An adorable dog has amassed a barking mad two million followers thanks to his unusual appearance and love for costumes.
Tuna, an eight-year-old chihuahua-dachshund mix, has been melting hearts online due to his less than conventional appearance, caused by an exaggerated overbite, recessed jaw and wrinkly neck.
He was rescued from a farmers’ market in Los Angeles in 2010 by owner Courtney Dasher, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio, who initially intended to foster him.
Eight-year-old chihuahua-dachshund mix Tuna has amassed two million online followers
He was rescued from a Los Angeles farmers market by Courtney Dasher, 37, pictured with husband Ian Patterson, 28, and daughter Grace
Hot dog, I mustard-mit: Ms Dasher attributes the dog’s success to his ‘unconventional’ looks
Expecto Patronum: Ms Dasher fell in love with Tuna and after starting an Instagram account for the pup others started to follow him
Santa Paws: Tuna is a viral hit partly due to his fabulous costumes ranging from Cleopatra to Father Christmas
Bork like an Egyptian: Ms Dasher said there is ‘something about his face and expression that gives people comic relief’
But she quickly fell in love and after starting an Instagram account for the peculiar-looking pup, others started to follow him.
Ms Dasher dressed Tuna in adorable costumes ranging from a ‘tuna sub sandwich’ to Cleopatra, a lion, Star Wars character Yoda and more.
Since then he has achieved internet stardom, and three years ago even led his owner to meet future husband Ian Patterson, 28, while in London.
The couple hope seeing Tuna online will encourage others to adopt and not shop, as well as giving a chance to dogs with special needs.
The Little Furmaid: ‘He has been a mermaid for Halloween, I normally try to dress him in something related to his name,’ Ms Dasher said
Excellent: Tuna’s underbite and wrinkly neck have led some to compare him to Mr Burns from The Simpsons
Celebrity: Since Tuna achieved internet stardom he even led his owner to meet future husband Ian Patterson while in London
Mother-of-one Ms Dasher said: ‘Tuna is very unconventional looking, his features are unique, there is something about his face and expression that gives people comic relief.
‘They get a laugh and he brings them joy, I think he also has the ability to pull more at people’s heartstrings as he looks different to other animals.
‘Tuna challenges people to recognise true beauty captivates our hearts not just our eyes.
‘At first there is normally a judgement about how he is “ugly” and people say cruel things… but now I rarely get those comments and he is celebrated online, people find him adorable, they laugh and enjoy seeing his posts.
‘There are so many people that are cast aside because they are not conventional but people need to give these dogs, like Tuna, a chance.
Jurassic Bark: ‘Tuna challenges people to recognise true beauty captivates our hearts not just our eyes,’ Ms Dasher said
The Underdog With The Overbite: Ms Dasher wrote a book and also launched an annual calendar showcasing Tuna’s most popular pictures and costumes
‘Almost every time I take him out in public he is recognised, I will overhear them say “he looks like Tuna”, when I stop it will genuinely freak them out.
‘I often get approached by people at the airport or if we’re eating in a restaurant on the patio some people will be bold enough to ask if it’s Tuna and to have a photo.
‘It’s such a joyful experience they are in shock and get really excited.’
Ms Dasher recalls when she first saw Tuna and her determination to take him home due to being the underdog.
She said: ‘It was a special moment when I saw him, he wasn’t like all of the other puppies jumping at the cage to get attention, he looked so unwanted.
‘He was shivering and appeared to be really unloved, he was the underdog with an underbite. I’ve always championed the underdog.
‘I thought I would foster him for a while, but I fell in love and he joined the family, he’s such a sweet, sweet dog. I call him my “fur-st born”.’
Ms Dasher started an Instagram page for Tuna in 2011 and after one image gaining traction a year later, he has since shot to fame exploding online.
That takes the cake: Ms Dasher started an Instagram page for Tuna in 2011 and after one image gaining traction a year later, he has since shot to fame exploding online
‘He’s a little boy, all mischievous with a pride about him and then at times he can also be a cantankerous old man in his 80s,’ Ms Dasher said
This would allow Ms Dasher to write a book, and also launch an annual calendar showcasing his most popular pictures and costumes.
‘We annually produce a calendar, we included a Cleopatra costume, Lion photo, and more.
‘I think it’s the expressions he pulls that make the photos.
‘He has been a mermaid for Halloween, I normally try to dress him in something related to his name.
‘One year he was a tuna sub sandwich another time he was a spicy tuna roll, so this time he was “tuna of the sea”.
‘He’s a little boy, all mischievous with a pride about him and then at times he can also be a cantankerous old man in his 80s.’
Drawing attention ‘almost everywhere’ he goes, Tuna hopes to show others the importance of animal rescue.
Ms Dasher added: ‘Since Tuna is the epitome of the underdog, most people advocate for him and adore him for his endearing qualities.
‘His loyal followers embrace his physical differences, have fallen in love with his charm and connect to his message – that true beauty comes in all forms and radiates from within.’