Afghan dog becomes online star from a single photo

The photo featuring Afghan hound Tea that started the meme. Photo / Luke Kavanagh
The photo featuring Afghan hound Tea that started the meme. Photo / Luke Kavanagh

She's got style, she's got grace, she's also an Afghan hound who has more online fans than most internet celebrities.

Looking at Tea, the five-year-old black Afghan hound, there's no wonder a photo of her from June this year went viral, and has been shared more than a million times.

Owner Luke Kavanagh, from Oyster Bay, says his family is lapping up the dog's celebrity status.

"We always thought that she was far too pretty to keep at home," he says.

"Even our weekend walks draw a crowd. She pretends she doesn't need the attention, but she definitely loves it, just like any supermodel."

Tea enjoyed a successful career as a show dog but, since her formal show retirement, her popularity has grown.

One picture of Tea returned more than a million hits online, with blog sites, Twitter accounts and companies using the image.

The photo itself is "nothing special" Mr Kavanagh said, with the family shocked by the reception.

"I just did it one day after her bath. I guess people were mostly drawn to it because of her silky coat coupled with that dignified look that Tea has, but that's just her being her.

"I was seeing it on Facebook and Instagram all the time and people would tag me in posts or I'd get messages from people saying 'look your photo has been stolen again' or 'someone is using your photo to sell their product'," Mr Kavanagh says.

A few advertising companies even approached Kavanagh to use Tea as the official face of their brands, which sparked her second career as an animal actor.

"It wasn't something we necessarily sought to do," he says.

"And it turned out she is a natural."

Tea has now appeared in an online and TV campaign for Harriot and Hounds' dog perfume and is the "spokesdog" for Royal Canine, the luxury dog food brand.

Kavanagh said while the extra income was a nice surprise, it was not enough for him to retire from his regular job.

While the family has been riding the wave of Tea's new-found fame, Mr Kavanagh says he is happy she is officially retired, with no plans of taking Hollywood by storm in the near future.

"Tea just got a haircut, it means that it's less work for us and she gets a lot more down time. She's definitely enjoying retirement, but she's still a queen," Kavanagh says.

While Tea has retired from the show ring, Mr Kavanagh continues to show his Staffordshire terriers.

- Daily Telegraph

- news.com.au

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