George W. Bush says Vladimir Putin once ‘dissed’ his dog

George W Bush and his wife Laura with their two dogs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Providing us with yet another glimpse into the psyche of the Russian President, George W. Bush says Vladimir Putin once dissed his dog when the two world leaders met during his own term as President of the United States. 

"I introduced Vladimir Putin to Barney, our Scottish Terrier, and [he] dissed him," Bush told the audience during a Q&A that was part of a benefit fundraiser for the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

Bush expanded on the comment a few days later when he was interviewed by his daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, as he unveiled several of his paintings of world leaders.

“As you know, our dear dog Barney, who had a special place in my heart — Putin dissed him and said, ‘You call it a dog?’’

If that wasn’t bad enough, Bush went on to explain how Putin had another dig at Barney when he returned the favor and hosted him and his wife Laura in Russia a year later. 

“Laura and I go visit Vladimir and his wife — this was before he decided to be with a gymnast 30 years younger — and he says, 'I want you to meet my dog.' I said, 'Yeah, sure.' And I'll never forget, out runs a huge Russian hound," Bush said. "And Putin says 'Bigger, stronger, and faster than Barney.' "

So, how exactly did the former President respond to the slight on his beloved Barney? “I just took it in. I didn’t react. I just said, ‘Wow. Anybody who thinks ‘my dog is bigger than your dog’ is an interesting character,” he explains.

Bush’s affection for Barney was always well known and when the little dog died in 2013, he paid tribute to him by saying that the loyal family member “never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend.”

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.