Posts Tagged ‘Obamas dog’


A puppy has been spotted at the White House.

Rumors of an introduction tomorrow morning are rampant!

This may not be a false alarm.

I’m hoping it’s not one of the puppies featured in the Politico story that features the rumor.

Here’s the update.

I hope it’s not a goldendoodle or porty, because goldens and porties don’t have the gene pools to withstand massive popularity.

*Update: Specific dog has been chosen and is undergoing training; however, dog will not arrive at the White House this week.

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The golden retriever's popularity would shoot up if the president chose one, and that would be a bad thing!

The golden retriever's popularity would shoot up if the president chose one, and that would be a bad thing!

Everyone has an opinion on which breed the president should get. Representative Steve Kagen says that Obama should get a golden retriever and shave it.

The allergist turned Democratic congressman rightly points out that there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. However, I think he’s wrong to make this joke:  “There is a hypoallergenic dog. It’s called a cat.”

To be honest, I know more people who are allergic to cats than people who are allergic to dogs. If someone is allergic to dogs, well, there’s a chance they could also be allergic to cats.

Shaving might reduce allergens. Remember, though, that people aren’t really allergic to the hair. They are allergic to the dander and saliva. Goldens have very oily coats that seem to collect dander and saliva. That’s why they are usually not recommended for people with allergies.

However, it is a very bad thing to do for a golden retriever.  I have had bad experiences with clipped goldens getting both hot spots and sunburn from clippings, and I’ve read that other skin conditions can be aggravated if a golden is clipped. Goldens are skin problem prone– part of it is diet and the other part of it is that they do really poorly in warm humid climates. They are designed for a cold, wet climate, and that oily thick coat protects their sensitive skin as well as keeping them warm and dry.

That’s why I suggest that goldens kept in hot climates should have access to wading pools with ice water in them. It is a far better alternative to shaving them. If you do so because you wanted a short-haired dog, the short-haired alternative to the golden exists. It is called Labrador.

So while a clipped golden might be nice for someone with allergies, it really isn’t the best alternative for a dog breed well-known for its sensitive skin.

Now, I also think the president should steer clear of the golden retriever. In fact, it has nothing to do with the fact that they are “hyperallergenic” breed. It has to do with the reality of the golden retriever’s situation. It is too popular. If this president picks this breed, the golden retriever’s popularity will shoot through the roof.

This is not a good thing. The breed is suffering from a variety of genetic disorders anad an aggression epidemic. It is also losing its desirable qualities, which were that it was a universally easily trained breed with very low aggression towards people and other dogs. As late as ten years ago, it was listed by Dr. Bruce Fogle as “tend[ing] to live the longest of all retrievers.”

What the golden needs is a popularity drop, like the chow chow and rough collie experienced. The chow chow’s surly temperament has been mellowed. Rough collies now exist that have intelligence and gentle temperaments. But when these breeds were extremely popular, both were well-known for their occasional aggression and “stupidity.” Today, both of these breeds have been largely rehabilitated.

And that’s what the golden retriever now needs. If Obama picks one, the golden will fall apart. It won’t fall apart as fast a the Portuguese water dog would, but it is in such a bad state right now that it definitely doesn’t need a popularity boost. The golden never could sustain itself at the Labrador’s current level of popularity. They simply do not have the gene pool. And I’m afraid if the golden got chosen that it could be as popular as the Labrador is right now, perhaps even surpassing it.

For the sake of the breed, Mr. President, don’t get a golden retriever.

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Rescuing a Labradoodle would be a smart move.

Rescuing a Labradoodle would be a smart move.

I think he should rescue a dog, simply because he already said that he wanted a rescue dog and “a mutt.” I don’t like it when presidents don’t keep their promises, and this would be a promise kept.

Why this breed over the Portuguese water dog?

Well, I don’t think the water dog could survive a massive jolt of popularity and mass production by unscrupulous and uninformed breeders.

Gerald Ford was a moderately popular president when he purchased a golden retriever named “Liberty.” She was of the old type, and it didn’t take very long for this breed to capture the public’s imagination. But then Ford had Liberty bred, and she had a litter of little golden fur balls at the White House. As soon as that happened, everyone wanted a golden retriever. One of the puppies, Jerry, actually became a seeing-eye dog. And this further cemented in the public mind that goldens were beautiful as adult, cute as puppies, and incredibly intelligent dogs that were useful for humanity.

I can only imagine what would happen if Obama bought a Portuguese water dog. This breed has a truncated genetic base, and it does have some really bad genetic disorders. This is a regional water dog, one of the many poodle-type dogs that once existed throughout Europe from Portugal to Russia.

These dogs are ancestral to water spaniels and retrievers, which have more efficient swimming styles and easier to care for coats. You don’t have to clip as Lab to make him a good water dog (but you might want to breed him with less bone so he can swim better).

Labradoodles are being mass-produced by unscrupulous people. This is very true.

However, by rescuing the dog, President-Elect Obama would be setting a good example about the best place to find a regular, old pet dog.

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President-Elect Obama might be a brilliant man on foreign policy, running election, and bringing together divergent parties. Those are all reasons why I voted for him, and I really hope he is a success as president. ( To  all the conservatives who read this blog, relax, this is still primarily a dog blog. I promise I will not brow-beat anyone for having different political believes from me on this blog).

Obama’s latest task has been to find a dog for the White House. Trick is it has to be a rescue. And it has to be low shed, because his daughter Malia, is allergic. (That doesn’t mean she won’t have allergies to the dog, however.)

On This Week, the president-elect said they had narrowed it down two breeds: a Labradoodle or a “Portuguese water hound.” I know he’s a busy man. I also know that he has previously said “Goldendoodle” for the breed his daughters want.

Perhaps he doesn’t know the difference between a golden and Lab, which is about 20 dog IQ points (if there were such a thing) and about 5 times the shedding. I can forgive this mistake. It happens all the time.

However, I can’t really forgive the Portuguese water hound. There is no such breed, of course. But there is a Portuguese water dog, which was onced used to haul nets, just as the St. John’s and Tweed water dogs did in their respective countries. It can be taught to retrieve shot game, but its relative, the Spanish water dog, is much better at gundog work. Senator Ted Kennedy has a brace of the Portguese water dogs, which might explain Obama’s affinity for the breed.

I don’t know whether Obama had dogs as a child or not. Vice President-elect Biden is much more of a dog person.  His family raised German shepherds, and after winning the election, he purchased a GSD (although some animal rights and animal welfare activists have attacked this purchase). He and his wife have decided to get a second dog, which may be  rescued golden retriever. (If Obama got a golden retriever that breed would proably eclipse the Labrador in popularity, something Iwould not like.)

I know President-Elect Obama is a busy man, and he’s got a lot on his plate right now. But someone surely should’ve briefed him better on dog breeds.

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President-elect Obama said in his acceptance speech Tuesday night that they were getting a puppy.

Speculation is rampant.

Malia Obama has researched the breeds and has decided she wants a goldendoodle. Malia has allergies to dogs, and there is some suggestion that goldendoodles are less likely to cause allergies because it has been proported that they do not shed. However, if she is allergic to dog saliva, it won’t matter which breed they choose.

And goldendoodles often do shed. Poodles don’t shed, but golden retrievers “blow coat” twice a year. The genetics of coat that comes across in the hybridization is actually quite interesting. Most have the poodle-type coat, but it is not unusual to find them with actual golden retriever coats, including the smooth fur on the muzzle and the forelegs. I’ve even see one that had a coat like an Irish water spaniel. 

Most goldendoodles and Labradoodles look like larger versions of the Barbet and Spanish water dog. I’ve read descriptions of the English rough water dog, which is ancestral to the water spaniels and the retrievers, and it really resembles the doodles. It is a large dog, with a shaggy coat that is low shed or nonshedding. This breed was absorbed into the water spaniels by the eighteenth century, and then the water spaniels were absorbed into the retrievers, except in Ireland, where the native Water spaniel survived.

PETA wants them to select a shelter dog.  Michelle Obama is also leaning toward rescuing a dog. That would be socially responsible, and it would be a new thing for US presidents. Since Gerald Ford, all the presidential dogs have been purchased from breeders. (Ford had a very well-bred golden retriever named “Liberty.”).

I would say that they should not get a puppy. They are going to be far too busy. If they want a golden or Labradoodle, I’m sure they can rescue one that already loves children. They just need to know that sometimes they get the field-type golden retriever’s high energy level, which some people misinterpet as “hyper.”


My suggestion is that they rescue a dog, even if it’s a designer a hybrid, such as this. I do know that this is a functional hybrid, and that some service dogs organizations use them. This cross reduces some of the allergies to canines that mobility challenged people might also have. So I’m not going to go into you shouldn’t cross breeds. If there is a reason to do so, then it should be accepted.

Poodles and golden retrievers are actually distant relatives in the water dog family. Standard poodles can be used as water retrievers, and the unusual clips used in poodles were first developed to aid them in the water. The long, wooly coat got bogged down in the water, so German hunters clipped the hair to make them more streamlined in the water. They left the coat long in certain areas so the dogs were still protected from cold water. Poodles are probably closely related to the English rough water dog, which is ancestral to the water spaniels and the retrievers. Poodles are related in some way to the Barbet and the Portuguese and Spanish Water dog. They are also related to the Schapendoes of the Netherlands, the Sheep poodle of Germany, the Puli (which can be used as a water dog), and perhaps the bearded collie and the Polish lowland sheepdog.

I just hope that the Obama’s dog doesn’t wind up like Harry Truman’s Irish setter puppy, which was given very poor care. The poor dog was fed only raw meat and hee developed rickets as a result.

 Bill Clinton’s Labrador was purchased solely as a photo-op. They chose the Lab because it was the most popular breed in America, but they chose a chocolate one because a black one wouldn’t photograph well enough and yellow would photo graph too well.

Ronald Reagan had a Bouvier des Flandres, but this dog had very strong herding instincts, and nipped nearly everyone in the White House.  This dog was sent to Reagan’s ranch and replaced with a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, which is a far more appropriate breed for an elderly couple with a very busy schedule.

I somehow think the Obamas are going to be more deliberate in their choice of a dog than those two presidents. They seem to be very deliberate about everything.

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