The Unlikely Dog Of Instagram

The darling dogs of Instagram tend to be small and fluffy, with wide, emotional eyes. Google “cutest dogs of Instagram,” and you’ll find happy-go-lucky terriers and spaniels in sweaters. In general, it makes sense that the most popular dogs would resemble the Internet’s first and greatest love: cats.

But lately, all feline pretense has gone out the window with Instagram’s rising dog star, the Shar-Pei. Shar-Pei translates to “sand coat,” in Chinese, which gives you the first hint that there will be no filtered fluff. Nor will you find wide, expressive eyes — most Shar-Peis have beady peepers, often partway covered by furrowed face skin.

Instagrammers seem charmed by the Shar-Pei’s strange appearance, no matter how much they resemble eyeless eeyores. Like pug owners before them, Shar-Pei owners are proud to photograph their wrinkly pets. And more and more, they’re rewarded with followers. Lots of Shar-Peis have independent accounts, like Arena, Pablo, and Thurston — all of whom boast over 1000 followers. If you’re interested in going on a Shar-Pei binge, it’s easy because Shar-Peis tend to comment on each other’s photos. They make a close community, one that will no doubt keep the Shar-Pei spirit strong as the breed’s popularity grows. Like flightless birds or sleepy tree creatures, their unlikely existence makes them all the more loveable.

Words: Ella Riley-Adams