Obamas' Pick for First Dog

The First Family deciding on the breed of their new dog

In the News

Obamas’ Pick for First Dog

The votes are still being counted…

-The Bettys

Portuguese Water DogAnd the winner is…a Portuguese Water Dog! At least that’s the breed Michelle Obama told People magazine the First Family has decided on. But then Mrs. Obama e-mailed ABC News to say that was just her vote.

The family has four votes, she wrote, so obviously they are not absolutely positive. A Labradoodle just may still be in the running.

Ever since President Obama promised on Election Night that Sasha and Malia would get a dog, there has been speculation exactly what type of dog the Obamas would choose. The President even told George Stephanopoulos that deciding on the right breed was even harder than picking a Secretary of Commerce. But, hey, that was a couple of Secretary of Commerce candidates ago. And he may be right. The President did announce yet another Secretary of Commerce candidate yesterday while there seems to be some ongoing private quarters squabbling about the First Dog.

Portuguese Water Dogs remain a leading contender because they have some White House-friendly characteristics. They are medium-sized, and their coat is practically hypoallergenic–a must since Malia has allergies. “Temperamentally they’re supposed to be pretty good,” the First Lady says of the breed that Senator Ted Kennedy has also lobbied for (he has two Water Dogs of his own). “From the size perspective, they’re sort of middle of the road – it’s not small, but it’s not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that’s where we’re leaning.”

The girls are hoping for the dog by April 1, but Mrs. Obama says the canine family member won’t be around the West Wing until the end of that month: “Got to do it after spring break. You can’t get a new dog and then go away for a week.” Gee, the Obamas are taking another vacation before the economic meltdown is solved?

Mrs. Obama is not too thrilled by about Sasha and Malia’s choice of names for the future First Dog, no matter what the breed turns out to be. “Oh, the names are really bad. I don’t even want to mention it, because there are names floating around and they’re bad,” she says with a laugh. “You listen and you go – like, I think, Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one of them. Moose. I said, well, what if the dog isn’t a moose? Moose. I’m like, no, come on, let’s work with the names a little bit.”

If the Obamas settle on a Portuguese Water Dog, they are hoping to find it in a shelter, which may not be easy. “They are really terrific dogs,” says one owner we know. “They are very smart and they really love to swim.” Wonder how the First Lady will feel about First Pooch, whatever breed, taking a dip in the White House pool?

Mrs. Obama also shared details about life in the White House. The kids are still doing their bed-making and dish-clearing chores. “They don’t need their lives to be easy. They’re kids,” she says. She also told People she invited some staffers over for a movie night when the President was out of town. They passed the popcorn and watched He’s Just Not That Into You.

About her family’s new daily routine, she says they can now have dinner together and the President usually tucks the girls into bed. The First Couple wake up early and hit the gym. But she admits, while she can go days without exercising, the President can’t.

Are there any “thorns” among the “roses” in being First Lady? Mrs. Obama says she misses “going to Target and all those things that were my errands and time for me.” And she admits there is one “thorn” that she shares with millions of Americans. She hasn’t looked at her 401(k) lately. “Oh, God, no. You have to look long term now.”

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