Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Michelle Obama tells People Mag puppy pick is Portuguese water hound UPDATE. No pick yet


update 4:20 eastern
WASHINGTON--No lucky dog yet.

Just to clear the record--President Obama and First Lady Michelle have NOT YET picked a dog breed. After touching base Wednesday with Obama White House East Wing staff about a report in People Magazine that a puppy has been selected-- the word is that the final pick is likely not to come until April.

"The Obamas have not yet selected a dog," I was told. Back in January President Obama said the frontrunners were a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound. The First Lady seemed partial to a Portuguese water hound in an interview in the new People Magazine out Friday, but one is not to read into that, I was told, a decision.

WASHINGTON--Hat tip to People Magazine's Sandra Sobieraj Westfall for the scoop: First Lady Michelle Obama told her the long anticipated puppy pick will be a Portuguese water hound. The dog comes sometime in April.

Some background......
More on the Obama First Dog, settling into Washington
By Lynn Sweet on January 12, 2009 11:27 AM | Permalink

BY LYNN SWEET Sun-Times Columnist

WASHINGTON--President-elect Barack Obama revealed Sunday he is closing in on selecting the first dog -- either a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound. Here for one week, Obama and his family explored some of the city over the weekend.
The long-promised dog is a gift for daughters Malia and Sasha. "This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary," Obama told George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's "This Week."


I read this morning that Michelle Obama said that the family hopes to adopt a rescued Portugese Water Dog and that the family has been talking about choosing a name for the dog. I have a suggestion...often, rescued dogs already have names. If they find a rescue animal that is the right dog for them, if he/she has a name...let the dog keep that name. Any rescue dog has been through some stuff that involves difficult adjustments. Changing its name would be just one more of those adjustments. If the dog knows its name and the rescue organization knows the dogs name...please consider letting it keep that name, whatever it is. No matter the dog's name, adopting a rescue dog is a wonderful choice, both for the family that makes that choice and for the animal they adopt.

And now we wait for the blogosphere snipers to attack the Obamas for not choosing an 'American' dog.

Thanks for the reporting, it will be endearing to see those girls with a pet of their own. However, a Portugese Water Dog, is not a hound, but rather a sporting dog, that, as it's name inplies, loves to get into the water for retrieving. I believe many think that it is an ancestor of the Poodle.

I am terribly disappointed in the presidential family, along with their aides and consultants. To choose a purebred puppy over adopting a needy equally loving puppy from a shelter does nothing to educate through example the importance of dealing with our pet overpopulation problem, which results in the needless death of thousands of dogs daily. Shame on all involved in this unfortunate decision.

I still have not lost HOPE and changing your mind is every woman's prerogative, so PLEASE VOTE LABRADOODLE and bring one home to the White House soon!

I hope they let the people vote for the name at

To Karen: Most purebread dogs have a rescue where folks who have a specific needs (such as allergies (like with the Obamas), temperment, energy level) or a love of a specific breed can adopt a dog who needs a loving home. These dogs are sonetimes cast-offs due to imperfections that make them not able to be show dogs. Sometimes the dog is rescued from a kill shelter or a home that can no longer take care of them. Also many shelters will get purebreed dogs on a fairly regular basis. So don't condem the first family yet, they quite possibly may still be adopting.

Who is name to collect the poop-a-doodle. Good for the girls and the family. A dog is such a good companion , also are unconditionnal love. I lost my American cooker spaniel, three year ago, and still dream about him, he was a rescue dog, a year and a half, blond. Was lost from El Paso, and just fell in love with him, and brought him home. I kept him for 16 years. I drove 3,500 miles with him, to Canada. Did not know his name,but call him Rusty. When I went to get a dog, my intuition told me to go THAT DAY, to get one, and here he was waiting for me, I guess.

the portuegse water dog is a wonderful choice. my family has taken 2 of them when they retired from being shown. they love o be loved and obey all of the time. we feel it is a blessing to have them. we are positive the barack girls will love these gentle loving dogs

Didn't President Obama say a month or so ago he would indeed pick a mutt? Didn't he say he wanted a dog with a mixed heritage since his own was similar? I also had hopes that this would be the case. It would do so much for all the dogs who are not for sale, but just waiting for a loving family, in a humane society, or in a family home. It would start a trend. One that would help America, and the underdog. :-)

No, the Portuguese Water Dog is a working breed, not a sporting breed.

The major point here is that the Obama's are choosing to rescue a dog that might have been euthanized or sent to another uncertain fate.
We could all try to mind our own business. We don't own this family.

they cant get attacked for not choosing an American dog.. the problem is they needed a Hypoallergenic dog. And what breeds from America are. I dont think there are... You have the Poodle which is German/French, you have the Portugese Water dog, obviously from Portugal, the Bichon Frise also a french dog, they say most terriers are also hypoallergenic and all terriers are either from Brittain/ Scottland, Germany or Australia. So there are no (that I know of) hypoallergenic dogs that are american dogs... And because of Malias allergies they need a hypoallergenic dog.

Dear Obama Family,

PLEASE, PLEASE choose a very needy mixed-breed shelter dog to adopt ... your example will serve as a model for our entire multi-cultural (and multi-dog-breed) nation!

This is the perfect opportunity to transmute the term "MONGREL" into "MULTI-SKILLED."

Many of us humans can relate!

With best wishes that you will do the right thing,

Ticia Robak
North Andover, MA

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 25, 2009 11:31 AM.

Burris to make floor speech on D.C. voting rights at about 3:45 eastern today. Staffing up. was the previous entry in this blog.

Obamas have not picked dog yet. No lucky dog. is the next entry in this blog.

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