Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bo Obama - The Most Famous Celebrity Pet

Bo Obama, the First Puppy of USA

This photo is the official portrait of the pet of the Obama family, the First Family of the United States, Bo Obama, a Portuguese Water Dog, on the South Lawn of the White House.

It was revealed on April 11, 2009 that the First Puppy Bo, the dog given to US President Barack Obama's two daughters Sasha and Malia by Senator Ted Kennedy (Edward Kennedy), was a Portuguese Water Dog. The girls have named the dog Bo since their cousins had a cat of the same name and because First Lady Michelle Obama’s father was nicknamed Diddley after the late musician Bo Diddley. The Obamas chose PWD because Malia has allergies and PWD is hypoallergenic, as claimed by pet lovers.

When President Obama announced he was looking for a dog for his daughters Sasha and Malia everyone sent in suggestions about what he should go for. Obama eventually accepted Bo as a gift from Edward Kennedy.

Incidentally Ted Kennedy (Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy, February 22, 1932 - August 25, 2009) was the owner of three Portuguese Water Dogs named Splash, Sunny and Cappy. Splash had served as the fictional narrator in Kennedy's children's book, My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington D.C.

Portuguese Water Dogs

The Portuguese Water Dog (Cão de Água Português with nicknames Portie, PWD, Water Dog) is a breed of working dog, originally from Portugal’s Algarve region, from where they spread to all around Portugal's coast and later to other parts of the world. In Portugal, the breed is known by names like Cão de Água, Cão de Água Algarvio, or Cão Pescador Português. Cão de Água de Pêlo Ondulado is the name given the wavy-haired variety of water dogs, and Cão de Água de Pêlo Encaracolado is the curly-coated variety.

PWD is a rare breed, a bit costly to be taken care of, non-shedding, and it requires extensive grooming and upkeep as its coat grows as does human hair. Like poodles and other water dog breeds, PWDs are highly intelligent, have webbed toes for swimming, black eyes, and their coats can be black, brown, black and white or brown and white.

As the hair on a PWD keeps growing indefinitely, they must be trimmed every two months and the coat brushed every other day. In addition to grooming costing $75 to $100 a session, this breed of dog requires daily exercise and consistently firm yet positive training techniques.

PWDs are quick learners, have sharp memories, they seem to enjoy the training process, and have lasting memory for instructions, the names of objects and people. Some PWDs may walk, hop, or dance on their hind legs when greeting people.

There are many theories on the origin of PWDs. One such theory claims that some of the dogs left the Asian steppes with the German tribes Goths, while the Ostrogoths went west and their dogs became the German poodle. Some others like the Visigoths went south to fight the Romans and their dogs became the Lion Dog. In 400 CE, the Visigoths invaded Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal, then known as Hispania) and the dogs found their homeland there.

The Portuguese Water Dog had its first description in 1297 in a monk’s account of a drowning sailor who was pulled out from the sea by a dog with a "black coat, the hair long and rough, cut to the first rib and with a tail tuft".

In modern times, Deyanne Miller is the person most responsible for the popularization of the PWD in America. In 1972, the Millers, along with 14 other people, formed the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America Inc. (PWDCA). She worked with dogs from both the Cintron and Cabral lineages to establish a sustained genetic pool of PWDs in the United States at her Farmion kennels. Another early US breeder of PWDs was actor Raymond Burr.

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