Last month, a dog owner was shocked to find out her pet wasn’t what she had thought.
Referred to as “Ms. Wang” in the media, the woman in question had been looking for a dog, but she didn’t want just any one— she wanted a purebred Japanese Spitz puppy.
The adorable balls of fur are a purebred line originating in Japan. Generally growing to be about a foot tall, the Japanese Spitz is known for its playful personality. The dogs have a thick, double coat of white fur, a pointed muzzle, and small, pointed ears.
They are descended from bigger German Spitz dogs that were brought to Japan in 1920. “In 1925, two pairs of white Spitz were imported from Canada, and for the next ten years or more imports came from Canada, the U.S., Australia, and China,” Dog Breeds List explains. “The offspring of all these dogs were crossbred to create the breed that was recognized in 1948 as the Japanese Spitz.
These adorable pups don’t come cheap, though, and their fluffy fur requires a lot of upkeep— but it didn’t matter to Ms. Wang. She had already made up her mind.
Last year, Ms. Wang found her puppy, a beautiful Spitz that she purchased from a pet shop.
According to reports, Ms. Wang only paid $190 for her puppy. However, a quick Google search reveals that they are usually priced between $1,000 and $2,500. I’m not trying to excuse the pet shop, but the reduced cost would have immediately made me suspicious. Regardless, I guess Ms. Wang just figured she had lucked out. She didn’t notice anything weird about the situation until later…
Upon purchasing her new puppy, Ms. Wang started feeding it a diet of chicken breast, fruit, and dog food. But when the puppy hit 3 months old, she noticed a few odd changes. First, the dog gave up dog food, refusing to eat another bite— but then, Ms. Wang started noticing physical differences, as well.
“The fur got thicker when it reached three months old,” she told Shanxi Network Television.
“Its face became pointy and its tail grew longer than that of a normal dog.”
When Ms. Wang would take her dog for a walk, the other animals would act weird around it.
“Other pet dogs seemed to be scared of my dog, so I walked it with a leash, ” she said.
At one point, another person at the park approached Ms. Wang and said her dog didn’t look like a dog. In fact, they noted, it looked a lot like a fox…
At first, Ms. Wang didn’t believe them— but the more she thought about all the weird changes and behaviors, the more it started to make sense.
Hoping to solve the mystery once and for all, the woman brought the dog to the Taiyuan Zoo— where an employee finally confirmed for her it wasn’t a dog at all.
“Based on the size, it is a domesticated fox,” Sun Letian, an expert in animal epidemic protection, confirmed.
“It carries a smell in their body and the smell can get stronger as they get older.”
Judging by the animal’s white coat, I would guess Ms. Wang had been caring for a domesticated arctic fox. “The arctic fox is an incredibly hard animal that can survive frigid Arctic temperatures as low as –58°F in the treeless lands where it makes its home,” National Geographic explains.
“Arctic foxes have beautiful white (sometimes blue-gray) coats that act as very effective winter camouflage. The natural hues allow the animal to blend into the tundra’s ubiquitous snow and ice.”
Before she left, Letian told her that she’s welcome to visit any time.
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