Watch out Dilyn, Rishi Sunak’s got a new pup in town

Rishi Sunak has finally caved to the wishes of his children and welcomed an eight-week-old puppy to No 11 Downing Street.

A photograph of Nova, a Fox Red Labrador, atop the Chancellor’s knee and giving the camera the model puppy-dog-eyes was shared on Mr Sunak’s social media on Thursday.

The tiny gundog has already settled in well, and is reportedly a fan of roast chicken and napping in the Chancellor’s red Budget box.

Nova may have the run of No 11, but she will have to share the garden with her neighbour – Boris Johnson’s rescue dog, Dilyn. 

The Jack Russell was welcomed to No 10 by Carrie Johnson and the prime minister in September 2019. He was rescued from Friends of the Animals Wales. 

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A post shared by Rishi Sunak (@rishisunakmp)

Mrs Johnson said at the time he was a “gorgeous little rescue puppy” who was cared for by the charity after a tip off he was going to be "dumped by a puppy dealer because he was born with a crooked jaw". 

Two-year-old Dilyn is often seen out on runs with Mr Johnson, though he’s also known for being mischievous. 

In February the prime minister reportedly called for someone to “please shoot that f——- dog!” after he chewed priceless books and furniture at Chequers. 

The name Nova was chosen by Mr Sunak’s two daughters, Krishna and Anoushka, who had reportedly been pestering their father to get a puppy for months. They also picked the breed and colour, it is understood.

“Rishi was fighting it but finally gave in, and the whole building is cooing over him,” a No 11 source told The Sun.

Fox Red Labradors are not an officially recognised colour by the Kennel Club, but are registered as a shade of yellow.

“The only correct colours are wholly black, yellow or liver/chocolate. Yellows range from light cream to red fox. Small white spot on chest and the rear of front pasterns permissible,” Kennel Club says. 

A detail from a Dilyn-themed Christmas Card, issued by Number 10 in December

Credit: Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street

The colour has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years and prices for the puppies rocketed during lockdown, according to breeders.

Andrew Gyton, who owns Greenfox Gundogs with his wife Rebecca, has bred Fox Red Labradors for over 20 years.

“Prior to lockdown, you would have been (paying) between £1,000 and £1,500 depending on the breeding. You’d pay more for the fully health tested and better bred dogs,” Mr Gyton said. 

But added: “Now under the coronavirus situation, there’s been people selling them up to £4,000 which we think is silly, it’s just way too much.”

Mr Sunak is not the first Conservative MP to get a Fox Red Labrador. He joins Guy Opperman, Paul Scully, Mark Harper, and Marcus Fysh, as well as the former Chancellor George Osborne who often posts photos of his dog walks.

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