By Kathleen Roberts
Editor's Note: Vote for your presidential pick -- the Labradoodle or the Portueguese Water Dog. Click here to take our Recent Poll on Petyle's Home Page.
Decisions, decisions. Picking the right family dog is no easy task, even for soon-to-be-president Barack Obama and his family. But they are making progress! After much research, they have finally been able to narrow the choice down to two breeds--the Labradoodle and the Portuguese Water Dog-- according to an interview that aired on ABC's "This Week" this past Sunday.
Both breeds with presidential pup potential are considered to be hypoallergenic, an essential quality for 10-year-old Malia Obama, who has allergies. With that requirement met, it would seem that it is all down to temperament and personal preference, though there are no guarantees that she won't have a reaction to either dog, according to one expert.
"Although both dogs are touted as being hypoallergenic, which is probably why they made the Obama's short list, human allergists do not consider any dog 100% allergen free. The best dog for the Obama's will depend on Malia's reaction and may come down to trial and error," said Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, Director of Medicine Chair at The Animal Medical Center in New York.
So which breed is best? That is the question.
The Portuguese Water Dog
Each dog has traits that make them worthy of becoming the next White House companion. The Portuguese Water Dog is described as "spirited but obedient," according to the AKC. These are great qualities for a busy family with children. The Portuguese Water Dog is a well-established breed that has been around since at least 1297 with some believing it can be traced as far as 700 B.C. As the name suggests, they love the water and even have webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers. Their non-allergenic coat is also waterproof and non-shedding.
The Labradoodle is considered a hybrid or "designer dog" to many dog lovers. They are created by crossing a Poodle (standard or miniature) and a Labrador Retriever. First created by breeder Wally Conron of Australia for Guide Dogs Victoria in 1989, this dog does not have as much history as the Portuguese Water Dog. But supporters of this cross think they are perfect just the same.
Crossing two established breeds, typically considered a no-no in the world of dog breeding, had a very noble goal -- to create a dog that had the low-shed coat of a Poodle and the gentleness and trainability of a Lab. The resulting pups would hopefully be ideal guide dogs for people with allergies. Since this is a fairly new breed in the world of dogs, puppies do not always have the desired traits and critics point out that the results of such a cross are unpredictable, unlike the Portuguese Water Dog.
However, like the Portuguese Water Dog, the Labradoodle loves the water. They are healthy and easy to train and are loved world-wide by families like the Obamas.