People from all over the world were genuinely confused when a strange bear-wolf creature was found prowling around in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
With his wild, shaggy appearance, it is initially difficult to figure out what the animal – a four-year-old male – is exactly.
His face is bearlike, with rounded ears and a broad snout. However, his wolfishness is unmistakable, particularly in the distinctly canine way he moves around on all fours.
People were beginning to wonder: could this unique animal be the result of an odd-couple romance between a bear and a wolf/dog?
However, the answer to the furry mystery has finally been revealed, and its actually extremely sad.
The creature was taken to Nash Dom animal sanctuary, where Polina Kefer – who runs the shelter – believes staff have figured out the fairytale-beast’s origin story.
Kefer believes we are in fact looking at a cross between a Chow-Chow dog and a wild stray – complete with the distinctive blue-tinged tongue of the ‘puffy lion dog’ breed.
It’s believed the mixed-breed was abandoned by his owners for being aggressive. Once out on his own, his behaviour grew even more hostile.
Medvebaka’s story has helped draw attention to the ‘cruel breeding’ of such dogs, with potential owners being deliberately misled.
Talking to The Siberian Times, Kefer explained:
This dog is a ‘badly-made’ Chow Chow … by those pet markets where irresponsible breeders sell pets pretending that they are a pure breed.
People buy such puppies and once they grow into something like this dog, they just throw them out like a broken toy.
The brown-eyed, strangely beautiful dog has been appropriately nicknamed Medvebaka Potapych – ‘Medved’ means bear while ‘Sobaka’ means dog.
Potapych is a Russian folk name fondly given to brown bears, often associated with fairy tales and legends.
Cruelty behind the 'Bear-Dog' internet sensation https://t.co/dXm4145yjb The pictures are very striking, but there is a sad story behind this abandoned pet, nicknamed Medvebaka (from 'Medved' meaning Bear, and … The animal is a dog that was bred by irresponsible market trader…
— Maggiegal (@infoblogs) December 17, 2017
Medvebaka is now waiting for a caring and understanding home. However, he is currently experiencing ‘serious stress’ and no longer trusts humans on account of his past trauma.
According to Kefer, it may take months to socialise Medvebaka, who has been said to fight and bite back due to stress.
His new owner is going to have to be a very special and patient sort of person indeed as animal activists in the area have never encountered anything quite like him.
According to The Sun, animal activist Igor has spoken out about the creature’s tricky temperment:
It has a difficult character, actually a little noxious.
We had a tough time with it, while we were transporting it.
The new owner would have to spend a lot of time in order to figure out [am] individual approach to this dog.
Sadly, one person has already tried to bring Medvebaka home – only to be forced to bring him back to the shelter:
The dog hid inside an outdoor kennel and refused to come out.
With his new family he was trying to escape.
He hated the leash, and showed no interest whatsoever in making friends.
We tried our best foods on him, but the dog is clearly so stressed that it might take weeks, if not months, to help him trust people again.
— Slavorum.org (@Slavorum_org) December 14, 2017
Lets just hope there’s a true animal lover out there who can show Medvebaka the kindness he so desperately deserves.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.