Instagram is in love with a shar-pei puppy that looks more like a teddy bear.
Tonkey is a 4-month-old shar-pei with an adorable wrinkly face, and her owner, Christine Park, started posting pictures of her dog on Instagram in the hopes she would make some friends for herself. Her plan backfired slightly, however, and her pup now has more than 165,000 Instagram followers and 35,260 Facebook likes.
According to Park, she "created a monster."
"8 weeks ago I created Tonkey her own Instagram account for the sole purpose of making friends myself," Park admitted in writing on Bored Panda
. "The way it was supposed to go down: post photo of cute dog, cute dog attracts good-looking friends, good-looking friends want to hang out with me," she wrote.
Park and her boyfriend adopted Tonkey as a new friend for their rescue dog Maxi. The couple decided they wanted a shar-pei because of the breed’s history: In the 1970s, shar-peis nearly went extinct as a result of dogfighting and mass extermination in China. Soon, the breed was smuggled into the U.S., assuring that the shar-pei breed would live on. “Shar-pei” means “sand skins,” which describes the breed’s flappy skin and coarse fur.
Tonkey is “bear-coat” shar-pei, which is especially rare because the bear-face gene is recessive, meaning that both of Tonkey’s parents must have carried the gene.
"We knew this breed was special, and it was decided Maxi's future bestie would be a shar-pei," the Alberta, Canada, resident told Mashable
The dog’s unusual features has forced Park to deal with skeptics who think she may have tampered with Tonkey’s genes. Regardless, Park is confident that her pet is completely Shar-Pei.
“She's a funny character. Her tail wags at lightning speed — even when she's in trouble; those eyes could melt the coldest of hearts. She cuddles every day, loves children, and is friendly and curious towards strangers,” Park told the Daily Mail. “The bear-coat shar-pei
was new to us and we wanted the world to know her.”
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