green puppy in Italy
Pistachio is different to his siblings who have the same fur as their mother.
Cristian Mallocci/Reuters
  • Cristian Mallocci, a farmer from Sardinia, Italy, was shocked to see one of his dogs had given birth to a green puppy earlier this month.
  • The appropriately named Pistachio will stay with his mother and be raised to help Mallocci with the sheep on his farm.
  • The phenomenon could be attributed to a pigment called biliverdin, or to meconium, which stains the fur in the womb.
  • Pistachio’s green-tinged fur has already begun to fade and will totally disappear within a few weeks.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A farmer in Italy was given a pleasant surprise when he found that one of his dogs gave birth to a puppy with bright green fur.

Cristian Mallocci, who lives on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, was stunned to see the arrival of the green-furred puppy on October 9, one of five born to his dog Spelacchia.

The rest of its siblings were born with white fur, much like their mother, who is mixed-breed and one of eight that Mallocci owns.

Named Pistachio after the nut of a similar color, Mallocci told Reuters that he plans to keep the puppy and raise it to help look after the sheep alongside his mother. Pistachio’s siblings will be given away to new homes.

While dogs come in all shapes and colors, green is extremely rare and can be attributed to a couple of different factors.

The first is biliverdin, a bile pigment that can be found in green-colored bruises, as per Reuters. The second is a result of the fur being stained by the infant producing stool in the mother's womb for the first time, known as meconium.

2020 10 22T085702Z_1306664720_RC2KNJ9LBF4T_RTRMADP_3_ITALY GREEN PUPPY.JPG
Named "Pistachio" because of his green fur, his owner says green is a symbol of hope and luck.
Cristian Mallocci/Reuters

However, the pigment is not permanent and will disappear over time as his mother bathes him. Mallocci told Reuters that the dog's fur has already begun to fade.

It's not the first time this has happened recently. A puppy named "Hulk" was born a similar shade of green earlier this year in North Carolina and apparently, he has an "aggressive appetite."

There has been a steady trend of pet owners dying their pets different colors too. Insider's Rachel Hosie reported that a café in China faced backlash for painting dogs to look like pandas for social media "likes" last year.

As for Pistachio, it's clear that Mallocci has great plans for him as he said that green is the color of hope and luck.

Mallocci did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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