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.

  1. Stories from
    1. Doctor in New York City Tests Positive for Ebola
    2. Lamar Odom Won't Sign Divorce Papers, Kardashians Haven't Heard from Him in Weeks
    3. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's Family-Friendly Dinner
    4. We Whip Up a Recipe From Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt's New Cookbook
    5. Brittany Maynard to Dr. Ira Byock: Quit Talking About Me

"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


More on TODAY.com

  1. Mark Winans

    ‘It’s a miracle:’ Oregon dog survives 150-foot fall

    10/23/2014 9:08:40 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T21:08:40
  1. New York checks suspected Ebola patient

    A health care worker who recently returned from West Africa is being isolated and checked for Ebola virus at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, city health officials said Thursday.

    10/23/2014 7:47:58 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T19:47:58
  1. Getty Images file

    Conan O'Brien gets zinged by Madeleine Albright in epic Twitter

    10/23/2014 11:50:22 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T23:50:22
  1. Reports: ‘I am mad at our son,' says Ottawa shooter’s mom

    The mother of the Ottawa parliament attack gunman said Thursday she was crying for the victims of the shooting, not her son, according to The Associated Press.

    10/23/2014 3:51:20 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T15:51:20