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The Obamas get some (unsolicited) advice on their dog search

July 15, 2008 | 11:17 am

Maybe_the_obamas_could_get_a_dog_li

Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, have promised their young daughters -- Malia, 9, and Sasha, 7 -- that they can have a dog when this hectic campaign is over. Now, two big animal groups want to lend a hand in the search.

First up was the venerable American Kennel Club, keeper of canine pedigrees, which has posted on its website a list of five "hypoallergenic" breeds -- allergies are an issue for the Obama household -- and asked folks to weigh in with their choices: "In the true spirit of doggy democracy, the AKC is asking Americans to vote on the breed they think the Obama family should select."  Chinese_crested

Among  the five choices: the Chinese Crested (pictured right.) Calling the Chinese-African pedigree "exotic," the AKC added that "with its unique appearance, it's certain to turn heads."

The other four choices are the poodle, the miniature Schnauzer, the soft-coated Wheaton Terrier, and the Bichon Frise. The AKC considers Bichons sociable and "likely to get along with just about everyone (including members of Congress, regardless of party affiliation.)"

The AKC suggests voters take into account which dogs would be most child-friendly and suitable for rides on Air Force One. (The last we checked the voting, the poodle was slightly ahead of the Wheaton Terrier.)

But whatever the Obamas choose, the national animal welfare group Best Friends Animal Society wants them to adopt that dog from an animal shelter -- not buy the pooch at a pet store. (The Obamas could also try finding one at various pet adoption events -- like the one, sponsored by Best Friends, pictured at the top of this item.)

"There are thousands of affectionate loyal dogs of all sizes, shapes and colors trapped in the animal control system who need a way out," said Julie Castle of Best Friends. "There are also plenty of purebred dogs that can be adopted from breed rescue organizations, without purchasing one from a pet store." 

Best Friends launched a website, obamafamilydog.com, with an online petition to convince the Obamas of the joys of mutts, as well as the importance of eschewing pet stores: "In a country where millions of dogs are killed each year in shelters, purchasing from a breeder or pet store is not an ethical choice."

However, Malia Obama, according to her father, has already done some research and settled on a goldendoodle, the hypoallergenic cross between a poodle and Golden Retriever.

We have our own suggestion for the Obamas: what about ...

A cat? 

Socks_clinton_in_1994                                                                         Socks Clinton scores a photo op in the White House briefing room in 1994.

-- Carla Hall

Top photo: Best Friends Animal Society

Chinese Crested photo: Virginia Sherwood / USA Network

Socks photo: Marcy Nighswander / Associated Press

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