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A Couple Welcomes a Surprising New Addition: A Green Puppy!

One Canadian couple just got a surprising gift ahead of St. Patrick’s Day: a green puppy!

Photo: Audra Rhys

Audra Rhys and Trevor Mosher of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, say they feared for the worst when their female valley bulldog—a boxer and bulldog hybrid—Freya gave birth to a black amniotic sac on Jan. 27. They assumed the puppy inside this oddly colored sac was stillborn because she arrived apart from the other seven healthy pups Freya delivered in clear sacs.

But then something amazing happened: the puppy started to move.

Photo: Audra Rhys

“We started to dry her off and noticed she was green and immediately again thought there was something wrong. So we Googled, ‘My puppy is green, what’s wrong,'” Rhys told Global News. Luckily, it turns out green puppies are very rare but otherwise normally healthy.

Specialist in veterinary reproduction Bronwyn Crane, DVM, MS, with the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, explained how the occurrence is incredibly rare.

“I don’t know if I can find an exact rate of occurrence, but I would suspect it is [less than] 1:10,000,” she told Global News, adding she hasn’t come across a green puppy before.

Photo: Audra Rhys

While we’re not entirely sure why it happens, some light-colored pups may gain a green tint when they come into contact with a green pigment called biliverdin during development. Biliverdin, the same pigment that gives bruises their greenish hue, may on occasion contaminate the placenta and amniotic fluid and effectively dye a puppy’s fur. (Just so everyone’s clear: It’s not artificial green dye applied after birth.)

Little Fiona, who Rhys and Mosher named after the lovable character in Shrek, is surely a miracle. But she isn’t the first shamrock-colored pup to make the headlines.

Photo: Audra Rhys

Back in 2012 a golden-green Labrador puppy named Hulk was born in Lancashire, England. A pair of “Hulk pups” were also born in Spain in 2014. More recently, Forest, a green golden retriever pup, was born in the Scottish Highlands in 2017, followed by baby Pistachio born on the Italian island of Sardinia in 2020. At the time, Pistachio’s human told the BBC he hoped his green puppy, clad in the color of luck and hope, would bring us all a little boost of positivity in the coming year of trying times.

While Fiona isn’t the first green puppy to enter the world, Rhys says she feels very lucky to have been part of this rare event, and she’ll have to savor the moment. Unfortunately, green puppies lose their unique coloring rather quickly as they grow.

Rhys says Fiona was initially a light lime green, but they’ve noticed the color fading. “She maybe has a week, maybe two or so, before it is completely unnoticeable,” she tells Daily Paws.

According to Rhys, the couple plans on keeping Fiona or finding a forever home with a close family member if they cannot keep her. She adds it has been amazing to see the amount of people interested in Fiona’s story and the joy she’s brought to so many.