Obamas' new dog, Bo, makes White House debut
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Tuesday, April 14, 2009 5:51PM EDT
The Obamas' new dog, Bo, made his long-awaited debut on the grounds of the White House Tuesday.
The six-month-old Portuguese water dog appeared before reporters and photographers, along with U.S. President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama, and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
The president said his family's new dog has "star quality."
Michelle Obama did most of the walking with the leashed dog. Malia, 10, also took a turn walking the dog, although Bo took off running with her in charge.
The dog was named Bo, because the Obama girls have a cousin with a cat named Bo and Michelle's late father was nicknamed, Diddley.
Obama famously promised his daughters a dog during his acceptance speech on election night last November.
Bo was a gift from Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, who owns three of the dogs.
There has been a minor controversy over the black-and-white pooch, as the dog did not come from a shelter, as the Obamas said they wanted.
The search for a puppy was complicated because Malia is allergic, ruling out the "mutt" the president said he wanted.
Bo was given up by his first owners but never spent time in a shelter. In a conspiracy theory being floated online some have noted Bo came from the same litter that Kennedy's youngest dog did and then was returned to the breeder at about the same time the Obamas said they were ready to take care of one.
The unproven theory alleges the dog was planned to be given up so the Obamas could say they "rescued" the dog.
The Obamas made a donation to the Washington Humane Society in an effort to downplay the dispute.
The Humane Society's website says "Thanks, Mr. President, for giving a second-chance dog a forever home.'
Portuguese Water Dogs are known as a very active breed and originally were working dogs who helped with fishing. They also have a coat that requires a lot of maintenance.
But they are a non-shedding dog which should help with Malia's allergies.
Humane societies and dog breeders have said they are worried that the dog's energetic temperament combined with its newfound popularity could lead to many of its breed being abandoned by owners.