Central Asian shepherd: ‘My pet dog is so big people mistake him for a pony or a lion’
“My daughters were scared of him initially because of his size. But after a few walks they got used to him.”
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Jamal Miah adopted Kenzo, a Central Asian shepherd, after a friend gave him up because the pooch had become too big.
Kenzo, three, is six feet tall when he stands on his hind legs, and weighs a whopping 85 kilos - the average weight of a fully grown man.
Passers-by are often shocked when they see Kenzo with many crossing the street to avoid walking past the huge dog.
Caring for Kenzo comes at a cost. The big dog eats five pounds of raw meat a day. In total, Jamal spends £1,200-a-year on food for Kenzo.
Jamal, from east London, said: "We saw him and said 'oh my god'. He's so big and he's just a puppy.
"It's 50/50. Some people are scared and cross the street when they see him, and others just want to stroke and pet him.
"People will question me, like: 'What is this dog'? They'll say: 'What is that? Is that a pony? Is it a lion?’
"My daughters were scared of him initially because of his size. But after a few walks they got used to him. He knows they're my daughters, so he's their natural protector now."
Jamal has had Kenzo for a couple years now and has had to fool-proof his home to accommodate the big dog.
He had to install iron gates to keep him from crashing through his fence in his back garden.
Jamal also had to hire a professional dog trainer to condition him into accepting going inside.
So far, Jamal thinks he has spent about £10,000 caring for his dog including food, training, and general maintenance.
Jamal, the founder of youth development program OMG Education, which is based near Tower Bridge and Shadwell, said: "A Central Asian shepherd is not a dog for the beginner dog owner.
"They are naturally outdoor dogs, and they're meant to be outside.
"I wanted him to be a friendly family dog, and to break the stigma around big dogs like him."
But despite his size, Jamal said Kenzo is "really friendly with dogs and people he knows" and the two have "a really good bond together".