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Lots of advice on the selection of the 'first dog' for the Obamas

Poodle In a Friday news conference, President-elect Barack Obama was asked about Iran, the economy and, of course, "the puppy issue."

Why? Because his two daughters have been lobbying for a dog, setting off a worldwide debate on what kind of dog and the source of said dog. In addition, in his presidential acceptance speech, Obama pledged to get his daughters a puppy.

On Friday, the president-elect jokingly referred to the pet-selection process as a "major issue," saying it had generated a great deal of discussion on his website.

"We have two criteria that have to be reconciled," Obama said. "One is that [daughter] Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic." Yes, he would prefer to adopt a dog from a shelter. But?

"A lot of shelter dogs are mutts, like me," Obama said. "So whether we're going to be able to balance those two things, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household."

The first family-elect is getting a great deal of advice. Consider:

In a poll by the American Kennel Club, Americans chose the poodle (pictured above) as the best breed for the Obamas.  "I think the poodle is an excellent choice because the breed is versatile, highly intelligent and easily trained," said AKC spokeswoman Lisa Peterson, adding that "good manners are important at the White House."

People Magazine reports that Cesar Milan, the "Dog Whisperer," has his own advice for the Obamas:

First, don't expect the canine to be impressed by the commander-in-chief just because of his resume. "The dog won't know he's Barack Obama and won the presidency," says Millan. "Dogs don't know if they live in Beverly Hills or the White House. They don't know what you do for a living."


The entire family should "play pack leader roles and greet [the dog] in a calm assertive way," says Millan. And because they have such busy lives, Millan suggests a "medium energy level" dog for the family.

When it comes to recommending a breed, Millan echoes Obama's campaign when he says not to judge a dog by its looks. "You could look for a rottweiler who is a medium level energy dog or a poodle who is a medium level energy dog."

But some folks are looking beyond the selection of dog. They are concerned about naming the dog. And to that end, we bring you www.nameobamaspuppy.com. Stay tuned to L.A. Unleashed for more updates on what's really on America's mind.

-- Alice Short

Photo: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times

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Dachshund Rescue of North America (DRNA) dispatched two teams of people on Wednesday, August 27, 2008 to help save 138 of the 927 Dachshunds released from the Whispering Oaks puppy mill bust in Parkersburg, West Virginia. There were 927 Dachshunds in the 1000 dog puppy mill seized by the American Humane Society over the weekend and taken from the puppy mill facility to a safe place where Dachshund rescue organizations have been coordinated to take the dogs into rescue and foster homes.

oh come on folks! leave these little girls and this very brave family alone. these children--long suffering through a very long campaign--want a doggie their daddy promised them. this is a "family matter" if there ever was one. let these kids choose the pet which is right for them and their family's personal circumstances. let's leave the political sniping to the political appointments. congratulations president elect obama, and best wishes to your fine family!

Maybe they could adopt one or two of the TWO THOUSAND greyhounds made homeless by the fools in Massachusetts who voted to ban greyhound racing...

First and foremost medically Obama's must find AKC breed that Malia is not allergic to. And would eliminate pound puppy unfortunately due to dog allergy. Wise to take puppy home and make sure Malia actually has no problems - makes sure they can return if Malia develops allergic reaction..

Then they can investigate each breed. Decide the characteristics of a breed that would be good for children, grooming requirements, odor, human interactions with family, temperament, dominance factor, wanting to please owners, activity level of dog and family, activities they want to do with dog, etc.

They can seek advice of professional breeders not interested in just promoting their dogs, but in making sure Obama's find puppy that best fits their family. Obama's will possibly have dog for 12-15 years together, and they need to find one they really enjoy.

AKC Breed Club Rescue sounds like something they would be interested in, but would be wise if puppy/dog has had no temperament problems or bad baggage from prior owners..

I believe they will do just fine!! Time and patience finding that just right puppy will be well worth the time spent.

Portuguese Water Dog, all the way. Calmer than a poodle, but also hypoallergenic. A great breed generally as a therapy dog. Ted Kennedy is a fan of the breed, has PWDs, and his family will be glad to help in the se;lection process, i am sure. Good luck!

What's an appropriate dog for a Marxist? Perhaps Pavlov's dog.

i think that the Obama's should get an airedale terrier. bye

It would be great if they could adopt a pet from a shelter to set a good example. These are often the best pets as well.

A Bichon Frise would be perfect for the Obama family. With severe allergies I am happy with my dog and the joy she brings me. They are children friendly and easy to train. They can also look into pet rescues for hypoallergenic dogs .

Good grief. I can understand the concern of hoping the Obamas adopt a pet. I even signed the petition that went around a while back. However, NAMING the dog? That should be up to those sweet little girls.

A lot of people I talk to are opposed to the idea of a rescue dog at the White House, but I disagree. I think the Obamas adopting a rescue would send a strong message about the importance of rescue programs and serve to highlight their profile. More than just the First Dog (-elect) would benefit.

I think Malia's allergy is the number one priorty for the search since it would be catastrophic for the family to have to return the dog if she has a bad reaction. From what I have read, it appears that the Labradoodle would be a great dog choice. They are non allergic, smart, obedient and sweet - i.e., a great family dog. Problem is finding one in a shelter - that won't be so easy - but I completely agree with Ryan - choosing a shelter dog would do wonders for rescue groups all over the country.


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