Posted on August 14, 2018

Incredible Dogs: Living with the Big Cats


Dogs make incredible pets, they are loving and supportive, never asking for anything in return but love, a comfortable collar with their own personal dog name tag and a daily bowl of food. They know when we are sad and need cuddles and love to smile alongside us on a playful day at the park or down the beach. Which is why it should come as no surprise that for a few years now, zoos have started pairing nervous cheetah cubs with boisterous, friendly pups, in order to bring them out of their spotted shells. The initiative first started over 30 years ago with experiments at San Diego Zoo but has gradually made its way around the world.

Big Cats and Bouncy Dogs

Zoos are a controversial topic in some cases. However, while there are some terrible zoos around the world that focus on entertaining visitors, that’s not what most zoos are about. Instead, good zoos focus on the conservation and protection of animals both in captivity and the wild, aiming to enlighten visitors to the amazing wildlife from across the globe, while ensuring their captive animals are safe, happy and well looked after.

One of the most recognised stories of a dog and cheetah pairing occurred in Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia, USA, between Kumbali, the cheetah cub who was sadly rejected by his family, and Kago, the lab-mix puppy. The friendship began after keepers had to step in and save Kumbali from starving after his mother’s milk wasn’t enough to sustain him. Once he was back to full health, the cheetah family continued to reject Kumbali, leaving him without a social unit – which is key to a happy, surviving cheetah.

In an effort to give Kumbali a friend, Kago was given to the zoo by a nearby shelter and the two were gradually introduced. Although initially quite nervous of each other, the two eventually bonded and are today inseparable, living together in Kumbali’s enclosure at the zoo.

A dog was chosen for the cheetah cub’s friend due to the relationship dogs and humans share, the personality of the dog contributes to the growing confidence of the cheetah, helping them interact with their keepers and reducing nerves around zoo visitors. As the cheetah and dog are raised together, the relationship becomes a fully-fledged friendship and while it is a fairly new scheme, no dog has been attacked by their fully-grown cheetah friend.

While the zookeepers aren’t likely to put a collar on the cheetahs in their enclosures, your dog should definitely have his own collar and dog name tag. Why not browse our selection of pet tags including sparkling bling tags, glitter tags and colourful designer tags? If you require further information, you can find out more about our products by following this link.

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