A pair of rare puppies illegally imported into the UK are the ‘mane’ attraction at an animal rescue charity because they look like miniature LIONS.
The 12-week-old Chow Chow were intercepted by officials and put into quarantine following a traumatic ordeal which started in Eastern Europe.
Now named Dandy and Lion, the cuddly dogs have been taken in by Dogs Trust where they are learning to play for the first time.
Staff at the rescue centre in Canterbury, Kent, can’t get enough of the fluffy puppies, which look like a cross between a lion and a teddy bear.
Dandy and Lion are now socialising with other dogs and they are getting used to the feel of grass beneath their paws.
The Chow Chow is an ancient breed originated from China.
They are the only breed, alongside the Chinese Shar-Pei, to have a blue-black tongue and are thought to have been originally bred from a Tibetan Mastiff and Siberian Samoyed.
But like many ‘designer’ breeds, they have fallen victim to cruel puppy farmers and importers who bring them to England illegally to sell online.
Dandy and Lion had been transported hundreds of miles across Europe before they were found in Kent.
As part of Dogs Trust’s ongoing investigation into puppy smuggling, the charity provide care and support for illegally smuggled puppies through their time in quarantine.
With the Chow-Chow famous for being stubborn and strong-willed, Dandy and Lion will need plenty of firm training when they are rehomed.
The puppies have now been photographed in a pair of flower pots to mark the Chelsea Flower Show and July’s Hampton Court Palace Flower show, where Dog’s Trust will have a garden to celebrate the charity’s 125th anniversary.
Adam Levy, Dogs Trust Canterbury rehoming centre manager, said: “These 12-week-old cheeky, affectionate little bundles of fun would make fantastic pets for loving owners willing to devote the time and patience to their training.
“They can live with children and would suit an active home with calm, patient owners who have the energy to keep up with their new boundless enthusiasm for life.”