What should the Obama family look for in a new pet dog? – Part 18

Since Obama’s older daughter, Malia, 10, is known to be allergic to dogs, the Obama family needs a hypoallergenic, child-friendly breed.

Being in the White House with lots of visitors and commotion, the dog should be easy-going and friendly with strangers, unlike Barney the WH terrier that recently bit a reporter.

Hypoallergenic, non-shedding breeds are less likely to cause allergic reactions than furry dogs. Other breeds, including mixes, have a higher probability of causing a reaction; therefore, the Obamas should stick with a purebred.

Barack Obama said his family would like to adopt a rescue dog, preferably a mutt, like him. About one-fourth of shelter dogs are purebreds.

Three popular breeds, hypoallergenic and child-friendly, are poodles, Bichon Frises and Schnauzers. All require professional grooming.

Poodles are very intelligent and come in three sizes: toy, miniature and standard. Colors include black, brown, apricot, silver and white.

Overall, poodles are alert, active, adaptable and easy-to-train. Standards are proud, pleasant, happy, sensitive and dislike being alone.

Larger dogs are often more child-tolerant than smaller dogs, which may bite out of fear of being hurt.

Toy poodles weigh about six pounds, miniatures average 15-17 pounds, and Standards run 45-65 pounds. The smaller-sized dogs may be more reserved with strangers, tend to be barkers, and may snap if surprised or teased. Poodles’ lifespans range about 12-15 years.

Schnauzers come in three sizes: miniature, standard and giant. These salt-and-pepper colored or all-black, bearded dogs are good choices as friendly, perky, high-energy, family pets. Schnauzers become quite attached to their people; giants can become particularly attached to one person.

Miniatures weigh 10-15 pounds and live for about 15 years; standards run 35-50 pounds; giants average 70-99 pounds.

Bichon Frises are relatively odorless, feisty, playful, with well-balanced personalities. Bichons are sensitive, affectionate, and friendly towards everyone.

Bichons, usually white, weigh 14-20 pounds, and live about 12 years. They can be difficult to house-train. But with such a big House and huge staff, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Malia should visit the dog before adoption day and watch for an allergic reaction. Of course, the dog should not sleep on her bed. The dog should be brushed regularly to remove dander. Since the Obamas are going to assign the girls chores, perhaps 7-year-old Sasha could do that?

Considering the big home the dog will be living in and the constant attention it will receive, the “First Dog” will be one lucky dog, indeed.

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