Watch the Adorable Moment Dog Meets a Friendly Humpback Whale

Heartwarming footage of a seafaring pup meeting a playful humpback whale has been shared on social media. The video, shared by Monterey Bay Whale Watch on Facebook, has been viewed 126,000 times.

The footage shows a one-year-old Australian shepherd, Skipper, during his first close-up encounter with a humpback whale.

"It is very rare that whales come that close to the boat, but it happens occasionally," a spokesperson for Monterey Bay Whale Watch based in Monterey, California, told Newsweek. "The boat was in neutral and the whales chose to approach us."

Puppy Sees a humpback Whale
Boat Pup “Skipper” A beautiful one year old Australian shepherd coming face-to-face with a friendly humpback whale. He was just as curious of it as all of us were. Monterey Bay Whale Watch/gowhales.com

At this time of year, the whales are preparing to leave their summer feeding grounds in California to head south to their breeding grounds off the coast of Mexico and Costa Rica.

"Sometimes we will see competition groups between male humpback whales, sometimes this friendly behavior, and sometimes a lot of feeding so they can have full stomachs traveling back," the spokesperson said.

Humpback whales can grow to lengths of over 50 feet long and live for up to 90 years. They are known for being one of the most animated species of baleen whales and are often seen breaching, spy hopping, fin slapping, and tail lobbing.

As recently as 1988, humpback whales were classed as endangered by the IUCN but, thanks to the prohibition of commercial whaling of this species, their populations are beginning to recover.

Monterey Bay Whale Watch, which runs regular whale-watching tours for visitors in Monterey Bay, has reported an increase in "friendly" whale encounters in recent years. They have speculated that this is perhaps because younger whales have never known whaling and are less scared of human boats than their predecessors.

The bay is also home to blue whales, gray whales, killer whales, dolphins and porpoises, seals, and sea lions. As well as running these tours, the team at Monterey Bay Whale Watch collects scientific data on the abundance, distribution, and behaviors of the different marine species they encounter.

Captain Nancy Black, a marine biologist and the owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch, has been bringing her dogs on these boating trips for the last 30 years. "Skipper is mostly there to just be a cute dog and make the passengers smile," the spokesperson said.

"Skipper is a young, curious, and energetic pup. He loves people and is always interested in the whales or dolphins, though this is the first time he has really gotten up close and personal with a whale!"

Humpback whale breaching
Stock image of a humpback whale breaching the surface. They are perhaps the most animated species of baleen whale. MarkMalleson/Getty