Pope Francis' first trip to the United States has sparked an unexpected craze among Americans - dressing their dogs up in miniature versions of his papal garb.

The trend has seen excited dog owners posting images of their pooches on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram with everything from bulldogs to terriers donning pontiff style hats and robes to take part.

Some of the pictures, which have been appearing with the hashtag #PopeDogs, even come with messages relating to Pope Francis' visit such as "I'd like to officially welcome Pope Francis to NYC, I'll show you where the best pizzas at bro" and "Did you guys hear the Pope is in DC for my birthday?".

One person who may not be following the #PopeDog trend though is the man himself as he is being kept busy with numerous engagements on his six day tour of the US.

When asked about the trend a Vatican spokeswoman told BBC News: "I don't know if he's conscious of that. I imagine he has more important things to think about."