Royalty and statesmen

The new arrival, six-month-old Portuguese water dog named Bo, has been getting to know his new family since moving into the White House at the weekend
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A gift from Senator Ted Kennedy – who originally recommended the breed to the US President and his wife – Bo has come from a family which was unable to keep him
Photo: ©

The Obamas welcome the new First Dog to the White House

13 APRIL 2009
Amid the excitement of Easter there was an extra special treat in store for US President Barack Obama's daughters Malia and Sasha. The youngsters have finally welcomed the new puppy their dad had promised them during his presidential campaign.

After months of waiting a six-month-old Portuguese water dog - which the girls have named Bo - is now settling into the White House. They chose the name as their cousins have a cat named Bo and because mum Michelle Obama's father was nicknamed Diddley, after rock'n'roll singer Bo Diddley.

The new First Pet was a present from Senator Ted Kennedy, who owns three dogs of the same breed, and who originally suggested the family get one. Portuguese water dogs are known for their good temperament and since they don't shed hair are perfect for children with allergies – like ten-year-old Malia, who has asthma.

The family had wanted to get a puppy from a rescue shelter, but as the breed is valuable and quite rare they rarely show up at shelters. The Obamas are doing their bit, however. Before taking up residence at the White House Bo is understood to have lived with a family who were unable keep him.

As first-time dog owners the Obamas are apparently still figuring out how the new addition to their family will fit in. Like where he will sleep and the scheduling of who will feed him and walk him, and when.

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