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A dog sits in front of riot policemen during a rally against an agreement between Greece's Piraeus Port (OLP) and Chinese Cosco group in Athens March 4, 2009. (John Kolesidis/Reuters)
A dog sits in front of riot policemen during a rally against an agreement between Greece's Piraeus Port (OLP) and Chinese Cosco group in Athens March 4, 2009. (John Kolesidis/Reuters)

In Greece, a new breed of protester that won't be muzzled Add to ...

If there's a protest, he's there, bounding in front of shield-wielding police officers and taking blasts of tear gas in the snout.

Kanellos the Greek protest dog is said to have participated in at least 10 demonstrations in the streets of Athens since 2008, and appears to have trotted into view yet again this week as people rose up against the country's financial reforms.

The golden mutt, whose name means cinnamon in Greek, is believed to be a stray, his blue collar fastened around his neck by volunteers in the city who vaccinate homeless dogs (blue collars for males, red for females).

But Kanellos seems to need very little protection. His daring stunts - sitting like Gandhi in front of a line of heavily armed police officers in March, 2009, or padding bravely down a paint-spattered street in December, 2008 - have made him a darling among protesters and animal lovers the world over.

A Facebook fan page that affectionately dubs him Riot Dog, featuring numerous odes and photos, boasted more than 4,000 fans at last count.

However, some of those fans suggest there may be more than one tough-as-nails protest dog in Greece, or that the one we're seeing now is a new incarnation of Kanellos. There are reports that the original dog died two years ago, and that the cinnamon mutt spotted most recently is in fact named Loukanikos, or "Louk."

YouTube hosts numerous musical tributes lauding Kanellos for his bravery, slide shows of photos and local newspaper articles displayed to the tune of wailing electrical guitars. The dogs depicted are almost identical.



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Whichever mutt is participating in today's civil unrest, mystery continues to shroud the saga of the Littlest Hobo-style canine who sweeps in to participate in the protests and scampers off before anyone can offer thanks.

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