- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Trend-seekers beware: If you think it would be great to pick up a puppy like the Obama family’s new Portuguese water dog Bo, think again.

The dog’s breeder, Martha Stern of Boyd, Texas, says they aren’t for everyone. Known as PWDs, they tend to be high-energy “in-your-face” dogs that need a lot of attention, and their curly coats require a lot of maintenance, Stern said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Stern also bred Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Portuguese water dogs, and Kennedy and his wife Victoria helped line the Obamas up with 6-month-old Bo after his first home didn’t work out. The Massachusetts Democrat and Victoria also have a pup from Bo’s litter. Bo spent nearly a month with the Kennedys’ dog trainer before joining the Obamas, Stern said.

Stern said she didn’t interview the Obamas before allowing them to adopt Bo. She said the first family did a lot of research and already knew the breed’s pros and cons. Bo seemed like a good fit because the Obamas are an active family and have the resources to give him the training and other things he needs, Stern said.

“I wouldn’t say he’s excessively high in energy,” she said, adding that Bo is a “little bit more than middle-of-the-road,” though.

“On a scale of five, he’s probably about three,” Stern said.

The dog’s non-shedding coat also makes him a good choice, given daughter Malia Obama’s allergies.

Stern worries that puppy mills will try to capitalize on the Obamas’ dog choice and start churning out PWDs for an eager public. It’s the responsibility of good Portuguese water dog breeders to try to prevent that, she said.


Portuguese Water Dog Club of America: https://www.pwdca.org/

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