Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

Happy Inauguration Day

It’s Inauguration Day in the United States.  We wish Barack Obama all the best.  Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or an Independent I think we all want our country to have a great four years.


And, to make this dog-related, we are still waiting for President Obama to announce his family’s choice for White House pooch.  We’re told that his daughters have narrowed down their choice to the Labradoodle and the Portuguese Water Dog.



A cream Labradoodle with hair type coat.  Wikipedia

A cream Labradoodle with hair type coat. Wikipedia

The Labradoodle is a cross between a Poodle and a Labrador.  They can come in different sizes depending on whether the Poodle in the cross is a Toy Poodle, a Miniature Poodle or a Standard Poodle — so that’s quite a large difference in size.  The reason breeders breed this cross is because they are hoping to produce dogs that are as close to being hypoallergenic as possible.  There are no completely hypoallergenic dogs, but Poodles, with their curly coats, often seem to shed less than other breeds.  By breeding Poodles to Labradors it’s hoped that they will pass on their coat characteristics to their puppies.  However, Labradoodles can have several different types of coat — curly, wavy, and more straight like the Lab’s coat.  People with allergies (like President Obama’s daughters) can have differing reactions to a Labradoodle’s coat depending on the type and the individual dog.



Labradoodles were originally bred in Australia in the 1980s because it was believed the cross would make excellent dogs for working as guide dogs for the blind.  Labs and Poodles are two of the smartest dogs around and they are both very trainable which seemed to make the idea of using the cross for guide dogs very appealing.  It was also thought that by crossing two purebred breeds that the cross would have “hybrid vigor” and be healthier than either purebred breed.  Unfortunately, this has not proven to be true.  Both Poodles and Labs can be subject to hip dysplasia and they can pass this problem on to Labradoodle puppies.  Labradoodles can also inherit Progressive Retinal Atrophy from their Poodle parent.  If you are interested in a Labradoodle you should ask the same kind of questions that you would ask the breeder of any purebred dog — ask about the status of the parents’ hips and eyes; and ask about other health screening the puppies and parents have received.



A Portuguese Water Dog doing agility.

A Portuguese Water Dog doing agility.

The other candidate for First Dog is the Portuguese Water Dog.  These dogs have a long history of helping fishermen on boats and they are natural swimmers.  They’re an outgoing, active breed that needs lots of exercise.  They are considered affectionate and adventurous dogs.  They are great family dogs and they love kids.  They are considered a very good dog for people with allergies and they do not usually shed very much.  They are typically about 21-23 inches tall and can weigh up to 60 lbs.  They may live as long as 14 years.  Health issues in the breed can be hip dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Storage Disease and Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy.



The Portuguese Water Dog once existed all along Portugal’s coast, where it was taught to herd fish into the nets, to retrieve lost tackle or broken nets, and to act as a courier from ship to ship, or ship to shore.  Portuguese Water Dogs rode in bobbing trawlers as they worked their way from the warm Atlantic waters of Portugal to the frigid fishing waters off the coast of Iceland where the fleets caught saltwater codfish to bring home.


In Portugal, the breed is called Cao de Agua (pronounced Kown-d’Ahgwa). Cao means dog, de Agua means of water.  In his native land, the dog is also known as the Portuguese Fishing Dog.  Cao de Agua de Pelo Ondulado is the name given the longhaired variety, and Cao de Ague de Pelo Encaradolado is the name for the curly-coat variety.


As with any dog, people with allergies can have different reactions to different dogs, so if you’re considering a Portuguese Water Dog as a pet you should meet the individual dog to see if you have a reaction.


Either of these dogs would make great pets for the First Family if they are careful to choose a dog that their daughters are not allergic to.  The Obamas have said that they want to get a dog from a shelter so that may be a problem.  You don’t usually find genuine Labradoodles and Portuguese Water Dogs in shelters, just waiting around for people to adopt them.  Both dogs usually come from breeders, especially if you’re looking for a puppy.  If the Obamas are willing to work with rescue they may have some luck finding a Labradoodle or an adult Portuguese Water Dog but so far they have only mentioned getting a puppy.  If you’ve visited any shelters recently then you probably know that it’s rare to find puppies there.  Most dogs in shelters are young adults or oldsters.  And the largest number of dogs are Lab mixes (not Labradoodles) and the so-called “Pit Bulls” which aren’t a breed at all but a misnomer for anything that looks like a Bully breed of dog (such as Bull Terrier mixes).  It’s a great idea to adopt a shelter dog but it’s much harder if you go there with a particular breed in mind because it can be very difficult to find a dog of a particular breed, age or sex.  If you’re going to adopt from a shelter you should try to stay open to the dogs you will see.  You may find a great dog but it may be entirely different from what you thought you were going to adopt.


So, we’ll see what kind of dog the Obama family ends up getting.  Will they get a Labradoodle or a Portuguese Water Dog?  Will it be a puppy?  Will it come from a shelter or rescue?  Or, will they visit a shelter and fall in love with a totally different dog than they came to see?  Maybe the new president will let us know soon.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | dogs, General, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment