share Your Thoughts in the Comments
So come one and come all—share your thoughts on this strange-but-true oddity from the East that we all know will soon sweep the States. It's only a matter of time, my friends; only a matter of time.