ROME – (Reuters) – Italian farmer Cristian Mallocci could not believe his eyes when Spelacchia, one of his eight dogs, gave birth to a green-furred puppy.
The tiny dog, immediately named Pistachio, was part of a five-dog litter born on Oct. 9, all with white fur, the same colour as their mixed breed mum. Except him.
Mallocci runs a farm on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia with his brother-in-law Giannangelo Liperi.
It is extremely rare for a dog to be born with green-coloured fur. It is thought that it happens when pale coloured puppies have contact in their mother’s womb with a green pigment called biliverdin. It is the same pigment that causes the green colour in bruises.
However, Pistachio’s peculiar colour won’t last forever. The bright green his fur had on the day of his birth has faded day by day and it will continue to do so as he gets older.
While his brothers and sisters will be given away to new homes, Mallocci will keep Pistachio on his farm and train him up to look after the sheep with his mother Spelacchia (Italian for “mangy”).
Mallocci said that during these tough times of the coronavirus pandemic, green is the symbol of hope and luck, so maybe it was meant to be that Pistachio could put a smile on people’s faces.
How is a green puppy born ?
“Each puppy is located within their own sac in the uterus, and the sac is full of fluid,” Cianciulli told CNN. “If they have meconium in that sac, it will actually stain their fur.”
Meconium is an infant mammal’s first stool. The color is temporary and goes away as the puppy gets bathed or cleaned by the mother.
This means that soon enough, green fur will turn white.
Most puppies aren’t born green, but it does happen from time to time, said Cianciulli. If a puppy has dark fur, it might not even be noticeable.