An image of an animal with a canine’s body and a face remarkably similar to a bear has been making the rounds online.
Initial reports about the animal, which was reportedly found on the streets of Russian city Chelyabinsk, called it a “mysterious creature”.
It turns out the creature is, in fact, a dog that has been the unfortunate victim of irresponsible breeding, The Siberia Times reports.
The dog was nicknamed Medvebaka, a cross between the Russian word for bear ‘medved’ and ‘sobaka’ meaning dog.
Nash Dom animal shelter picked up the dog and concluded that market traders in the region had bred a Chow Chow with a street stray.
They deduced this from the dog's blue tongue, a tell-tale sign of a Chow Chow.
Shelter volunteer Polina Kefer told The Siberia Times:
The dog is in serious stress. We are looking for some really experienced carers for him, but have not found them yet.
This dog is a badly-made chowchow. Remember those pet markets, where irresponsible breeders sell dogs pretending they are pure breed. Once puppies grow into something like this dog, they throw them out like a broken toy.
The dog has suffered serious mental trauma and “fights and bites back”.
Kefer says it might take “months’ to socialise him and the shelter is looking for a family who can help rebuild his trust in people.