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January 12th, 2009
09:42 PM ET

Rescue the First Dog

Portuguese Water Dog (L) and Labradoodle (R)

Portuguese Water Dog (L) and Labradoodle (R)

Program Note: See Erica Hill's full report about the Obamas' pet search on AC360 tonight at 10PM ET.

Gail Buchwald
Senior Vice President, ASPCA

At the ASPCA, we are thrilled at the prospect that the Obama family is considering a local animal shelter or rescue group, where there are many extraordinary animals just waiting for a forever home. They could both find the perfect pet and help an animal in need - an incredible opportunity.

I spoke with my colleague Jacque Schultz, a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and Senior Director of Community Outreach at the ASPCA, and she was able to provide additional information about how both the Labradoodle and Portuguese Water Dog might adapt to living in the White House.

“In my experience, the Labradoodle in general would make the better dog for a family with little dog experience and lots on their plates. The Portie is a dog that will demand more attention and training and may be too much for the new First Family...

"However, it is important to remember these are only generalizations. It is always important to consider the individual dog, as some will be very typical of the breed and others quite atypical. I have seen representatives of both breeds that would be a good fit as First Dog.”

Whether Labradoodle, Portuguese Water Dog, purebreed or mixed breed, one of the great joys in life is the companionship of an animal. The selfless love showered upon us by our pets is one of the greatest blessings we can experience.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Gail Buchwald
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Bev C.

    That's good that the Obamas are planning on going to a shelter to get their dog – but what are the odds that they'll find a labradoodle or portie at any shelter? The labradoodle is a designer dog, very expensive to buy. I know of no one who owns a portie – is it because rich people tend to own them? If I am wrong, I apologize.

    January 13, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  2. Pippa

    We've had a Portuguese Water dog for 9 years now, and looked after another one for 5 years before that. They are beautiful dogs, and I have never met one that didn't have a wonderful personality.

    They are always happy, eager to please, happy to be active, especially with children, but also content to settle down for a quiet evening at home.

    A Portuguese Water Dog would be a perfect choice for the new First Family.

    January 13, 2009 at 2:44 am |
  3. Kat

    I hope the Obamas do get a shelter dog, and I also hope that they name it "Rescue." They will set a good example for others.

    January 13, 2009 at 1:37 am |
  4. Shirlee Middleton

    The girls will never find a more loyal 'dog' companion! Get the Porty !!!!(Portuguese Water Dog)
    And they are softer!! We have one Charlie – 11 years old – did lots of research. Will NEVER have another breed! Good Luck!

    January 12, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  5. sal

    Labradoodle is an excellent choice from a rescue shelter. After all, Mr. Obama is coming up with a rescue package, he should get a rescue dog!

    January 12, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  6. Chantal

    The Yorkshire is a doog that is considered the perfect dog for allergy
    sufferers, they have regular hair and not the normal animal hair coat, so they could even have two,since they may be as little as 2 to 4- 5 pounds the are clever and once they are trainned the can do and understand more then people give them credit for .

    January 12, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  7. Susan

    I have lived wth Poodles for 35 years and I am very allergic. I am under a doctor's care. But the good news is that the poodles never bother me. Neighbors have labradoodles and they have the same experience. Stick with the poodle if they could find one.

    January 12, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  8. Teriss

    The Portugese Wter Dog is by far the better pet for the Obama girls because they are less rambuncous that the labradoodle. Puppies will be a little willful for the first 2 years but they do settle down later. The PWD is a great pet and I have the smaller version which is called a Puli, or Hungarian sheepdog. But they are a smaller breed, about the size of a Spaniel. The Obama's will need to take the dog out for walks several times a day, and I am sure there are lovely gardens outside of the Whitehouse that the dog can romp in and have fun with the family.
    I prefer the PW dog, and they are a friendly, happy and fun breed, and my dog Whoopie – keeps me exercising every day and is a laugh a minute. I wish the Obama's well and their new dog will have a wonderful home.

    January 12, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  9. John Foster

    Hi
    The world is in turmoil, fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza to say
    nothing of Somalia and the Sudan Etc. and the media is focused on the President Elect's dog! Get real.

    January 12, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  10. Ann Lurie

    A Golden Doodle - Golden Retriever/Poodle rather than Lab/Poodle. I'm a Chicagoan, big supporter of Pet Spay/Neuter, etc. In Chicago. I've had dogs all my life, now a Golden Doodle; best dog I've every had!

    January 12, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  11. Libogoma

    WOW!...the fact that they are from a local shelter is the best...way to go OBAMA.....may the best be FIRST!!

    January 12, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  12. Tiffany

    We vote for the Labradoodle and my 8 year old daughter has suggested that the girls name the dog, SAM, for Sasha and Malia.

    January 12, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  13. Barbara C Davis

    My three young granddaughters had a Portugese Water Dog. His name was Jesse. He was the best dog those girls could have had. When the doorbell rang and they went running to the door, he would get between them and who wanted to come in. When approval was made that it was okay for that person to be admitted, he stayed close by in a protective mode. They slept on him. They would take him for a walk. The perfect family dog. His black curly hair was so beautiful. A small hand in his mouth was okay. Very intelligent and easily trained. He would be the perfect dog for the White House.

    January 12, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  14. Laurie

    Please, someone explain to the masses that a "Labradoodle" is NOT a recognized breed. It is a man-made mix – a mutt. Not there is anything wrong with mixed breeds. They often make wonderful pets, but there is far too much tinkering going on with the mixing of breeds for personal profit. By adopting such a man-made mix, President Obama will not only condone the practice of manufactured breeds, but the resulting explosion of demand will only futher exacerbate the problem – all to the financial gain of inexperienced backyard breeders and puppy mills. There is no guarantee of what you will get or that it will be hypo allergenic! Labradoodles, cock-a-poos, puggles, shih-poos, mati-poos and their ilk are NOT pure breds. When mixes occur, the resulting pups should find good homes through adoption. There are many reputable breeders following careful methods focused on following breed standards, and this is done with the goal of bettering the breed. There are countless homeless dogs in need of adoptive homes. I urge our President to be responsible and adopt a shelter dog or go through a breed rescue group. The AKC can help, but please avoid encouraging the production of more designer dogs. Throngs of Americans will follow your actions! All eyes are on you. Please, Mr. President, please send the right message. Thank you.

    January 12, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  15. Celeste, Murfreesboro,TN

    Having a dog makes a big difference in a person's life, but one must be sure they will be able to be there for the dog, too, and not neglect them. Dogs give unconditional love but need and deserve attention and loving care in return. A white house dog will certainly be a lucky dog and never lonely bringing light hearted joy to the place, as children often do.

    January 12, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  16. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Hi Gail,
    What a wonderful day it will be when there are no more homeless domestic friends. I want to thank Mickey Rourke for remembering to thank the dogs his life.
    Don't we often forget those simple lessons learned by our best friends who love us unconditionally and yet lick the hand who abuses them?
    Thank you President Elect Obama for considering a rescue companion who needs a loving home. What a kind and caring example he will set for all the world.
    You can judge a culture by how they treat their animals.
    Let's take care of God's creatures. It is a good place to start for peace.
    Thanks for the blog! XO'S &
    ((((((TAIL WAGS)))))) !!!!!

    January 12, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  17. Amanda Walton-Algonquin

    It's so hard to choose when adopting an animal, you just want to bring them all home. I used to go to the Humane Socitey and adopt dogs close to walking the Green Mile taking them home and keeping them until I found a good home for them. Unfortunately the more of my own pups I kept having, the less room there was in the house so I had to stop.

    January 12, 2009 at 9:55 pm |