Bo (dog)

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Bo
Bo official portrait.jpg
Official White House portrait of the First Dog
(May 2009)
Other appellation(s)First Dog[1][2][3]
Charlie (by previous owner)
SpeciesCanis lupus familiaris
BreedPortuguese Water Dog
SexMale
BornAmigo's New Hope[4]
(2008-10-09) October 9, 2008 (age 4)
Texas
Nation fromUnited States
Known forPet of the First Family of the United States
TrainingDawn Sylvia (Hume, Virginia)
Can sit, present paw/shake, lie down, roll over, get off, wait[5]
PredecessorBarney
OwnerObama family
ParentsDam: Penny
(Amigo's Phor What Its Worth)
(Boyd, Texas)
Sire: Watson
(Valkyrie's Dr. Watson Is Here)
(Ambridge, Pennsylvania)[6]
Breeder: Julie Parker[7]
Appearancetuxedo/black and white
Named afterObama girls' cousins' pet cat
and also Bo Diddley
 
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Bo
Bo official portrait.jpg
Official White House portrait of the First Dog
(May 2009)
Other appellation(s)First Dog[1][2][3]
Charlie (by previous owner)
SpeciesCanis lupus familiaris
BreedPortuguese Water Dog
SexMale
BornAmigo's New Hope[4]
(2008-10-09) October 9, 2008 (age 4)
Texas
Nation fromUnited States
Known forPet of the First Family of the United States
TrainingDawn Sylvia (Hume, Virginia)
Can sit, present paw/shake, lie down, roll over, get off, wait[5]
PredecessorBarney
OwnerObama family
ParentsDam: Penny
(Amigo's Phor What Its Worth)
(Boyd, Texas)
Sire: Watson
(Valkyrie's Dr. Watson Is Here)
(Ambridge, Pennsylvania)[6]
Breeder: Julie Parker[7]
Appearancetuxedo/black and white
Named afterObama girls' cousins' pet cat
and also Bo Diddley

Bo (born October 9, 2008) is the pet dog of the Obama family, the First Family of the United States.[2] Bo is a neutered[8] male Portuguese Water Dog.[2] President Barack Obama and his family were given the dog as a gift after months of speculation about the breed and identity of their future pet.[9] The final choice was made in part because Malia Obama's allergies dictated a need for a hypoallergenic breed. The White House has referred to him as the "DOTUS" (Dog of the United States)[10] or "First Dog", a term occasionally used during recent U.S. administrations.[1][2][3]

Contents

Breed background[edit]

Originally from the Algarve region of Portugal, the Portuguese Water Dog is a fairly rare breed; only 48 Portuguese Water Dogs were entered for Britain's Crufts competition in 2009[11] and the author of The New Complete Portuguese Water Dog, Kitty Braund, believes there are about 50,000 in North America.[12] Due to its fleecy coat, the Portuguese Water Dog is considered a hypoallergenic dog breed.

Breeding and original owners[edit]

The Obamas with Bo

Bred by Martha & Art Stern of Amigo Portuguese Water Dogs in Boyd, Texas,[7] Bo is the son of "Watson" (CH Valkyrie Dr. Watson is Here, Born 22.April.2002, AKC WS00562102) of the Rader family in the Pittsburgh suburb of Ambridge, Pennsylvania and of Penny who belongs to Art and Martha Stern. One of Bo's nine litter mates was Senator Ted Kennedy's Portie named Cappy (Amigo's Captain Courageous); the litter was named "Hope and Change" in honor of Obama's victory.

Bo was purchased by a person unknown to the public, but eventually the new owner returned him to the Stern family; when buying the dog, the original purchaser had signed a contract requiring him to return the dog to the breeder if things did not work out. Bo was enrolled on January 5, 2009, with Kennedy's obedience trainer Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, in Hume, Virginia.

Bo has a brother named Rico, that is owned by a couple in Houston, Texas.[13]

Selection of the dog[edit]

At his first press conference as President-elect, Obama was questioned by reporters as to which breed the family was looking to acquire; he replied, "Our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts."[14] He also noted "Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic."[14]

George Stephanopolous asked Obama on television in early January what kind of dog they would get, and when, saying that he was passing on a question from Obama's daughters who were sitting in the control room. Obama said, "They seem to have narrowed it down to a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound ... medium-sized dog, and so, we're now going to start looking at shelters to see when one of those dogs might come up."[15] Much was made by the public and press about the family's search for a dog. On April 12, 2009, it was announced that the Obamas would soon accept a six-month-old Portuguese Water Dog puppy as a gift from Senator Kennedy. The dog was reported to have visited the family some weeks earlier[16] in a secret meeting to gauge compatibility and purportedly referred to by staffers as "The Meeting". However, the gift was not accepted until the dog officially arrived and moved in at the White House on Tuesday, April 14, 2009.[17] Immediately after he arrived, the family staged a photo op with Bo on the property's South Lawn.[18] At the conference, Obama was asked if he would allow Bo inside the Oval Office, to which he responded: "of course."[18] He also gave a nod to President Harry Truman's quote, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."[18] The White House website was later updated to include official pictures and biographical details of Bo.[2]

Biographical details[edit]

"A black dog with curly hair and white feet wears a multi-colored lei around his neck"
Bo wearing a lei upon his White House arrival

Listed by the name "Amigo's New Hope" with American Kennel Club's breed registry[19] and given the name "Charlie" by his original owners,[20] the puppy received his current name from President Obama's two daughters, Malia and Sasha, in part after their cousins' cat and Michelle Obama's father's nickname Diddley; the dog is a namesake of deceased singer Bo Diddley.[21][22]

In June 2009, the White House released a baseball card for Bo with his new official portrait on one side and tongue-in-cheek statistics on the other; information included the facts that Bo's favorite food is tomatoes and that he does not yet know how to swim. The card is available by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the White House.[23][24][25]

According to financial disclosure forms released by President Obama in 2010, Bo has a value of $1,600.[26]

In December 2010, Bo was permitted to accompany the Obama family to the guest house Plantation Estate in Hawaii. Hawaii, which is rabies-free, has strict quarantine rules of up to 120 days for dogs from outside the state. However, in accordance with rules modified in 2003, dogs are permitted if they have had two rabies shots (including one in the previous 90 days), pass a rabies blood test, and have a microchip implant.[27][28]

As of August 2012, Bo is on a diet, though no other details were released (it was announced by the President during the Kids' State Dinner, where children from the states and territories who had won a contest to design healthy, appealing meals had lunch at the White House).[29]

Disputed rescue heritage[edit]

"Michelle Obama and her oldest daughter walk a small black dog whilst Barack Obama and their youngest daughter walk a short distance behind them"
The Obamas walking with Bo

The Obama family originally seemed to emphasize their desire for an adopted shelter dog, but made no firm commitments.[30] In the summer of 2008, Best Friends Animal Society, an animal welfare organization, gathered 50,000 signatures on a petition asking the family to adopt a shelter animal.[31]

As Bo is a gift from the Kennedy family, he is not a shelter dog. Some dog experts, such as Cesar Millan, state that Bo could be considered part of a larger group known as rescue dogs, as he was unsuccessful in his first home, when plans for him to provide companionship to an older female dog went awry because he irritated the dog through attempts to suckle.[17][32] The Obamas have pledged to donate to the District of Columbia Humane Society to show their support for shelter dogs.[33]

Some criticism has arisen from animal welfare supporters because Bo was not adopted from a shelter.[31] The Humane Society of the United States released a statement on their website thanking the Obamas "for taking in a second-chance dog," but also encouraged the public to avoid going through breeders.[34]

Reactions by and in the media[edit]

"Barack Obama running through the halls of the white house with a small black dog who looks up at him whilst running alongside"
Bo and President Obama running through the east wing of the White House

The Washington Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia, granted exclusive initial access to Bo for the print media, described the puppy: "Bo's a handsome little guy. Well suited for formal occasions at the White House, he's got tuxedo-black fur, with a white chest, white paws and a rakish white goatee."[35]

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) described the family's choice to accept the gift of a puppy from a family friend as "disquieting" and publicly urged the President to have Bo neutered, though the dog had been neutered before the Obamas received him.[8][36]

Bo in March 2010

In anticipation of increased interest in the breed, the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America issued a statement requesting that members of the public considering obtaining the dogs "ensure that this breed fits their lifestyle," advising that Porties' needs preclude their being left alone for long periods or boarded in kennels.[37]

Immediately upon Bo joining the First Family, four children's books and a plush toy depicting him were slated for publication or manufacture.[38][39][40]

On July 17, 2009, the author Ben Greenman, writing in The New York Times as Bo, reflected on his first hundred days in office.[41]

In the final episode of the History Channel's Life After People, aired March 16, 2010, the producers imagined what life would be like for Bo after the disappearance of humanity.[42] This showed that he would leave the White House, and live off seafood from the Chesapeake Bay.[43]

Bo was also shown on Dogs 101.[44][45]

Bo has appeared in the comic book Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers and on the TV show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dave, By (2009-04-20). "Vigilant press spots Bo, the first dog, out for a walk | csmonitor.com". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "The White House – Blog Post – Meet Bo, the First Dog". Whitehouse.gov. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  3. ^ a b Cooper, Helen (April 12, 2009). "One Obama Search Ends With a Puppy Named Bo". The New York Times. Retrieved April 18, 2009. "Other Web sites, which have been tracking the saga of the selection of the first dog, were in a frenzy over the weekend." 
  4. ^ Silva, Mark (2009-04-12). "Obamas' dog Bo:'Amigo's New Hope'". Swamppolitics.com. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  5. ^ "Obama Dog Trainer: Bo Already "Sits, Shakes, Rolls Over"". Us Weekly. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2009-04-26. [dead link]
  6. ^ "The Obama Dog Blog: Cappy's Breeder Rejects Obama Dog Connection". Dreamdogsart.typepad.com. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  7. ^ a b Sostek, Anya (April 14, 2009). "First dog's father from Ambridge". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  8. ^ a b Hess, Amanda (2009-04-13). "PETA Encourages Obamas to Neuter Neutered Dog". nbcwashington.com. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  9. ^ "World | Obama family 'picks first puppy'". BBC News. 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  10. ^ Williams, Brian (June 4, 2009). Introducing…DOTUS: Bo Obama (Video). NBC Nightly News. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  11. ^ "PORTUGUESE WATER DOG". Crufts. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  12. ^ Ryan, Denise (2009-04-15). "U.S. first family puts Portuguese water dog on the map". .canada.com. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  13. ^ Berkowitz, Lana (2009-04-13). "Houston pooch has friend in high place". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  14. ^ a b Rhee, Foon (2008-11-10). "Chewing over Obama's 'mutt' reference – 2008 Presidential Campaign Blog – Political Intelligence". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  15. ^ Weiner, Rachel (2009-01-13). "Obama: Finding Puppy "Tougher Than Finding A Commerce Secretary" (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  16. ^ Roig-Franzia, Manuel (2009-04-12). "The First Puppy Makes a Big Splash". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  17. ^ a b Theimer, Sharon. "PROMISES, PROMISES: Is Obama dog a rescue or not?". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  18. ^ a b c Theimer, Sharon. "First dog Bo makes himself at home". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  19. ^ Saul, Michael (2009-04-12). "First photos of First Dog: Obamas meet Bo, their new Portuguese Water Dog". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  20. ^ St. Clair, Stacy (2009-04-13). "Obamas' dog: Meet Bo, the Portuguese water dog". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  21. ^ "The First Puppy Makes a Big Splash". PopWatch Blog. 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  22. ^ Sobieraj-Westfall, Sandra (April 12, 2009). "The Obamas' Dog Has Arrived – at Last!". People. Retrieved October 2, 2010. 
  23. ^ Iovino, Jim. "First Dog Bo's Portrait Out as Baseball Card". NBC Washington. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  24. ^ Lee, Jess. "The White House – Blog Post – Bo: The Portrait, the Baseball Card". Whitehouse.gov. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  25. ^ Conolly, Katie. "The Gaggle : Official Portrait of First Dog Bo Released". Newsweek. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  26. ^ Marr, Kendra (May 17, 2010). "Hot dog: $1,600 Bo listed on disclosure forms". The Politico. Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  27. ^ "Uncategorized » Bo Obama Faced Possible Quarantine in Hawaii, Asked to Produce Papers". NwoDaily.com. 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  28. ^ "Animal Quarantine Information – Hawaii Department of Agriculture". Hawaii.gov. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  29. ^ http://animaltracks.today.com/_news/2012/08/21/13397564-bo-obama-is-on-a-diet-president-says?lite
  30. ^ Greene, Nick (2009-04-15). "Obamas criticised for breaking promise of adopting dog from shelter". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  31. ^ a b Goldston, Linda (2008-11-05). "Obama family will adopt, rather than buy, a dog". Current.com. Retrieved 2009-10-19. [dead link]
  32. ^ Vinzant, Carol (2009-04-16). "5 Things You Don't Know About First Dog Bo – Barack Obama". People. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  33. ^ "Obama puppy: Portuguese water dog Bo is Obama puppy". The Baltimore Sun. 2009-04-13. Retrieved 2009-04-26. [dead link]
  34. ^ "The HSUS Congratulates First Family on New White House Dog". Humane Society of the United States. 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  35. ^ "Obama Dog Bo Diddley Obama Puppy First Dog Photos Video at The Insider". Theinsider.com. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  36. ^ Bedard, Paul (2009-04-13). "PETA urges Obama to snip Bo the first dog". USNews.com. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  37. ^ "Obama Family’s Choice for "First Dog" Prompts PWDCA to Remind Public About Responsible Breeding and Dog Ownership". The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, Inc. 2009-04-13. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  38. ^ Irvine, Chris (2009-04-16). "Bo Obama to star in children's book". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  39. ^ Kondo, Koji (April 2009). Bo Obama: First Dog of the United States of America. CreateSpace. ISBN 1-4421-5644-9. 
  40. ^ Lewis, J. Patrick; Beth Zappitello, Tim Bowers (April 2009). First Dog. Sleeping Bear Press. ISBN 1-58536-467-3. 
  41. ^ Greenman, Ben (2009-07-16). "The First Hundred (Dog) Days". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  42. ^ "Take Me To Your Leader". History. Retrieved 2010-03-25. "The President's dog must learn the ways of the wild." 
  43. ^ Bo Obama's anniversary: First year as First Dog, The Washington Post, April 15, 2010
  44. ^ Dogs 101 Ep. 10, All the Presidents' Pets,
  45. ^ Dogs 101 ep. 14, Bernese Mountain Dog, Afghan, Portuguese Water Dog, Cairn Terrier, Alaskan Malamute

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Barney
(George W. Bush's Scottish Terrier)
White House pet dog
April 14, 2009 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent