Mark Zuckerberg's new puppy, Beast, made a social media splash when he was announced last week — already garnering more than 43,000 "likes" on Facebook. But the new family member is not without controversy. Here are five things you need to know about little Beast.
1. He's a Hungarian Puli, a herding and livestock guarding breed known for its long, corded coat. According to Wikipedia, this cording provides an almost waterproof layer of warmth. While kind and loyal to their caretakers, Pulis require lots of exercise and activity — so the Zuckerberg family will have their work cut out for them. Pulis can exude puppy-like behavior their entire lives.
2. Beast promptly received his own Facebook page, causing some, like Chinese activist Michael Anti, to cry foul.
Anti, a popular online blogger whose legal name is Zhao Jing, was denied a page account last year on the grounds that it violates Facebook's strict policy against pseudonyms. "I'm really, really angry," Anti said in an interview. "I can't function using my Chinese name. Today, I found out that Zuckerberg's dog has a Facebook account. My journalistic work and academic work is more real than a dog."
Facebook defended Beast's page saying the puppy doesn't violate Facebook's policies because it's not meant to be a personal profile page.
3. Some animal activists are upset that Zuckerberg decided to purchase Beast from a breeder in Oregon, rather than rescue an animal from a shelter. With millions of homeless animals killed in shelters every year, having a prominent figure like the Facebook founder save a life would have shed more light on the crisis.
"Zuckerberg had the opportunity to save a homeless dog’s life and show the world that adopting a rescue dog is not only an important action to take, but a rewarding one as well," wrote Scotlund Haisley, president of Animal Rescue Corps.
4. Pannonia Kennel, where Zuckerberg purchased Beast, has seen an explosion of interest in the breed since Beast's debut last week. The owners, Susan and Zoltan Szabo, are only one of a handful of Puli breeders in the U.S., mainly because the dogs are so difficult to maintain. According to an interview of the couple with KTVL, they say most of the dogs purchased end up in shelters.
"It's a challenge for us to filter out the people that are going to adopt the puppies," Szabo said.
5. Beast joins a growing trend of owners adding their pooches to social media networks. According to a recently posted infographic on Mashable, 14 percent of the people surveyed created Facebook profiles for their dogs, while 27 percent did the same for YouTube, and 6 percent for Twitter.