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Toronto’s ‘Grumpy Dog’ is a pug with rare genetic condition

WATCH: Peter Kim reports on Toronto’s own “Grumpy Dog” and what makes him stand out from the crowd.

TORONTO – Hard to believe Cornelius was the pup in the litter no one wanted.

“He’s just a crazy little dude,” said owner Toni Cusson who’s been busy marketing her lovable pug on Instagram and Twitter.

“Every morning when I sign into his Instagram it’s like 200 ‘likes’ and 50 comments,” said Cusson.

Cornelius has leucism, a rare genetic condition giving him a distinct light-coloured coat. It can affect other species such as birds and reptiles.

More accurately, leucism is a “phenotypic trait” said Dr. Jonathan Mitelman, veterinarian at Kingston Road Animal Hospital and VETS Toronto. “There’s nothing different or wrong about these animals other than [their appearance].”
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Many often confuse leucism with albinism but there is a slight difference.

“In albinism, the cells that make the pigment are present, but they’re not functioning properly,” said Mitelman. “In leucism, the cells that are supposed to go to certain areas to make pigment have never reached there. The end effect is a light coated dog.”

An easy way to tell the difference between the two is through the eyes: Leucistic animals will have blue ones in addition to their white fur or feathers.

Despite his conspicuous appearance, Cusson says Cornelius seems oblivious to his rare genetic trait.

“He loves balls and swimming is one of his favourite things to do in the Summer,” explained Cusson. He also loves people – more so than other dogs according to his owners.

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But he does share his home with a Boston Terrier/Pug mix named Bowie. As for the future, Cusson’s hoping to give her lovable canine as much exposure as possible.

Photo Credit: _mistercornelius (Instagram)
Photo Credit: _mistercornelius (Instagram).

Recently the photogenic pug posed for his first photo shoot. Perhaps one day he’ll be marketed on a t-shirt or in plush toy form at a store near you. Grumpy Cat, watch your back.