Sochi, Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday got a top breed puppy as a gift from Turkmenistan President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. The Russian leader, a well-known dog lover, cuddled the pup named Verny–which means faithful in Russian– and kissed it on the head.

The dog is from the native Turkmen breed alabai. It is a home-bred variety of the Central Asian shepherd dog. It is officially listed as Turkmenistan’s national heritage.

“We have a common friend – this is the world’s unique alabai dog. And today I brought this little alabai with me,” President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said.

According to reports, the dogs are cuddly and cute when they are pups; but they grow into shepherd dogs capable of warding off wolves. They also guard against human invasions.

Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves and it wanted to sell that to Russia. Russia had been their main buyers and the country now wants to resume the export. The two sides had fallen out due to price disputes. Now China is the largest buyer of Turkmen natural gas. The Turkmen administration wants Russia as the additional buyer.

Japan and Bulgarian leaders had also gifted Putin rare breeds of dogs. Vladimir Putin had turned 65 on October 7.