The Cincinnati Zoo paired a cheetah cub with a rescue puppy together for companionship and the duo became unlikely new friends.
The cheetah, Kris, was the only surviving cub of the litter when she was born in July.
Typically, when cheetahs have only one or two cubs survive in a litter, they would often abandon those cubs and stop producing milk for them. That’s what prompted zookeepers to hand-raise Kris.
The cub was still left without the companionship that she would have received in a larger litter with her siblings.
“That’s where Remus comes in,” the Zoo said.
Zookeepers decided to make the pup named Remus the cub’s “surrogate sibling” so it would grow up with a friend, the zoo said.
“Typically, people assume cats and dogs just don’t get along, let alone a dog and a cheetah,” the zoo said. “The Cincinnati Zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program has been debunking this myth for years.”
Zoo officials found Remus at a local rescue.
“The team spent quite a bit of time with all the puppies available for adoption at the shelter to assess their temperaments, how well they did in new environments and how they interacted with the other dogs,” the zoo said. “Remus was a clear frontrunner from the beginning because he was very playful, outgoing, had a good energy level and was just a very good boy.”
Officials said there’s not one particular breed that gets along best with cheetah cubs, and it all depends on the dog’s personality.
The zoo has had six other cheetah-dog pairings they say were a success.
“While pairing a dog and cheetah together might seem unconventional, it has an immeasurable benefit to our cheetahs, our zoo and wildlife conservation,” the Cincinnati Zoo said.
The San Diego Zoo has also been matching cheetahs with puppies since the 1980s. The zoo’s cheetah, Ruuxa, and a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Raina, have been companions since 2014.