A spotted lamb that was abandoned by its mother has been adopted by a Dalmatian on a farm in south Australia.

The black-and-white lamb, a cross between a purebred white Dorper ram and a crossbred Dorper and Van Rooy ewe, has a speckled coat that closely resembles that of a Dalmation.

The young ewe’s similar appearance might have even encouraged the dog to take on this interspecies motherly role.

“It's not unusual for dogs to surrogate all manner of animals, including lambs," Dr. Kersti Seksel, a veterinary specialist in behavioral medicine, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in August. “But we do know that like attracts like.”

The Dalmatian, which has no puppies of her own, cleans and mothers the little lamb, and farm owner John Bolton said the attention has been a benefit to the animal.

“We're not quite sure what we should call it, whether to call it a 'sheep-matian' or a 'Dal-dorper' or something like that. But, you know, it doesn't matter how old you get — if this sort of thing doesn't make you feel good when you see it, then … well I hope never to get that old,” Bolton told The Associated Press.

You can watch a video of the lamb and its Dalmatian “mother” below.

Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Dalmatian adopts spotted lamb
The Dalmatian, which has no puppies of her own, might be drawn to the tiny ewe's speckled coat.