It’s a pretty big collar to fill, but Bo, America’s First Dog is up for the job. After much anticipation and media fanfare, this adorable Portuguese Water Dog puppy padded into the White House and the Obama girls’ hearts. And they weren’t the only ones smitten with Bo. Less than a week on the job, and wouldn’t you know it, the little fluff is an international sensation. Bo’s already got has his own wikipedia page, YouTube clips and countless blog and newspaper mentions. The Obama Administration couldn’t resist officially welcoming him too. Check out and its well-visited White House blog for “Meet Bo the First Dog” fun.

But not everybody’s gushing about this recent appointment. Many animal welfare organizations had fingers crossed the Obamas would adopt a shelter dog, something the First Family had strongly considered. But after deciding on the PWD for many factors including family allergies, the Obamas found it difficult to adopt this carefully bred dog as they rarely end up in shelters. Fortunately for Bo, he found his dream home thanks to another prominent American family, the Kennedys. Bo had been living with another family that just wasn’t the right fit for him so the Kennedy’s brought him to the Obamas. Happy as they are with Bo, the Obamas did honor their intent to rescue a pup with a symbolic gesture: a donation to the D.C. Humane Society to help animals in need.

PWDs are not only intelligent, but they make good family dogs. But they’re not right for everyone. Since Bo’s appointment to First Dog, the breed has received the most publicity since its introduction into the U.S. in the late 1960’s. The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America wants to use this opportunity to educate the public about the breed to prevent snap purchases and subsequent abandonment of the dogs that aren’t working out in their new homes. Stu Freeman, President of the PWDCA states, “PWDs are classified as working dogs. That means they enjoy being given jobs to do where they can display their intelligence, strength and stamina.” And they form a strong bond with their families – even a “First Family.”

America gets a chance to see this breed grow up on the lawn of the White House so read up on PWDs, and check out training tips for the Obamas courtesy of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (ADPT).


The Scoop:

From the White House blog: See photos and the video of Bo’s arrival at the White House


More about Portuguese Water Dogs from the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America


Training Tips for the Obamas and new pup people alike from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (ADPT)