21 Reasons This Dog Is the Best Dog in the World

9 minute read

Every dog owner thinks their dog is the Best Dog in the World (shout-out to Stanley Grossman, always #1 in my heart) but the truth is, only one of us can be right. And that honor goes to Shinjiro Ono, proud owner of Maru, who really is the Best Dog in the World.

Maru, a Shiba Inu living in Japan, is everything the Best Dog in the World should be: inspirational, handsome, photogenic, friendly, and, most of all, fluffy. He is so, so fluffy.

Neither hyperactive nor aloof, Maru’s personality is truly what makes him “the world’s dog.” He’s mellow enough to cuddle with at night, fun enough to play fetch, and he isn’t above a sprightly dance or a totally spontaneous freakout. Can’t you imagine him at your feet as you read this? Don’t you want to pet him? Don’t you want to squeeze him? Don’t you love that his name is Japanese for “round”?

Rather than keep the Best Dog in the World all for himself (as one understandably might), owner Shinjiro Ono is generous enough to share this glorious canine with the world through an Instagram account, which has an impressive 1.8 million followers. So, with the help of some Instagram snapshots, here are 21 reasons why Maru is the Best Dog in the World.

1. He has interspecies friendships.

Maru gets along with everybody, even goats. And horses.

2. He teaches us things.

For example, how to make “the fluffy ball.” Behold:


3. He has a panda backpack (and several other backpacks).

Why would a dog need a backpack? What would he keep in there? The answer is treats.

4. He makes the cutest howling noises.

When some dogs howl, it’s annoying. When Maru howls, it’s pure music.

5. He posts a goodnight photo or video for his fans every night.

He makes us feel loved.

6. He appreciates his mom.

And makes sure to thank her for helping him become “an attractive big Shiba-boy.”

7. And his dad.

He has so much love for the human who takes care of him.

8. He eats clean.

And also adorably.

9. He reminds us to hydrate.

And he sets a great example by always drinking plenty of water.

10. Maru is universal.

Daunted by the prospect of following an international dog? Don’t be! Maru doesn’t rely on pop culture references to be adorable and relatable. Fluffy is the global language. But when he does make a pop culture reference, it’s going to be universal and easy to understand. And bizarre and adorable.

Plus, sometimes Maru teaches us all about Japanese culture, like the annual cherry blossom festival.

11. He makes a good chair.

Maru offers support — be it emotional or physical — to anyone in need.

12. And a good piece of exercise equipment.

Maru wants to help you be healthy.

13. He shows great enthusiasm and determination.

For example, when he digs.

14. His photos are always delightful, even when they can’t be explained.

Maru is mellow enough to put up with the cutest, strangest photo ops.

15. He lets his human bother him as much as he wants.

Maru understands that when you’re a really cute dog, people will want to bother you, and you should really just let them do it. That’s just the price of free room and board and a life of permanent leisure.

16. Maru’s life is better than yours.

What is Instagram for but enabling your daydreams while you’re stuck at work? Unless your job involves drinking from pristine mountain streams, frolicking in lush meadows, and sleeping and playing whenever you want, Maru helps you dream bigger four to five times every day.

17. He’s been featured in art galleries.

Maru is literally art.

18. He works hard to look that good.

Maru is a gorgeous creature, and he works hard to maintain his beauty. This video, called “Making of Fluffy,” shows his grooming process:

19. Before he was the Best Dog in the World, he was the Best Puppy in the World.

Look at Baby Maru. Look at him!

20. He is extremely inspirational.

He sets goals for himself, and then he’s (rightfully) proud when he achieves them. He encourages all of us to have the same attitude.

21. He’s also extremely positive and has a perfect smile.

Maru is often wearing a big ol’ smile on his face, and encourages the rest of us to “be smile” too.

You might still be thinking that Maru is just a dog. Really, though, he’s more than that. Ono began posting photos of Maru after Japan’s devastating earthquake in 2011, “with the hope of easing people’s anxiety, even a little bit,” he writes on Maru’s website. When people responded to tell him the photos were helping cheer them up, he continued to post three photos a day, every day. Now, four years later, Maru has racked up nearly 2 million Instagram followers.

As Ono says, “Photography has the power to transcend all the barriers such as race, gender, religion, philosophy, and politics.” Photos of Maru have transcended all of those barriers, bringing joy to people all over the world. He is cute, he is smiley, he is entertaining, and he truly is the Best Dog in the World. (Also, did I mention he’s fluffy?)

Baby Beckham

Meet Baby Beckham, a gorgeous (and ultra-fluffy) Samoyed who spends his days hiking and going for dips in cold mountain streams. Follow him for a nonstop adventure, but beware that you’ll probably get jealous of his life.


Ginny the Jack Russell Terrier has a wide range of interests, including frolicking, playing, eating treats and, most importantly, napping.


Major the Yorkshire Terrier knows how to kick back, relax, and just enjoy life.

Lucielle Bull

Want to see beautifully composed portraits of a stunning bulldog? Then follow Lucy. Sadly, her photos aren’t terribly frequent, but they’re always worth the wait.


Harry lives in Sweden with his mom, who uses Instagram to document his “pug life.” This mostly includes eating, sleeping, competing with babies for attention, investigating American pop culture, and striking out with the ladies.


With 1.7 million Instagram followers, Marnie the 12-year-old Shih Tzu is a true Internet star. She’s known for her tilted head and her perpetually lolling tongue.

Menswear Dog

Menswear Dog (real name: Bodhi) is an exceptionally handsome Shiba Inu with a better wardrobe than anyone you know.


Chloe is tiny, adorable and fashionable. And, as a French Bulldog, she is very in touch with her roots.

Dean the Basset

Dean is known for his gloriously long ears, his deep love for lounging, and his emotive eyes.

Lilly, Silas and Gustav

For some true diversity, follow these pups: Lilly is a Pekingese/terrier mix and Silas is a Chinese Crested. As a bonus, you’ll also get to know a hairless cat named Gustav.


This is a corgi puppy. Named Burrito. He is perfect.

Doug the Pug

Doug the Pug is the self-declared King of Pop Culture, and once you start following him, you’ll see why. He frequently recreates scenes from your favorite TV shows, eats your favorite foods, and sometimes poses with your favorite celebrities.


Toby, also known as Tobypuff, is a remarkably fluffy chow. You’ll see him do things like learning how to swim, romping around beautiful gardens, and desperately trying to befriend other dogs.


Snowy is a wire fox terrier with boundless energy and extraordinary cuteness. Because he’s only 3 months old, you’ll watch him grow up — and navigate the world of obedience school.


Rufio is a Pomsky, which is a Pomeranian Husky mix. And oh, what a beautiful mix that is. Sometimes you’ll see Rufio doing typical dog activities like climbing into the dishwasher; other times you’ll see him lounging at a beach resort.

Corgnelius and Stumphrey

Corgnelius and Stumphrey (also known by their nicknames, Corgi and Stump Stump) are two corgi brothers living in Los Angeles. After following these two, you’ll quickly see how much they love each other and how cute they are when they play together.


Maru, a very fluffy and very smiley Shiba Inu from Japan, brings joy to his 1.9 million Instagram followers every day. He posts an adorable goodnight photo or video every night, and will frequently encourage you to “be smile.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com