Sunny Obama, a prized and valuable member of the Obama family, went in for a chomp instead of kiss on a guest’s face at the White House earlier this week — much against its Portuguese water dog heritage.

TMZ reports that the guest was an 18-year-old girl who apparently wanted to land a selfie-worthy smooch, ending up instead with a bloody gash in her cheek. Doctors say she will need stitches and will most likely end up with a scar.

This is more than just your average dog-eat-girl scenario, and not just because of Sunny’s co-status as First Dog: Portuguese water dogs like Sunny are notoriously docile. A 2008 study from the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science studied the differences in breed aggression across dozens of dog breeds, finding that regardless of scenario, these dogs do not nip: Whether it comes to aggression with strangers, other dogs, or even rivalry dogs, Portuguese water dogs score next to nothing in aggression levels compared to most breeds.

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Presidential dog Sunny Obama.
Presidential dog Sunny Obama.

Which makes Sunny’s nip a bit of a freak occurrence. But all dogs, no matter how sweet and cuddly, feel threatened when humans get close to their face … especially strangers who don’t do the sniff test.

Kneeling down to a dog’s level and allowing them to smell and see you is rule number one in being friends with a pooch. Failing to do this and putting a strange face too close comes across as a threat and an invasion of precious personal space. Dogs may get afraid or anxious and, at this point, any reaction is possible. It’s simple fight or flight for any animal — which means Sunny might have just been scared.

Photos via Getty Images / Alex Wong, Getty Images / Handout, Getty Images / Pool