Portuguese Water Dogs Spirited, Energetic Breed

The Obamas' new dog Bo is likely to keep the tweens on their feet.

ByABC News
April 13, 2009, 7:20 AM

April 13, 2009 — -- If the first family's new dog Bo follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, the Obamas should get ready for a high-spirited, energetic dog that is likely to keep the them on their toes.

The much-awaited first pup will move into the White House Tuesday. But as the Obama girls prepare to welcome their new family member, they should keep a few pointers in mind.

Sandy Mejias, whose family breeds, trains and grooms dogs at the Olde Town School for Dogs in Alexandria, Va, said Portuguese water dogs are the best. So what makes "Porties" so special?

First, they are smart. These dogs -- called the "Cao de Agua," or dog of water, in their native Portugal -- were used to assist Portuguese fisherman in not only catching fish but also carrying messages between boats and guarding boats on the dock.

What do you know about the Obama's new dog and his breed? Test Your Doggie Knowledge.

"They protected the boats, they protected the catch, they retrieved tackle, they took messages from boat to boat. ... They're an original working dog," said Mejias, co-owner of the Olde Town School for Dogs.

Second, they are devoted.

"They will be right there with you no matter where you go. If you walk from one room to the other, you'll turn around, they'll be right on your heel," Mejias said.

Third, they are social and interactive dogs, known for their athleticism and high energy. According to the American Kennel Club, Portuguese water dogs require daily vigorous exercise and respond well to training.

Fourth, they are survivors. In the 1970s, Portuguese water dogs were nearly extinct, with only 25 left in the world. But they have since made a comeback.

Finally, Portuguese water dogs are known leaders, and they like to follow a leader too.

"They need someone who shows them how the house works and where their place is in the house, and they do much better that way," Mejias said.

That may not be a problem for Bo, living under the same roof as the president of the United States.

"He should have a lot of practice in leadership before he gets this dog," Mejias said of President Obama, laughing.