Masaru, a female Akita Inu dog to be given to figure skating champion Alina Zagitova of Russia, is shown to the public at an event organized by Akitainu Hozonkai (Akita Inu conservation association) in Odate, Akita Prefecture, on May 3. (Yosuke Fukudome)

ODATE, Akita Prefecture--To Russia with love.

Masaru, an Akita Inu puppy, was shown to the public here on May 3 before she heads off to Russia to meet her new master: figure skating champion Alina Zagitova.

Zagitova, who won the gold medal in the singles event at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, had earlier expressed her desire to own an Akita Inu dog.

The Akitainu Hozonkai (Akita Inu conservation association), based in this city, decided to grant the wish of the 15-year-old. The puppy is expected to be given to the skater in Moscow later this month.

The red-haired puppy was born on Feb. 15 and given a name that means “victory” in Japanese.

She weighs about 8 kilograms and is described as inquisitive and mischievous. Adult Akita Inu can weigh around 30 kg.

Masaru was born to a dog kept by Masami Hamada, a 79-year-old resident of Daisen, Akita Prefecture, according to the association.

“With her beautiful eyes, the pup can be called an ‘Akita beauty,’” the association quoted Hamada as saying. “We hoped that Zagitova will take good care of her and make her happy.”

The figure skater took an interest in Akita Inu dogs after seeing their photos when she was training in Japan just before the Winter Games in South Korea.

After the Olympics, the association asked Zagitova to choose her favorite from among several photos of puppies.

Zagitova said in a message sent to the unveiling event on May 3, “I am looking forward to the arrival of the Akita Inu puppy.”

A male puppy born on the same day as Masaru at Hamada’s home was named Shodai, and he will become a mascot of Odate, according to the association.

The global popularity of Akita Inu dogs surged after the release of “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” a Hollywood remake of the Japanese film “Hachiko Monogatari.”

The films are based on the true story of loyalty of Hachiko, an Akita Inu dog who waited for years at Tokyo’s Shibuya Station for the arrival of his master, who had died at work.