Weighing In On The First Dog

5 03 2009

Anyone that wants to give a dog a GOOD home must be great people, but deciding on a type of dog to join your family can be a big decision.  I am happy to see that the Obamas are doing their homework to find the right dog, weighing every option.  Adding a dog to your family is a big responsibility, and if anyone out there is thinking about running out and getting the same dog as the first family, you need reconsider why you want a dog.

The predictors out there have been pointing to a Portugese Water Dog strongly, but I hear there is still some consideration of a Labradoodle.  Either way, the First Lady has indicated that they will be rescuing their choice from one of the more than 250,000 deserving dogs needing a home currently residing in a shelter, rescue or foster home.  As I am sure you expected, this is a choice I strongly support.  Being a rescue dog myself, I wish everyone would find their four-legged family members from the same place.




The Portuguese Water Dog

They are muscular, medium-sized dogs that grow to be 35 – 60 pounds and about 17 – 23 inches tall.   They are very athletic and active, requiring exercise every day.  They really need a yard to play in, luckily the White House grounds MIGHT be just enough.  The gardeners may find some competition digging next to them in the Rose Garden, but it seems like a fine place for a dog to play!

This breed loves the water and is loyal, very affectionate, great with kids and not difficult to train.  Their breed has a reputation for being easy to get along with other breeds, however, they would need to be exposed to cats at an early age to be friendly to the felines as well.  They are also known as “PWD,” which stands for Portuguese Water Dog and not what I call Tax, which is Pretty Weird Dog.  They have an average life expectancy of 10 to 14 years.  Porties, another nickname, have a single-layered, non-shedding, hypo-allergenic coat and present those coats in black, brown, parti-colored, white or gray.  They also have more webbing between their toes than most other dogs to aid them in swimming.

PWDs were recognized as a by the AKC in 1983 as part of the working breed class.  They exhibit puppy-like behavior for their first two years of life.  They are also notorious chewers, especially if they are not exercised properly.   Unfortunately, they are more susceptible  from serious health problems such as, hip dysplasia, eye disease, skin conditions, immune system disorders and heart disease.  They are considered to be a rare breed due to their low population in the United States.

The Labradoodle

Since they are half of a Labradoodle, let me mention that the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in America, and they have been for many years.  Myself, I have known some pretty good retrievers.  The second half of a Laradoodle equation is the poodle. Typically, poodles do not get the respect that they deserve.  They are hard-working, easily trained, non-shedding and loyal, all great traits that they bring to the mix.  Although some believe this to be a fairly new breed, they have actually been around for about thirty years.

A Labradoodle is a perfect dog for families with older, well-behaved children. (Hint, Hint).  They can play for long periods of time, they do not mind a little rough play,  and they are not pushy.  Labradoodles are extremely social dogs and immediately accepting of new people and dogs.  Because of this, they do not make very good watch dogs, so the Secret Service guys will still have jobs.  I have been told that Labradoodles like a life of organization and structure.  They are very schedule-oriented dogs, which is perfect for the White House.  How much of the President’s life is not scheduled, right?

Labradoodles have a thick, dense, non-shedding coat that can be many colors, from black to chalk.  Their coats are very easy to maintain, but not all of them are allergy-friendly.  The Labradoodle falls into the category of a designer dog, meaning that they are part of the latest craze or fad among dog breeds.  They have recently been recognized as a breed in Australia, and they are slowly working their way up in other parts of the world as their breed starts to adhere to a standard.  Labradoodles will not mind if the Oval Office has no corners.

Just a quick note from me directly to President Obama:  Dogs are excellent judges of character.  Keeping him around all day will tell you who can be trusted.  You are certainly going to want to have him around when Sasha and Malia start dating, so that they can judge potential boyfriends too!  Also, if you need me to visit the White House every once in a while to help keep him in line, I would be happy to.  Just remember that I do not like to fly coach, so sending Air Force One for me would not go unnoticed.



5 responses

5 03 2009
Anne Good

So long as they rescue, any dog is fine by me.

6 03 2009
Amy Suiter

I like this article. Good job, Spike!

6 03 2009

Thank you very much, Amy.

What’s Lucy up to these days?

7 03 2009

So happy the First Family is considering a rescue. Excellent way to bring attention to a great cause.

8 03 2009
Nancy Heltman

I think the Obamas approach to finding the right first dog should hearten us all as to his decisionmaking skills! If he had rushed out the day after the election and bought a puppy mill victim we’d all be in serious trouble!

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