1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Vladimir Putin with dog, Buffy
RIA Novosti  /  Reuters
Smile for the camera! Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pets Buffy, his new Bulgarian shepherd, at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Thursday.
updated 12/9/2010 4:25:56 PM ET 2010-12-09T21:25:56

Vladimir Putin has named his new dog Buffy, but there was no sign in a walkabout for the cameras Thursday that the Bulgarian shepherd had any vampire-slaying tricks.

In fact, Putin said the dog "can't do a thing" in comments carried by Russian news agencies.

But Buffy, a cute caramel-and-white-patched puppy, contradicted Putin, obediently sitting on his command. The restless canine then weaved among the reporters, pushing his nose right down a camera lens.

A 5-year-old boy won a competition to find a name for the dog, which Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov gave to Putin in Sofia last month.

"It's soft, kind and sounds nice," Putin told the boy, Dima.

BLTWY: Puppies for Putin and other holiday gifts for world leaders

Buffy will now have to compete with Koni, a black Labrador, for Putin's affection.

Though U.S. TV show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is shown in Russia, it is unlikely Putin was aware of it.

  1. More on pets
    1. Festive felines: 11 cats in Christmas trees
    2. Boy, beaver wave to each other at zoo
    3. From blocks to stationery, 11 gift ideas for pets
    4. Most popular kitten names: Bella, Max and ... Kitty
    5. 24 fantastic animal photos

Putin, who was referred to as "Alpha Dog" by U.S. diplomats in a leaked diplomatic cable published recently by WikiLeaks, is in his element around animals. They bring out his softer side, a counterbalance to his stern media persona of a man who rules with an iron fist, despite officially holding lower rank as prime minister than President Dmitry Medvedev.

Putin has been pictured riding horses, tagging tigers and polar bears, feeding deer bottled milk and swimming with dolphins.

His persistent presence under the media spotlight suggests he may run for a third term as president in 2012.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. New details behind gunman who killed two NYPD cops

    Police said Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend her in the stomach about 5:45 a.m. Saturday and then fled to New York, where he gunned down two officers in a squad car. Brinsley, who ended up killing himself, had vowed online to put “wings on pigs” after shooting Thompson.

    12/22/2014 11:57:29 AM +00:00 2014-12-22T11:57:29
  1. Gus Ruelas / Reuters

    #SharetheLove: Elton John marries partner David Furnish

    12/22/2014 12:02:11 PM +00:00 2014-12-22T12:02:11
  1. Wet Christmas: High winds, rains threatens holiday travel

    A large developing north-south cold front threatens to deliver rain and gusty winds along the Gulf Coast and snow in the Upper Midwest on Tuesday. The storm is then expected to move northeastward, battering the East Coast with wet and windy weather on Wednesday — right at the prime pre-holiday travel time.

    12/22/2014 11:59:42 AM +00:00 2014-12-22T11:59:42