Dog diplomacy is not a formal term in international relations or diplomacy. However, it can be used colloquially or metaphorically to describe the positive impact that dogs or other pets might have on political or diplomatic relationships. This could involve leaders bonding over their shared love of dogs, using their pets as icebreakers, or even exchanging dogs as gifts to build rapport and goodwill.
An example of dog diplomacy occurred in 1961 when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev gifted a puppy, Pushinka, to US President John F. Kennedy. Pushinka was the offspring of Strelka, one of the first dogs to orbit the earth aboard a Soviet spacecraft. This gift became a symbol of goodwill during the tense period of the Cold War and helped humanise the two leaders.
In general, dog diplomacy can be seen as a way to connect on a personal level, foster trust, and establish positive relationships between political leaders or diplomats, even during times of tension or disagreement.
ne example of dog diplomacy in history took place in the late 1700s when King George III of England sent a King Charles Spaniel to the French court of King Louis XVI as a diplomatic gift. The King Charles Spaniel, which had been bred specifically for the occasion, quickly became a favourite of the French King and his court and was named ‘Maltide’. Maltide was given the title of ‘First Dog of France’ and was treated like royalty, given a luxurious lifestyle and a personal servant that attended to his every need. King George III hoped that the gift of Maltide would create a bond between the two countries, and it worked – the two countries enjoyed a period of peace and good rel
ations for some time after the gift.