Narrowed choice for Obama dog

January 13, 2009 2:57:17 PM PST
The Obama family has narrowed their choices for a presidential pooch.They will either chose a labradoodle or a Portuguese water dog.

A Chicago area family has one of each.

Why choose, when you can have both? Greg Hiss has owned a Portuguese water dog for nine years. He and his family added a labradoodle to the mix a couple months ago.

Hiss is a huge fan of both breeds because the dogs are smart, active, social and great with kids. Hiss believes they are both a perfect fit for the Obamas.

Toby is a 9-year-old Portuguese water dog. Copper is a 4-month-old labradoodle. Greg Hiss is the proud owner of both pooches. As for which breed is best for the Obama family, Hiss hesitates to take sides.

"It's a tough call. I don't think they can go wrong either way. It particular, I think they're great with kids," said Hiss.

And both dogs are hypoallergenic which is a must for Hiss and Malia Obama. Hiss, like the president, works out of his home so can the first family expect a porty or labradoodle to behave in the White House?

"They are both really intelligent but they are only going to stay away from shoes if taught to do so," said Hiss.

Hiss says both breeds are very social, another plus for the White House.

"Toby is unbelievable, the Portuguese water dog is unbelievable at parties, taking him to street fairs," said Hiss.

So it's a tough call. If the Obamas are interested in history, they may want to go with the Portuguese water dog. The breed has been around for centuries.

"The origin is in guarding and working on the fishing boats. It's a working breed, a very, very active breed," said Rochelle Michalek, PAWS Chicago.

The labradoodle is what they call a designer dog, a cross between a poodle and a Labrador. The mix has only been around for about 20 years. The downside, both are pricey but PAWS Chicago says it is possible to find a porty or labradoodle at a shelter.

"Over 40 percent of the dogs alt your shelters are pure breeds," said Michalek.

The president-elect has mentioned his preference is to rescue a dog rather than buy from a breeder.

Both dogs go for over $1,000 from a reputable breeder. Michalek says if she would advise the Obamas to get the labradoodle because they're a bit more calm.