Dog Clubs Weigh In on the Obama Dog Choices

Purebred clubs air concerns about the unpredictability of mixed-breed puppies.

Posted: January 21, 2009, 5 a.m. EST

Before President Barack Obama and his family decide on what kind of puppy they’ll name as the next “first dog,” the Poodle Club of America and the Labrador Retriever Club have spoken out against one of the two finalists — a cross between the two breeds, known as a “Labradoodle.”

The unpredictability of this hybrid dog concerns longtime breed experts like Peggy McDill of the Poodle Club of America, who said the first family would be better off electing a purebred dog. Also being eyed by Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, is the Portuguese Water Dog. The reason for narrowing the field to these choices had much to do with a desire to reduce Malia’s allergies.

However, McDill said, the “Labradoodle” hasn’t been successful as a low-shedding dog, mainly because Labradors are “terrible shedders.” The goal of a Lab-Poodle mix, first produced in Australia in 1989 through an experimental breeding program sponsored by the Royal Guide Dog Association, was to create a dog with the best of both breeds, including the Lab’s temperament and the Poodle’s low-shedding coat, to serve people with allergies. “It didn’t work,” McDill said.

On top of that, Poodles are too social to serve as guide dogs, she said. And although she would love to see a Poodle in the White House — as would a majority of the 42,000 people who voted in an American Kennel Club presidential puppy poll – McDill said a “Portie” would make a fine choice.

Fred Kampo, vice president of the LRC, said it’s important for both clubs to make the Obamas and dog lovers everywhere aware of the differences between a purebred and a mixed-breed dog. For example, there is no predictability in size, temperament, energy level, or coat type when it comes to mixed breeds.

Portuguese Water Dogs are known for their high energy, friendliness, and low-shedding coats, as well as for being Sen. Edward Kennedy’s breed of choice. “We want to educate people on the misconceptions of the designer dog and encourage the Obamas to get a PWD,” McDill added.

Read more about the search for the Obama dog -


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lynette   olympia, WA

4/11/2009 11:05:37 AM

i have a labradoodle and he is a low shedder and very smart.its my opinion that mixed breeds make better healthier dogs without the health problems of overbred dogs my nex dog will be a mixed breed,...probably a rescue which you could say the same things about.

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Linda   Kalamazoo, MI

2/9/2009 9:14:09 PM

Having researched extensively before purchasing our family dog, I would hope the First Family to choose the Australian Labradoodle. The Australian Labradoodle is only a couple of steps away from becoming a recognized breed. We bought ours from a reputable kennel. She has a family tree to be admired and her ancesters are all wonderful Labradoodles...The breed is standardized if purchased from a reputable Australian Labradoodle kennel. Labradoodles have an incredible intuitive nature. The dog's coat will be shedfree, can be curly wool or wavy, spiral fleece; it's disposition will be laid back but friendly, some lines favoring the calmness of the therapy dog, and the forever family will be assured of a wonderful new canine family member...I would hope a multi-generation Labradoodle would be the First Family's choice.

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Peggy   Orange, VA

2/7/2009 12:06:14 PM

hey- lay of the mixed breed choice! I have a first generation labradoodle...she is sweet,smart,funny,and BEAUTIFUL. I just love
...and I have pictures!!!!! good choice.I am partial to the blondes.

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Linny   Sydney, PA

2/1/2009 5:39:15 AM

This so called "Press Release" is propaganda, and nothing more than an attempt by the Poodle Club of America to increase sales by their members.

There are many visually impaired and other people with disabilities around the world who would not have the quality of life that they enjoy today without their Labradoodle Guide and Assistance Dogs, and the hard work and dedication of the people involved with the Guide Dogs Associations who train them. It is very disappointing to see an organisation such as the PCA attempting to deny their existence in order to advance its own

The blatant misinformation on their website and in this press release does absolutely nothing to enhance the credibility of either the PCA or the Labrador Retriever Club of America.

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