In honor of Election Day, I’d like to share some information on Bo, the presidential pooch, who just turned 1 year old this fall. The First Dog has made the Portuguese Water Dog a popular breed. The official portrait of Bo Obama. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

On Tuesday, April 14, First Pooch Bo made his official debut, met the press, and became a new pal for Malia and Sasha Obama. No wonder we all want one now! According to Stu Freemen, president of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, the PWD is “a wonderful family pet,” but also encourages those considering adopting one to “do the proper research to ensure that this breed fits their lifestyle.” Here are five things you should know about Portuguese Water Dogs:

1. PWD are very active.
These dogs are classified as Working Dogs, and they love to be on the go. Breeders recommend a minimum of two 20-minute sessions of free running in a fenced yard each day. Puppies that aren’t kept busy can be destructive, trying to work off all that built-up energy.

2. PWD are intelligent and curious.
The breed’s intelligence helps them to respond well to training. Bo has already been through obedience classes and learned to be a Canine Good Citizen. Bored puppies, however, will find some way to entertain themselves!

3. PWD are generally good with children.
As family dogs, Portuguese water dogs are gentle and loyal. Most love kids, but it’s always best to supervise children and dogs whenever they’re together.

4. PWD are hypoallergenic.
According to the American Kennel Club, this dog is considered non-shedding, and his fur is non-allergenic–good news for families with allergies. However, the thick curly coat requires regular brushing and clipping.
5. PWD like the water.
As the name implies, Portuguese water dogs love to swim. With their webbed feet, they were bred to assist fishermen in Portugal. Most PWD will do anything to get to water, so families with pools and ponds need to take this into consideration. One owner even reported their PWD learned how to turn on the Jacuzzi and jump into the tub!

For the right families, Portuguese water dogs make wonderful, loving pets. For more information about this breed, visit the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America.

This column first ran on, March 2009.