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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ahead of his visit to Japan later this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin brought his dog Yume into an interview with Japanese journalists, and the large Akita breed made sure she as well as her master were well heard.
Putin gave an interview to Nippon Television and Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper in Moscow on Tuesday, accompanied at first by Yume, who was given to him by Japan's Akita Prefecture in 2012.
Yume, who was not on a leash, entered the room quietly but she soon began barking loudly at the media crew, who stood still and smiled at the dog. Putin eventually drew Akita's attention with treats before showing some tricks she can do.
"We are glad to see Yume happy and cheerful. However, we were a bit surprised and afraid that the beginning of the meeting would be like this," one of the journalists said, according to a Kremlin transcript of the interview.
Putin said Yume was protective of him. "You were right to take caution, Yume is a no-nonsense dog," he said. "There are many people here, with camcorders running, lights shining and cameras clicking. She is being a guard dog."
A decade ago, with cameras running, Putin allowed his big black labrador Koni to bound into a room where he was receiving German Chancellor Angela Merkel at his Black Sea residence, ignoring warnings from protocol that she has a fear of dogs.
Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Mark Heinrich