Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he loves Buffy, his new puppy, even though the Bulgarian shepherd leaves puddles and piles around the house.

Buffy, a cute caramel-and-white-patched dog, was given to Putin by Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov in Sofia last month.

Last week a young Russian boy won a national competition to name the male dog. Asked Thursday during a live call-in show as to how Buffy's doing, Putin replied: "Excellently."

Putin said: "He draws me huge puddles around the entire house, and leaves piles. But he's a very pretty boy, of course, and I love him."

Putin, who was referred to as "Alpha Dog" by U.S. diplomats in a leaked diplomatic cable published recently by WikiLeaks, is in his element around animals.

He has been pictured riding horses, tagging tigers and polar bears, feeding deer bottled milk and swimming with dolphins.