Presidential 'First Dog' revealed

Last updated 11:36 02/03/2009
American Kennel Club
FIRST DOG: The Obama family has reportedly selected a Portugese Water Dog as their pet.

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The world has waited with bated breath but the breed of the US Presidential First Dog has apparently been picked.

First Lady Michelle Obama has reportedly told People Magazine that the family has chosen a puppy breed and the Presidential pet will be a Portuguese Water Dog.

Mrs Obama is understood to have told the celebrity magazine that the First Family would pick one from a shelter in April who was "old enough" and a "match for the family dynamic".

However, in spite of settling on a dog, the naming of the new addition to the family is proving contentious with daughters Malia and Sasha’s suggestions not meeting Mum's approval.

"Oh, the names are really bad. I don't even want to mention it, because there are names floating around and they're bad," Mrs. Obama said.

"I think, Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one of them. Moose. I said, 'well, what if the dog isn't a moose?'."

Portuguese Water Dogs are a non-shedding breed similar to poodles. They are said to be highly intelligent with curly coats and webbed toes for swimming.

Portuguese fisherman used them to herd fish into their nets, to retrieve lost tackle or broken nets, and to act as couriers from ship to ship, or ship to shore.

New Zealand Kennel Club spokesman Philip Lyth said they were expecting a surge in the dog's popularity among Kiwis if the Obamas did go ahead and buy one.

In spite of them being one of the rarer breeds in New Zealand, he said it was possible more breeding pairs could be imported as people became more aware of the breed.

"Of course more people are going to be interested [but] New Zealand Kennel Club always said people should choose a pedigree dog based on the standard of the dog rather than popularity, which comes and goes," he said.

Mr Lyth said a Portuguese Water Dog was a good option for those with allergies.

The Obamas had been very responsible when choosing their dog including waiting till the girls were on school holidays, he said.

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