Portuguese water dogs high energy, high maintenance

Lucky dog joins first family
February 16, 2010 10:13:47 AM PST
The new presidential pooch- who will make his official debut on Tuesday- will make a good addition to the Obama family, according to a local breeder. But the Portuguese water dog is not a good choice for every family.

The black and white 'Bo' is six months old. President Barack Obama's daughters, Malia and Sasha, named him after their grandfather's nickname.

Robbi Grayson of Tower Kennels has been breeding Portuguese Water Dogs for 20 years. She has two 'Porties,' KB who is black, and Keela, who is brown.

"I think it's a great dog for children, children over 5," said Robbi Grayson, Tower Kennels. "They do jump a lot but all this can be managed by training. They're a very people-oriented dog and they love to please you, they love to work for you."

On Election Night in Chicago's Grant Park, President Obama promised his daughters he would get them a dog. First Lady Michelle Obama said she was a fan of the Portuguese water dog early on. Malia has allergies, so they need a hypoallergenic dog.

Bill Rafferty of Doggy Dooz Pet Styling on the city's North Side said the dog's non-shedding coat makes him a good choice for people with allergies. He also said mid-size dogs are high-maintenance dogs that need to go to the groomer every six weeks. He said Portuguese water dogs are not a good fit for everyone because they are high-energy and need a lot of attention and upkeep.

"they're very good pets for children and families. They're high energy dogs so they're from old working dogs and they like to swim, they like to do things, very independent, extremely intelligent and they make great all-around family dogs," said Billy Rafferty, Doggy Dooz Pet Styling.

Bo was bred in Texas. He is a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy.