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White house welcomes PWD Bo

The much anticipated White House dog has been named as Bo, a Portuguese water dog who joined the Obama family last week.

Though the 6-month-old Bo comes from a breed considered hypoallegenic, Bo is not from a shelter. Bo comes from the storied Kennedy clan. Bo's mother is Cappy, one of several dogs owned by dog lover Kennedy. And Bo is a repurposed pup. The White House will be Bo's second home, having lived with another family first.

Catherine McCormick-Lelyveld, a spokesman for the first lady, said: "They were looking at shelters, but in the end the Kennedys learned of this litter mate of their dog who needed a home and they wanted to give the girls a gift - and here we are!"

Lelyveld further explained, Bo "was previously owned but did not get along with the other dogs in its last house. The Kennedys learned of its availability and got it for the Obama girls."

The Kennel Club has said that it has experienced a 125 percent increase in enquiries about the Portuguese Water Dog, since the Obama family said that it wanted to welcome the breed into the White House as their new family pet.

The number of enquiries to the Kennel Club about the Portuguese Water Dog has risen from 730 in November 2007 to April 2008, to 1646 in the same five month period between 2008 and 2009.
The Kennel Club, which only registered 73 of the breed in 2008, says that it expects this to translate into an increase in the number of people wanting to buy the breed over the coming months but has warned about the dangers of mimicking celebrity dog choices, without properly investigating the suitability of the breed for you.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Communications Director, said: “The publicity surrounding the Obama family’s new dog means that we have experienced a huge increase in the number of enquiries about the breed. This is understandable seeing as it is such an endearing looking dog but we are concerned that some people may be less informed about whether it would suit their lifestyle than the Obama’s were.

“The Obamas clearly did a lot of careful research before deciding that the Portuguese Water Dog was for them. The breed standard describes it as a smart, resilient and optimistic breed and its coat is hypo allergenic, meaning it will not aggravate their daughter’s allergies, so it seems to be the perfect fit for the family.

“But this does not mean the breed is for everybody. The Portuguese Water Dog is tremendously lively and energetic and will need an owner who is prepared to give it a lot of exercise in order to keep it fit and healthy.

“We frequently see the popularity of certain breeds soar, once people have seen them being bought by their favourite celebrities, but dogs are not a fad or a new accessory that can be disposed of at will – they are a lifetime commitment and we advise anybody thinking of buying a dog to make as careful and informed a decision as the Obama’s clearly did.”


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