Not so fast, Portuguese water dog fans: Michelle Obama may have spoken too soon about First Dog


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People Magazine’s interview with Michelle Obama, which suggests that the First Family is looking for a rescued Portuguese water dog that is ‘old enough’ and a ‘match’ for the family dynamic, may not be quite accurate, her press secretary Katie McCormick Lelyveld said today. The Chicago Tribune reports:

‘They have not selected a breed,’ Lelyveld said. ‘Mrs. Obama likes the Portuguese water dog, but she is only one of four votes.’ ‘Their primary focus now is that they get a dog that works with their lifestyle,’ Lelyveld said.


President Obama told ABC News’ George Stephanopolous last month that the family had narrowed their search for a new pet to either a Portuguese water dog or a Labradoodle (a Labrador retriever-poodle cross thought of by many dog fanciers as a ‘designer dog’). From the Tribune’s politics blog, The Swamp:

If the Obamas do decide on a Portuguese water dog, that might be difficult, says Mary Harkins, coordinator of rescue and relocation for the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America. A very active breed, some Portuguese water dogs ‘are without an off-switch - they just go all day,’ Harkins explains. ‘It might be a little bit too much for a family who has never owned a dog before, especially this family.’ The No. 1 reason that Portuguese water dogs are rescued, Harkins says, is because owners who bought them as puppies didn’t realize their prodigious activity levels.

Very few ‘Porties,’ as the breed is often called for short, turn up in rescue groups, according to Harkins. (Several offers have been made, including one from a shelter in Canada, to provide the Obamas with a rescued Labradoodle. The Canadian shelter acquired 55 Labradoodles following a puppy mill bust in December.)

--Lindsay Barnett