Over the holiday, an image of two Greyhound dogs wearing matching turtleneck sweaters went viral on Twitter. Their striking looks provoked a number of comments online, but their origin was a mystery. Who are they? And how did they get so stylish?
The viral tweet was the work of Dr. Sindisiwe van Zyl, who goes by @sindivanzyl on social media. When I reached out to her on Wednesday, she was eager to help but admitted that she did not take the original photograph and has no idea where it came from. All she knows is that she saw the image somewhere on her Twitter feed. Eventually, I traced it back to a Turkish user named @atabenli, who tweeted the image the day before with a caption that translates to, “The weather is really cold.” I’ve since reached out to him as well, but the image could be many years old.
“I love fashion and I remember looking at those dogs and thinking, They look HOT!” wrote van Zyl in an enthusiastic email from South Africa, where she is based. On Friday, she tweeted the image with three “fire” emojis to her 94,3000 followers and carried on with her day. (Van Zyl is a doctor who mostly uses social media to spread awareness on subjects other than dogs in turtlenecks, namely HIV-related information.)
“South Africa Twitter made a few jokes and we LOL-ed,” recalls van Zyl. “A few hours later my mentions started going crazy; the tweet had crossed the Atlantic!”
It’s true. The tweet made it to my personal Twitter feed on Christmas Eve, three days after van Zyl originally sent it. It’s since garnered almost 100,000 likes and 25,450 retweets to date. It’s also been deemed a Twitter “Moment,” and spawned infinitely more memes.
There are many things that strike me about this image. When I first saw it, I hadn’t changed out of my pajamas in two days, and the Greyhound dogs looked devastatingly elegant by comparison. They are tall and slim, with impeccable posture that makes them appear as if they’re looking down at you. The winter season has not made them lazy blobs, but rather erect and curious explorers with excellent core strength.
These dogs also have expensive taste. Their turtlenecks are thick and expertly tailored to their bodies — something a human being like myself would have to pay a lot of money for. According to Rachael Staples, who runs a New Zealand–based luxury dog-knitwear company called Mr. Soft Top, the dogs’ sweaters are unique because they cover their hind legs. Based on the prices of other, less-luxurious sweaters for smaller dogs, one can guess that these would cost at least $100.
As many Twitter users pointed out, the Greyhounds appear to be wearing trendy crossbody bags, or Clout Packs, in the photo as well. Based on their surroundings and the quality of their sweaters, they also are likely from somewhere in Scandinavia. (They probably even know how to pronounce hygge.) Yes, these dogs are everything you and I are not right now, which is why this image of them has spawned just as much admiration as disdain.
“These dogs look like the two soccer moms that judge other moms at every event regardless of if their kid is there or not,” someone tweeted.
“These dogs are watching the barista make their pumpkin spice lattes intently. They’ll want to speak to a manager soon,” wrote another.
Jokes were made about avocado toast, Pilates, iced coffee, shopping at Whole Foods, and Ivy League schools. The Daily Mail even called the dogs “Pretentious-looking” and “Stuck-up.”
“This image has been [retweeted] onto my timeline all day and I can’t stop thinking about how it looks like two chic lesbian CEOs dropping their son off at school,” concluded a third, very astute person.
“I definitely got a ‘We’re hoity-toity’ vibe from them,” said van Zyl, followed by three laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emojis. Her favorite response was this one: “These dogs don’t bark they björk.”
From where I was sitting, the general consensus seemed to be: These dogs are pretentious assholes. Sure, if I were to place them on a turtleneck alignment chart, I’d say they were “Lawful Evil.” But who doesn’t love a dog in a turtleneck, besides maybe the dog himself? As someone who wears turtlenecks every single day all winter long, these negative characterizations seemed somewhat unfair to me. These dogs are cold! But perhaps I’m blinded by my own biases. Maybe these dogs really are pretentious assholes.
To get to the bottom of this, I needed to find out who these Greyhound dogs truly were, and if I could even call them that. I did reverse Google image searches and TinEye searches, and even got the Cut photo team on the case. Dr. van Zyl asked her followers if they could find the original. Nothing. I did find them under an old meme template for “Whitest dogs ever.” I combed Reddit, and found the image on a few Photoshop discussion boards, but there was no indication that these dogs were fake. There was also no indication that they were real, either. (If you know more, please tell me.) It’s almost as if they were immaculately conceived on Twitter, making this not a case of good or evil, but a true turtleneck miracle.
In that spirit, let us adore Them.
Update: The dogs live! And they have names! A viral tweet from @DanaSchwartzzz made its way back to the owners, who reached out to her on Christmas. “Thanks for making us famous, from Adiza and Bani,” read the email subject. Their owner’s name is Inez, and she hails from Norway. So, we were right about Scandinavia. Plus, Adiza and Bani don’t sound like pretentious names. According to Inez, they are “proud but cool” about their instant fame. Miracles abound!