Life Style

Meet the dog more famous than you will ever be

So much so, that this guy’s big brown eyes and soulful stare have translated into lucrative modelling opportunities, posing for the likes of Versace and Tommy Hilfiger.

But although he’s world famous, with a reach of one billion on his social media platforms, we’re not talking about a hot young talent strutting down catwalks at Fashion Week, or partying with the glitterati. 

We’re talking about Puggy Smalls – an eight year old pug dog from Kent, and one of the most prominent pet influencers in the UK.

Great Britain has always been a nation of dog lovers, but the lockdown restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic saw an increasing number of households welcome a pet into their family. A staggering 3.2 million of us purchased a pooch between March 2020 and March 2021, with 34% of all UK homes boasting a pup.

Now, pet agencies and animal management companies have recorded a rise in requests for helping a family’s furry friend find fame. Petfluencers like Puggy are quickly becoming big business in the UK, with an estimated 4 million helping their owners provide extra income – or even becoming the breadwinner themselves.

Puggy’s entrée into the world of influencing was almost a fluke, explain his owners, Nick Ettridge and Charlie Osman. Self-confessed pug obsessive Nick had been desperate for a pet of his own – having even had the Puggy Smalls name picked out four years in advance – so when the little dog ‘chose’ him at eight weeks old back in 2014, Nick was quick to spam his own social channels with pictures of his new pal.

‘I decided to create a Facebook page and Instagram account just for Puggy,’ Nick explains, cradling his sleepy dog in his arms over a Zoom call. ‘I only intended to use it as a photo album to look back at memories of him. I didn’t expect anything to come of it.’

It was a meme that was whacked online for a laugh that sent Puggy’s star stratospheric. Having brought his puppy into the office one day, he filmed a quick video of a small Puggy emerging from under the desk. ‘How to sneak your dog into work’ read the 12 second clip, which Nick uploaded to Facebook before bed and forgot about.

‘That’s when everything changed,’ he explains. ‘When I woke up, the video had millions of views, and we had tens of thousands of new followers, who had also trickled over to Puggy’s Instagram.’

It was the first of many viral hits; that same month, seven videos of Puggy garnered upwards of four million views.

‘Shortly after, brands started popping up,’ Charlie recalls. ‘At first, they were pet brands, like Purina and Urban Pawz. But then we had the likes of Spotify and Disney wanting to work with Puggy.

Source of data and images: metro

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