US & Canada

'Pope dogs' craze triggered by papal visit

A small dog sitting on the grass in red vestment and white mitre Image copyright Foxylauralou
Image caption Cubby the rescue cocapoo lives in Pennsylvania and belongs to Catholic High School teacher Courtney Peters and her husband Brian

Pope Francis's visit to the United States has been marked in an unexpected way by some Americans.

From Florida to New York and Pennsylvania dog owners have been dressing their pets in canine papal outfits with the hashtag #popedog on Instagram.

"Everyone loves cute puppies, and everyone loves Pope Francis," said John Scorr from Brooklyn, who dressed three-year-old Puggle Giles in full papal regalia (minus the staff).

"In America, we like combining the things we love.

"Giles wanted to show his support for a more progressive pontiff. Also, I suspect the Holy Father himself would find it funny."

Melissa Joy, who photographed Colin and Erica Cissne's dog Babs, in Philadelphia said: "It's very festive, and embracing of a huge event that's happening in our city."

Asked if the Pope was aware of the trend, a Vatican spokeswoman said: "I don't know if he's conscious of that. I imagine he has more important things to think about."

Image copyright PhillyStomp
Image caption Babs who lives in Philadelphia with Colin and Erica Cissne featured in a number of Instagram pictures
Image copyright KristyKitten
Image caption Moose the dog looking solemn in a white cassock
Image copyright Graciepom
Image caption Gracie the papal Pomeranian from Florida
Image copyright Busterpher
Image caption This French bulldog looks ready for papal walkies
Image copyright MacktheBullyDog
Image caption An 'Argentinian-English Bulldog' ready to welcome the Holy Father in New York
Image copyright Stephen Dost
Image caption Giles the puggle in papal regalia in Brooklyn

Dressing dogs as popes may not be a new phenomenon, however.

The Twitter account PopeDog was set up in 2013 as "a bit of fun", apparently inspired by a video of Pope costumes being made for dogs in Germany that was posted online in 2008.

Remarking on the latest craze, 'PopeDog' who owns three dogs and works in IT in the British town of Swindon said: "The US have always been crazy bonkers for dressing up their dogs, and the Pope's outfits are crying out for some canine fashion pimping - it's a collision of awesome."