What should the Obama family look for in a new pet dog? – Part 9

In January, President Obama stated that his family had narrowed their choices down to two types of it sounds like they intend to adopt an adult dog. As a less-experienced dog home, the potential to find a lovely adult that can fit into their family is much better than their chances of raising a puppy under the stressors of White House Life. They also are looking at two breeds which, as adults, are likely to have the traits they need as a family.

The Labradoodle was one of the first “designer dogs”. In the case of the Labradoodle, they were originally bred as service dog alternatives for people with allergies. Approximately 50% of the Labradoodles in a first generation cross will have the single layer, non-shedding coat of the poodle. Many Labradoodle breeders now have multigenerational lines with Labradoodle to Labradoodle breeding creating a fairly consistent litter with the traits desired by the breeder. The dogs themselves have many other desirable traits. They are generally good tempered, intelligent and highly trainable. Labradoodles come in a variety of sizes, with some bred from the Standard Poodle reaching well over 100 lbs at adult hood. Some breeders do focus on lines that used Miniature Poodles for foundation stock, and those average a more moderate size.

Portuguese Water Dogs are an old breed that originated in the costal areas of Portugal. Non-shedding and single-coated, they are one of several AKC breeds listed as non-shedding. They have a long history as working dogs, hauling nets and herding fish into the nets for fisherman. The first reference to the Portuguese Water Dog in a fairly recognizable form was 1297, when a monk wrote of a dog that saved a ship-wrecked sailor. They are between 17 and 22 inches at the shoulder, and can range between 35 and 60 pounds. They are highly trainable and need a job. Being the White House Dog, particularly with two young girls to keep track of, is the type of life that the Portuguese Water Dog is well suited to live.

One objectionable aspect of Labradoodles is that other than service dog breeding, the breeding of Labradoodles is purely for production of pets and profit. Breeders of Labradoodles wildly outnumber breeders of Portuguese Water Dogs. As a result, there are many more available through shelters than Portuguese Water Dogs. Portuguese Water Dogs. On Petfinder.com, an on-line service to place dogs from shelters and rescues, only one pure-bred Portuguese Water Dog is currently available. This is because most breeders of Portuguese Water Dogs in the United States are members of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America. As part of their code of ethics, between proactive post-placement communication with puppy buyers and an active breed rescue network, the Portuguese Water Dog community actively works to keep their entire breed in homes and away from shelters. This type of stewardship is the type of example that shows the best traits of the pure bred dog breeder community.

Rather than support the commercial breeding of designer dogs such as Labradoodles, the Obama’s dog-search team should work through the Portuguese Water Dog breed club to find the right dog for the family, or adopt the sole Portuguese Water Dog currently on pet finder if that dog proves to be one that Malia’s allergies can tolerate.

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