WASHINGTON--The new White House dog, Bo, a Portuguese water dog, joins the Obama family on Tuesday, a spokesman for First Lady Michelle Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday.
The 6-month-old puppy is a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), a litter mate of one of their Portuguese water dogs. The Obama daughters named their new pet Bo because they have cousins with a cat named Bo and because Michelle's late father, Fraser Robinson, nickname was Diddley.
Since the Obama's did not get the dog from a shelter--as they thought they might at one point-- the Obamas will instead made a donation to a Humane Society.
Catherine McCormick-Lelyveld, a spokesman for the First Lady told the Sun-Times, "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!
"He moves in Tuesday."
She added later Sunday, "Yes this dog is the litter mate of (the Kennedy) newest dog Cappy. It 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 White House had a national press strategy planned to unveil the long-awaited gift for the Obama daughters, Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7.
The dog was promised to the girls during the election as a gift, whether or not dad made it to the White House. On election night in Chicago, Obama said to his kids, "I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."
But the dog roll-out was foiled after the news leaked out from a little-known site, http://firstdogcharlie.com The item was picked up by TMZ.com
That spoiled the puppy scoop that had been promised to the Washington Post in advance of the Tuesday announcement, so the Post went with the story right away. The Post got the puppy scoop because the New York Times got the exclusive about the planting of the White House garden. All of this behind-the-scenes press wrangling is gleefully recounted in the Post story.
On Nov. 7, Obama's first press conference after the election, I asked him about the dog.
He replied, "With respect to the dog, this is a major issue. I think it's generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything. We have -- we have two criteria that have to be reconciled. One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic.
"On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me. So -- so whether we're going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household."
According to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America the dogs "do not shed very much but they do shed" and are considered hypoallergenic because they are single coated and have a "decreased tendency to cause allergies.