Meet Nova, Rishi Sunak's fox red labrador retriever

The British prime minister has moved his family dog into Downing Street

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty with their dog Nova, a fox red labrador retriever. Photo: No 10 Downing Street
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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's dog, Nova, has made her debut appearance outside 10 Downing Street as first dog.

The fox red labrador retriever is 17 months old and was adopted by Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, after their daughters met former prime minister Boris Johnson's rescue Jack Russell, Dilyn.

Sunak adopted the pooch in June 2021, and shared the first photo of her, captioned "Meet Nova".

Nova's first official appearance was a charitable one.

Sunak and Murty posed outside of their residence to buy poppies and a poppy appeal dog collar from members of the Royal British Legion ahead of Remembrance Day. The day is recognised in Commonwealth countries and remembers armed forces members who have died in the line of duty.

This isn't Nova's first time living on the famous London street. When Sunak was Chancellor of the Exchequer, the family lived at number 11.

Sunak often posted photos of the family pet in his office, once joking on Twitter that she didn't find the British economy interesting, as he shared a photo of her sat beside him reviewing paperwork in October last year.

According to K9 Web, an online canine owners community, they are hunting dogs with "russet-colored coats". Healthy female red fox labs weigh 25 to 32 kilograms, while males weigh 29 to 36kg. They are often mistaken for labradors that have been cross-bred wit vizslas, but they are in fact pure-breed labradors with different colouring.

"Colour doesn’t dictate a labrador’s temperament. They all conform to the breed standard of being loyal, outgoing, and kind. Labradors are simply everyone’s best friend," K9 Web says.

"These gentle dogs are a great addition to any household, even if you have a young child or small animal, as long as your pooch has been well socialised.

"It’s been noted that Red Labs might be barkier but while they will bark at strangers, it’s more of an invitation to play than a warning."

British political pets

Sunak is not the first British prime minister to move a pet dog into 10 Downing Street.

Johnson had Dilyn, a scrappy Jack Russell that the former prime minister and his wife, Carrie Johnson, adopted from the charity Friends of Animals Wales.

Sir Winston Churchill moved his dog Rufus into 10 Downing Street in the 1940s. The dog was run over in 1947 and replaced by Rufus II.

Updated: November 02, 2022, 5:55 AM