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Pouting puppy ends Grumpy Cat's reign as the internet's frowniest pet

A sullen-looking pup named Earl is threatening Grumpy Cat's perch atop the throne of frowny, internet-famous pets.

Sullen pup threatens Grumpy Cat's perch atop the throne of frowning internet-famous pets

'Congratulations to Grumpy Puppy on your viral success,' said Grumpy Cat to CBC News on the internet's newest grouchy-faced sensation. 'It's all downhill from here.' (Left: Earl The Grumpy Puppy/Facebook Right: The Official Grumpy Cat/Facebook)

When it comes to the fame game, no star is safe from the threat of being dethroned by a younger, fresher, more buzzworthy version of themselves — not even when they're pets who likely don't realize how famous they are to begin with.

Rumour has it that Grumpy Cat may no longer be the internet's favourite pouty-faced animal now that a new sullen-looking pet has hit the scene.

Meet "Earl The Grumpy Puppy," a 5-month-old puggle (pug / beagle mix) from Iowa who's been tearing up the web since his adorably-grouchy mug hit the front page of Reddit last month. 

This photo of Earl The Grumpy Puppy launched a 5-month-old pooch from Iowa into a social media superstar after it popped up in the r/aww subreddit. (Imgur)

Little Earl appears to have emerged online in May, when the photo above was posted to Imgur and viewed more than 2 million times.

Outside of Imgur, Reddit, and his own growing social media profiles, however, Earl had got little attention until Tuesday when Yahoo News in the U.K. published an interview with his owner, Derek Bloomfield. 

Congratulations to Grumpy Puppy on your viral success. It's all downhill from here. - Grumpy Cat

Bloomfield, 25, made it clear that Earl is in no way a very grumpy animal. In fact, he says his puppy is quite friendly with humans and other dogs.

"The vet said he's as healthy as any other puppy," he said. "He just looks grumpy because of his underbite, wrinkles, and dark complexion."

Calling Earl a "daddy's boy," Bloomfield also mentioned that people regularly stop him and his girlfriend on the street to ask about their adorable dog.

"People usually say 'Oh my god, he is so cute' 'Is he always that grumpy?'" he explained. "[It's] usually a combination of those two phrases and laughter."

Earl's owners, pictured, posted this photo to their newly-famous puppy's Facebook fan page on July 4 to celebrate Independence Day in the U.S. (Earl The Grumpy Puppy/Facebook)

As news of Earl the Grumpy Puppy's funny frowning face spread online in recent months, fans have taken to mashing up photos of the dog with pop culture icons they feel he resembles.

Many on Reddit and Imgur were reminded of Jules Winnfield, Samuel L. Jackson's notoriously crochety character in Pulp Fiction.

(Imgur)
(Imgur)
(Reddit/cazeyr)

This week, after what seems like every news outlet and blog in existence sung Earl's praises, people started pitting him against Grumpy Cat, who's had a pretty solid monopoly on the grouchy-faced pet market since 2012.

"Quick make posters, movies, pens..." wrote one Redditor on the original Earl thread. "Merch the f*** out of his grumpy cute a**. Worked for a cat. Hundred million worked... ;)"

The figure of $100 million mentioned is in reference to 2014 reports that Grumpy Cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, had earned her Arizona-based owner that much money in just two years.

While Grumpy Cat's owner Tabatha Bundesen denied this at the time, neither her nor the mixed-breed feline's manager would reveal how much money Tardar had brought in through endorsements and merchandise since her meteoric rise to internet fame.

Could a line of Grumpy Puppy beverages or a high-paying commercial be in Earl's future?

It's hard to say, but on Wednesday afternoon someone purporting to be the manager of another wildly successful internet pet (Boo the Pomeranian) did leave a message on one of Bloomfield's Reddit posts asking him to contact her about representing Earl.

CBC News reached out to Grumpy cat to see how she felt about having a new grouchy face enter the world of celebrity pets, and she told us the following via her manager, Ben Lashes

"Congratulations to Grumpy Puppy on your viral success. It's all downhill from here." 

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