Terribly Important Question

What kind of dog should the Obamas get? The Trib’s running a poll, and reporting that Malia wants a goldendoodle:



But a previous poll found Americans in favor of a purebred poodle:

While PETA has issued a rare statement I actually agree with, encouraging the first family to adopt a shelter mutt:

If they don’t go for a rescue mutt, then my vote’s for the goldendoodle. What’s yours?

126 thoughts on “Terribly Important Question”

  1. Rescue mutt, definitely, but I have a soft spot for poodles due to my aunt’s sproingy little poodle, Khaki, who is one of the most delightful dogs ever.

  2. Definitely a shelter dog or a rescue–if they have their heart set on a particular breed, there are rescue organizations for just about all of them (there’s even one for poodle mixes), and I’m sure any one of them would be thrilled with the publicity of giving the President-Elect and his family a puppy dog.

    I don’t know what choices they’re considering, but I’m a fan of German shepards and collies.

  3. Michelle Obama said on Entertainment Tonight that they would be getting a rescue doggie

    Oh, yay! As long as they go for a used dog, I don’t really care if it’s a purebred… except, of course, that if they get any kind of purebred, a zillion people will get the same kind on a whim and then give them up when they realize they had no idea what dog ownership entails. So yeah, I’m voting mutt (and not designer mutt) for sure.

  4. I know this is super corny, but I think I will cry of joy if they get not just a shelter dog, but a mutt. Because of how young the Obama girls are this would probably be one of the most famous pets in the country, so this would be HUGE to those of us who work in rescue. Man, I’m almost as eager to hear the results of this as I am about his Cabinet!

  5. According to the Best Friends refuge, the Obamas have already pledged to adopt a shelter dog:

    Which could, of course, be a goldendoodle, or a poodle, or a corgi, or even a mixed weiner dog like my beloved Bertie Woofster. All kinds wind up in shelters, the only trick would be to find a compatible dog who doesn’t trigger an allergic response.

    Just out of curiousity, I ran a search on Petfinder.com for goldens, and it took me just a few seconds to find a golden/poodle cross.

  6. Malia is allergic, so some kind of poodle mix would be a good idea, even though my sense is that poodles are a bit high-strung. I envisioned them with a golden retriever (or a mutt that skews golden retriever), so I am in Camp Goldendoodle. Unfortunately it’s not an official breed, so there are no dedicated rescues. But there are poodle-mix rescues, and besides, we’re talking about the next president of the United States (I am nowhere near tired of saying that!) and his kids. I’m pretty sure he could put a call out to nationwide animal shelters and they’d offer up whatever doodles they had.

    I am in a sad position at the moment in that I have fallen in love with a particular breed but I know it’s not ethically sound to go to a breeder. It’s a popular and good-natured breed so rescues are scarce, meaning that (once I can afford a dog) I have to either give up on the idea or potentially wait years and years. Then again, I’ll love whatever dog I get, even if it’s a different breed from my fantasy dog…

  7. I thought PETA were against keeping animals as pets?

    The bit about the puppy in the speech was SO cool, they should get whatever kind they want. (But I’ll be extra pleased if it’s a mutt.) And I wish them and their puppy huge happiness in their new home.

  8. Fillyjonk, my sympathies, as I have a serious. corgi. problem. Even though, if I were to rescue one, it would probably try to herd the cats.

  9. I think that it is great that they have pledged to get a rescue doggie, but I hope that they are able to find a breed at a rescue that is compatable with Malia’s allergy needs. It would be so sad if they got a dog and fell in love with it and then had to give it back to a rescue or a shelter because it made her sick! My vote is for the pure-bred poodle, because of the three options, they are the only ones guaranteed to be hypoallergenic.

  10. killedbyllamas, have you looked on Petfinder? I just checked it out after I saw Eucritta mention it above, and found several Bernese mountain dog puppies and Berner mixes (usually with other breeds I love, like labs and German shepherds). (They were far-flung, which might affect you — doesn’t matter so much to me because a) I don’t know where we’ll be living when I can get a dog and b) I’d be willing to travel pretty far to pick one up.)

  11. It is beyond me why wingnut breeders think that we need to breed designer mutts when around 3 million dogs are killed each year (1/4 are usually purebred BTW). But we are talking about a group of people who continue to breed while 3 million animals are killed each year in the nation’s shelters.

    So in case you didn’t pick up on this: they’d better get a rescue or I’ll be disappointed. Frankly, I’m seeing a beagle or some sort of hound with Malia and Sasha. Of course… I think everybody should have a hound : )

  12. Kate, Bernese mountain dog! I didn’t realize I forgot to mention it. They are the best dog. The imaginary one is named Bartleby and he goes to Evanston to get me takeout from Joy Yee. (He takes a plane.)

  13. I thought PETA were against keeping animals as pets?
    Nah, that’s just something people like to throw around. They ARE against any sort of breeding whatsoever, though, even “responsible” breeding.

    Fillyjonk, I hear you! What breed is yours? My sister and her husband are planning on getting a dog after they come back from their long honeymoon in January, and she is obsessed with Portguese Water Dogs. As rescues for the breed are virtually nonexistent, she has definitely decided to go to a shelter and pick one that speaks to them (especially since she doesn’t want a puppy, but also because she doesn’t want to go to a breeder), but she’s bummed about it. I’m lucky in that my heart-breed, Greyhounds, are abundantly available in rescues!

  14. I say the goofiest, least adoptable mutt they can find! I would love to see the Obama girls get involved in animal advocating, they’re in an idea position to do so much good for the puppies and kitties!!!

  15. FJ, if it’s a popular breed, then the likelihood is that there are a fair few of them in rescue. It’s the rare breeds that tend not to be — but even there, if you’re able and willing to travel, you can often find a few *somewhere.*

    Try these —

    … both are national clearing-house databases for animals in shelters and rescue.

  16. FJ, those are SUCH gorgeous dogs! My primary school headmistress had a very old one (also a rescue dog) which was like a kind, placid, hair-shedding bear. It was too old for long walks but liked a gentle amble every day or so.

    (Did any of you come across the “Granny Gets a Vibrator” blog when it was going? There was a story about old dogs on there that made me cry my eyes out. I’m blinking hard just remembering it.)

  17. I’m a huge fan of adopting mutts from the shelter. But, I also ran into a guy with a miniature australian shepherd at the park and almost died from the cuteness. I can just picture Sasha chasing it around the White House lawn.

  18. “I thought PETA were against keeping animals as pets? ”

    They don’t discourage people from getting pets. They just say that in an ideal world people wouldn’t have pets, eat meat, go to the circus etc but live autonomous lives. I do love my animals but this many years in rescue has convinced me that animals probably would be better off without people.

  19. Oh, FJ, I love Bernese. There used to be two in the neighborhood who somehow managed to make friends with my parents’ high strung, Napoleon-complex papillon. They were the sweetest dogs.

  20. Yeah, Bernese are super-sheddy. Bartleby vacuums, of course. I think the real dog would not vacuum, but s/he might inspire us to do so, which would be nice.

  21. I could not be happier that the Obamas are also going to adopt a shelter/rescue dog. I am at this moment waiting on a phone call from Great Dog Rescue New England, hoping that they confirm my application to adopt an extreeeeemely adorable beagle-lab mix. Her name is Tara and she is 3 months old. I am hoping that my personal references are enough, since I don’t have a vet reference. *crosses fingers*

  22. Really, most dogs would work. I’m not a huge fan of the Average American Mutt, since they tend to be mixes of various sorts of hunting dogs (and yes, poodles *are* a kind of retriever). I don’t get on as well with hunting types as I do with guard types. Herding types are pretty meh… as much as I like sheep, I’d rather the dog didn’t half think *I* was one. Draft dogs tend to be pretty nice tho.

    And why on earth would black dogs get adopted less? Black and tan is such a standard coloring…

  23. I want any little dog with a cute face and an overall scrappy look. I’m a big fan of chihuahua-mixes because I love their little snouts. Poodles are pretty awesome because they are so smart. But I also want to take that goldendoodle home and snuggle the hell out of it.

    I am thrilled beyond measure that the Obamas plan to adopt a rescue dog, though. I mean, like really thrilled.

  24. Awww, Bernese are so cute! And speaking of cute, there is just entirely too much of it on Petfinder. I don’t plan on actually getting a dog until I have a fenced yard, but gah.

  25. I’m very partial to American Cocker spaniels – my family had one who lived to be almost 18 and we lost him just earlier this year. *blub* That said, I know that my first one, maybe two dogs will be shelter dogs. After that I may cave and get another spaniel puppy.

  26. If you’re going to get a goldendoodle, why don’t you just get a soft-coated wheaten terrier? They look the same.

    Also, I support a shelter puppy.

  27. whateverdoodles are mutts. Designer mutts, but mutts nonetheless.

    Shelter dog, I say. Standard poodles can be quite mellow. Actually, any breed can be mellow but toy and mini poodles tend to be treated like children, not like dogs,so they get neurotic and then turned over to shelters.

    I vote corgi, but then again, I always vote the straight corgi ticket. Well, a corgi mix would be okay too. But if the child’s allergic, that probably wouldn’t work out well.

  28. I’m all for a mutt, but I must say that THAT Golden Doodle, in the picture, is SO ADORABLE I WANT TO DIE.

    Also: Golde nRetriever rescues will generally take mixes, so you could possibly find a Golden Doodle there. When my parents rescued our last dog there was a golden/greyhound mix who was SO BEAUTIFUL, her name was lucky, I’ll never forget her. But she didn’t like the other golden they already had, so no go.

  29. Oooh, a rescue mutt would be brilliant for the Obama family, one with a bit of border collie in. Here in the UK there are loads of collie rescues which is sad because they are intelligent lovely dogs.

    I have a collie (who I had from a puppy) and a black rescue dog that is a bit of a mix of all types – we call her a GBD (Generic Black Dog) as there are so many of them around – my friend also has two GBD rescues so we end up with a pack of ’em. Rescues can be challenging, but it is so rewarding to see the nervous wreck of a mistreated dog turn into a loving, contented little hound!

  30. In my heart of hearts, I want them to get a cat because I’m such a total cat person.

    That said, yay! for the Obamas choosing a shelter animal! Whatever dog they choose, it’s a good inspiration to others to consider an animal in desperate need of a home.

    The way I like to choose a pet may not work for a family where one child has an allergy, of course, but my method of choice is to go down to the shelter with absolutely no fixed breed or color of pet in mind and see which one takes most to me. I’ve been doing it for years and it’s never turned out badly. The cat that wants most to be with me fits my temperment perfectly and shows me great affection.

    That said, I’d like to second the hope that the Obamas find a black pet. The reason is that people consider black cats and dogs to be bad luck, so that color cat or dog tends not to get adopted. They’re as much as twice as likely in some places not to find homes based entirely on prejudice and superstition.

    Oh, and FJ? Bartleby sounds AWESOME!

  31. Oh lordy, we’ve been talking about this on Dogster for AGES.

    Mostly I’m glad to hear PETA had one thing to say over the course of their existence that didn’t make me want to violently murder them. Those so-and-so’s give animal lovers and welfare activists alike a bad name. And they make vegetarians look like cultists… if they don’t watch it they’re not going to get taken out by the animal welfare people, it’s going to be a group of vegans who finally has had it being lumped in with them that’s going to bring them all down.

    Holy shit, someone mentioned PETA and I kept the rant down to a paragraph. Miracles DO happen.

    I have critters on the brain today. My journal has details. I wish Barack would abolish live feeding and make licenses a mandatory condition of the ownership of reptiles and certain exotics. Unfortunately I am sure he’s got other things to worry over. :(

    ANYWAY. CUTE CUTE CUTE puppy pics and I say the Obamas should just go to the shelter or to Petfinder and fall in love. Whether the doggie turns out to be pure, cross, or just plain mutt, it’ll be great. For them and for the dog. YAY!

    PS Goldendoodle is not a breed quite yet. Just sayin. When they get accepted by a registry, they will be a breed (and fanciers are working on it), until then, they’re a breed-in-the-works with the most lousy and unimaginative name the creators could possibly come up with. That and Labradoodles.

    I understand that the faddists creating “designer hybrids” (i.e. poorly-bred crosses) came AFTER the ones trying to make it legit, but it still irks me that people somehow think it’s the slightest bit cute to breed something with a poodle so you can stick “oodle” in the name. UGH. Names are important. I wish breeders would give them some thought. Breeds should be named for their purpose. If we named all breeds on their breeds of origin, every dog in the world no matter how pure or inbred the lineage nor how true to type they throw would be called, “mongrel.”

    ANYWAYZ. Goldendoodles still cute despite lousy moniker.

    Dogs still all cute regardless of breed.

    World still full of joy and glee on account of animals and people living on it together (some kind of species-neutral Puppy Power, a la Pound Puppies? did I just show my age by mentioning that show?).



  32. FJ! I love Berners! They are so sweet, my Aunt and Uncle have one. She’s a wonderful dog, but our whole family was kindof ticked taht they Drove from St. Louis to Iowa to buy this dog because their kids picked it out of a book. (I don’t think they even really like her now.)

    If you get a Berner it should come to Evanston and play in the snow with my Husky!!

    We found Vlad on Petfinder here is his entry that made us fall in love with him: http://search.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=8293823

  33. Another vote for shelter mutt or rescue. My only prebred pup came from a Beagle rescue, ending up there because she isn’t show or breeding quality, with her skinny tail. The other two are mutts, a Basset/German Shepherd mix, and what’s now suddenly known as a Goldador, though when we brought her home, she was still just a mutt.

  34. Michelle Obama has already announced that they will be adopting a shelter dog.

    I think they should get a dachshund, because…well…that’s what I have! Three of them to be exact *laughs*.

  35. As a dog rescue mom, I had the strongest urge as soon as President-Elect Obama said the line about the puppy I screamed out “get a rescue dog!!!”. What an example that would be and a hopeful boon for rescue pups! I am thrilled to see that Ms. Obama has stated they would be getting a rescue pup! Hmmm…wonder if they are interested in one of my current fosters…..

    They can get ANY kind of dog from a shelter/rescue group from a golden doodle to poodles to the cutest mutts ever! I have 4 mixes and 1 one-eyed shih-tzu.

    I would recommend an adult dog from a rescue that is potty trained and dogs from reputable rescues are temperament tested.

    What a glorious day!

  36. Poodles are most definitely available from rescue organizations: my mother has 5 poodles and 3 of them were rescues. I’m probably going to get a bit yelled at for this but I actually am not a fan of labradoodles or goldendoodles. There tends to be something of a public perception of poodles as a high-strung, fussy, girly dog, and believe me, they are not that way naturally – it’s the owners that turn them that way. Our standard is the most mellow dog you could imagine, so yeah, my vote’s for a poodle, and a rescue would be awesome. :)

  37. You know, I like the -doodle names, and I don’t agree they should only be named for their purpose. Besides, I think people started breeding with poodles partly to reliably get hybrids that people aren’t allergic to (and then they continued because they liked the result).

    The goldendoodle in the picture killed me with cute!! And yes, I doubt the first-family-elect will have any trouble finding a rescue dog that they aren’t allergic to. ;)

  38. For the record, I know goldendoodles aren’t a recognized breed. I distinguished between mutts and designer mutts upthread, because there’s a difference between non-AKC-recognized combos that are bred on purpose and mutts that came about because two random dogs got friendly — the latter, of course, being what shelters are full of.

  39. I think they should totally get a beagle, but that is because I love beagles and want one really badly. (There is a local rescue that I stalk.) That being said, I came across a cocker-spaniel/shiatsu mix yesterday that was super cute and extremely good natured, and my friend has a lab-pit-bull mix that is probably the best dog ever.
    Sometimes shelter puppies are hard to find, but I’m pretty sure the Obamas will be able to locate one :).

  40. I like doodles because they look like Muppets. I do think they could get the best of both worlds – a poodle mix from a rescue organization.

    And then we’ll all collectively die from cute.

  41. Aw that’s great that they are getting a rescue dog; I have two and I love them to pieces. They are the sweetest babies ever.

    I’ll speak up for beagles (disclosure: one of my rescues is a beagle and the other is a beagle mix of some kind (I think she’s a beagle/rat terrier). They are goofy and they’ve got that howly-bark, and while they love to play, they also love to sleep and laze around like bums…so…pretty much perfect.

  42. Doodles were originally bred to try to come up with a large dog that could be used as a guide dog for people with allergies. I’m horribly allergic so I can completely relate. My partner and I have a miniature poodle (that’s the medium-sized one in between standard (aka large) and toy (tiny). She is very mellow. We make jokes about how it is such a shame the dog can’t relax when she’s asleep on her back on the floor paws up and “girl parts to the wind.” There definitely are poodle rescues for all sizes of poodles.

    To the person who said “why on earth would black dogs not get adopted?” I’m not sure why but it is most definitely true of big black dogs. Maybe people think they are menacing looking?

  43. I am 100% for a shelter dog. Set a good example, Obamas! Also, I think that a goldendoodle will have too much energy for a family that won’t have time to exercise it. Why not a smaller dog that doesn’t need a handler to spend hours with it every day?

  44. My parents have the world’s most high-strung Berner.

    They were thinking they wanted to go into breeding, and bought this dog only to realize that she doesn’t really have the proper temperment.

    And when a Berner jumps up on you, you notice.

  45. It is true that some of the “doodle” crosses began in hopes of creating a superior service dog and one that would be less prone to shedding and aggravating allergies. No dog, no breed, is actually hypoallergenic, but because of the hairlike quality of poodle fur and the fact that they do not shed quite so much, they generally tend to make allergic folks suffer anywhere from somewhat to significantly less, an important quality even for an SD who does NOT have an allergic master, as SDs are exposed to many folk and somebody might be allergic.

    A lot of people think the “doodle” names are cute and that’s fine. I’m not arguing that the names themselves are not cutesy and fun to say. They are, actually. I personally think someone somewhere should claim that their mutt is a cross between a Pekinese and a Buhund just so they can call the resulting cross a Peke-a-Bu.

    It’s just that when it comes to a serious breed that a breeder honestly wants a kennel club to take seriously, the “designer” puppy millers have really ruined those kinds of names for me. When I hear a name that is two breed names smooshed together, all I can think about the resulting puppies (even when it is not true) is that some careless jerk took any two dogs of those breeds and smooshed them together too. You know?

    I just wish they’d take the two seconds necessary to think of something that’s cute (if cute is indeed important to them) AND that actually sounds like a dog they worked hard to breed true to type and with healthy, quality parents, NOT some careless cross bred with loveless greed when I could have rescued an identical animal for 50 bucks at any shelter. If I want a worm-riddled pup whose parents have never been CERF’d with the genetic diseases of TWO breeds instead of one running through their DNA, I will adopt. That’s all I mean.

    It hits home for me pretty hard because my dog came from a puppy mill. It’s why I get so passionate about something that, honestly, is perhaps a little stupid and shouldn’t matter so much. I just feel any responsible breeder would do well to distance themselves from being associated with millers.

    Okay, well, that and I have to admit it cuts me to the core of my creative writing degree to see something so unimaginative. Even calling it just plain Doodle would have been better. Still sounds cute, still has “oodle,” has much potential for lots of fun art puns, but doesn’t bring to mind any imagery of my own dog’s mother rotting in a cage somewhere, toothless and alone and destined to be shot once she can no longer produce. :(

    GEEZ, and I am actually in a good mood today and thought I came here to be fluffy. The critters are my weak spot… if someone told me I could only have an active voice under one single banner, for the rest of my life, I’m sorry but I’d leave the fat folk, the other races, women, the disabled, the hungry, all in hands more capable than mine, because to me it is the creatures who will always need me most. They need my voice because they have none of their own. They are free to use it as long as I’m living. The problem is they call on that favor from me at the darndest times. :P

  46. No dog, no breed, is actually hypoallergenic, but because of the hairlike quality of poodle fur and the fact that they do not shed quite so much, they generally tend to make allergic folks suffer anywhere from somewhat to significantly less

    Er… this is what “hypoallergenic” means.

  47. Standard poodle! I have to give that my vote as I own one and they are truly the best dogs with the best personalities and anyone who has ever been around them knows this! :D

  48. Oh shoot, Sugar Leigh. All that well reasoned and passionate commentary just when I was coming in here to post this picture of a…


  49. Er… this is what “hypoallergenic” means.

    Yeah, but to be fair, it’s typically taken to mean, “Will not trigger allergies at all.” And SL’s point is, you can’t guarantee that of any dog.

  50. I don’t think they should get a dog.

    I know, that’s probably not the right answer; however, getting a dog (or a pully) is a big life-changing event. It’s not good for the dog to be interjected into all that chaos.

    If they get a dog, they should get Oprah and Cesar Millan to do training with it.

  51. Geez, President of the United States, and the best he can do is a dog? Aren’t there *any* cats available? :-p

  52. Geez, President of the United States, and the best he can do is a dog? Aren’t there *any* cats available? :-p

    Nah, cats are dangerous in his line of work. They’d have their paws on the nuclear launch codes in minutes. :-)

  53. i have to say, for a fluff post this thread is kinda angsty. people! president barack obama! puppieeeeeeeez!!! :)

    (Also, why the hell does it matter where a rescued puppy came from or how it was bred?? Rescuing puppies that need homes is wonderful. Period.)

  54. FJ– oh, hey, thank you! I thought hypoallergenic actually meant “no allergies ever.” Not “lessened chance or lessened reaction.” SO. My mental dictionary got an important update today! :)

    OTM, no worries. Mention PETA, puppy mills, anything related to mills, exotics, or hell, pets or animals at all– hell, it’s like I’m a wind-up toy. Just watch me go! I promise I’ve more than plenty positive animal rants to go with the negative ones. I keep pictures of my dwarf frogs on my cel phone. My friends roll their eyes when I whip that thing out. “And that one’s Mobi, she’s the female, her life story bla bla bla, and this here is Ishmael, and the two of them mate like crazy and here’s more than you ever wanted to know about how frogs do it!”

    Just to add to the warm fuzzies, here is an uplifting story of a dog named Hope from the Prisoners of Greed website. (I made sure it was the least graphic and heartwrenching out of the personal stories, but still, warning to the sensitive, the first pic will break your heart in two):

  55. Um, Volcanista, I’m sorry? That wasn’t my intention at all. I’m not saying rescues aren’t great. They are. I’m just saying puppy mills suck and it’s important not to promote them, in any way, ever.

    Crap, I should have stayed out of this one. I was lured by cute puppy photos! :P

    Here, this will make amends. My dog does the dishes!

  56. I think you’re right about a dog nanny. Also, I meant to type “puppy” and not “pully” because I think getting a PULLY is kind of lame.

  57. I really hope they go for a rescue mutt. If not, I’d love them to get a GSD, because I have one (with one lop ear) and she is beautiful. She’d make a great First Dog, actually, but unless I get elected President that’s not happening.

    Anyway, dogs are dogs. I don’t think I’ve ever met a dog that I wouldn’t happily have taken home with me. Whatever they choose will be fantastic.

  58. Hmmm..somehow I only comment on threads about puppies and mondegreens!

    ANYWAY…I’m all for shelter dogs too and will be getting one soon as well, with slightly less fanfare than the Obamas, but I do have to put in a good word for the doodles. I’m not sure if there is doodle rescue yet, but my parents informally “rescued” a goldendoodle puppy from a jerky family who pretty much ignored him**, and he’s WONDERFUL. Adorable, friendly, very gentle, great with kids and other dogs, and not sheddy. He’s a total teddy bear!

    ** Um, the family was looking to give the puppy away because he was too much trouble (he’s no trouble, they’re just assholes), and someone recommended my parents. I realize I made it sound like they snuck into this family’s backyard and stole him!!

  59. @ LilahMorgan: Hey! I resent that! Socks never once pushed the button in all those years in the White House!

    (though I have no doubt at all that he would have if he could)

  60. Hah, Shiba mix FTW; adorable; but not obedient dogs, the President needs someone who won’t cater to his every whim. Plus a cat too, no reason they can’t afford to feed one of each!

    I don’t know what’s up with black dogs either, they’re cute. I do know that a vet let me adopt two black kittens that he was saving until after Halloween to give to the shelter. Apparently lots of shelters won’t allow adoptions of black cats in October for reasons I’d rather not detail. But the vet knew I had one black fellow already and was good cat people.

  61. Somewhere earlier today, I read that Biden will be getting a dog too, a ‘big dog.’

    I think a bloodhound would be nice. It could drool all over the secret service.

  62. Why is PETA weighing in? They don’t believe in people keeping animals as pets. Besides, I’m pretty sure the Obama’s already said they planned to adopt a shelter dog.
    Shelters and rescue groups have poodles and those doodle dogs , so I think adopting an animal who’s in need of a home would be wonderful. As for breeds, I have a soft spot for Boston Terriers. All American dogs and great with kids. At least mine have been great with my kids.

  63. I think they should definitely get a shelter pup.

    I have a beagle, and while he is purebred, I adopted him from another family who couldn’t take care of him. I was his third owner, the poor guy was definitely traumatized, but eventually he realized he had a good home. Bailey (named after Bailey’s Irish Cream) is a wonderful addition to the household, and boy is he full of energy!

    The Obamas could get a lizard or a ferret for all I care, but there needs to be an official White House pet, LOL!

  64. I like the idea of a big, black, shelter mutt. About 11 years ago my family adopted a puppy whose mother and all of her brothers and sisters died because the mother was bitten by a snake while pregnant. She grew up into a dog who is, as best we can tell, a mix of black lab and Australian shepherd, though her mother looked like Hooch from Turner and Hooch. She is such a loving, sweet dog and I miss her very much. (She’s not dead, I just live on the other side of the planet.)

  65. BTW, there are rescues for every breed AND many rescues have ways of getting dogs across the country. From networks of volunteers who drive legs of trips, to truckers, to airlines that donate transport (or even private airplane owners – I am not thrilled with airlines and dogs in cargo holds).

    If Malia is allergic, then these dogs and mixes of these dogs will work (AND yes, there are rescues for all of them work – one of the rescues I work for specializes in “hypoallergenic” dogs, which also have the bonus of being non-shedding!)

    Shih Tzu
    Lhaso Apso

    Some of the “doodle” designers also end of being hypoallergenic but it is the old genetic luck-of-the-draw if this is the case or not.

  66. I have two seizure alert cats. The elder of the two gives me up to four hours warning and his son will alert me EIGHT hours (+/-12min) in advance of a nasty one. I check with my boys before going past my porch. I get out MUCH more now than I did before my alert cats.

    PETA can kiss my epileptic ass! I will never again live without the reassuring company of a seizure alert service animal and the freedom of movement they bring me.

  67. Adi V. that is incredible. I’m so glad you have those animals in your life.

    My little rescue beagle has epilepsy and right now the medication she takes works pretty well, so, thank Maude, the seizures have been limited. I am positive that what she lives with is nowhere near as serious as what you’re dealing with, but the having witnessed her seizures…it just makes me so glad to hear that you are providing those precious boys with a loving home and they are providing you with some safety and peace of mind.

    My best to you and the kitties!

  68. Adi V., Wow! I love kitties, but I had no idea they could do that. I’m impressed. My cats just seem so, well, self-serving (I mean that in the most loving way) that I never imagined they could be service animals. Cool.

  69. i hope they get a shelter dog…

    but i admit i voted chinese crested on the poll! largely b/c i have had 2 hairless cresteds and fostered another while i was a part of a crested rescue group. and it’s even possible that they could get a crested from the pound. that’s where the one i fostered came from. so you just never know! the hairless cresteds are great for ppl w/allergies since they don’t shed and you can basically toss them in the shower w/you to bathe them as much as you like to reduce any dander. the one i have now just loves when i put lotion on him after bath time. he prances around like a little pony. it’s so cute!

  70. RESCUE MUTT!!!!!!!

    They might even find a goldendoodle or some variation thereof (anything -doodle will be hypoallergenic) in a shelter.

  71. I’d vote for the mutt. Barring that, they can still rescue a purebred dog from a shelter or a purebred rescue group. After all, I got my pathetic, one-eyed, crooked-faced pug from a pug rescue. I also got my brilliant, beautiful, and loving mutt from a shelter. Either way, they should rescue a dog.

    And, may I add, OMFG AMERICA!! PRESIDENT ELECT OBAMA! I’m still giddy with all that it means, symbolically, realistically, hopefully. WHEE!

  72. I should also add – that my pug is also adorable and lovable. Everyone falls for him. I just realized my previous comment probably sold him short!

  73. I, too, hope that they get a shelter dog. A cute little doggy with great big paws that grows into a smart, luffable oaf.

  74. I vote they get a pit bull and keep a good supply of lipstick on hand. They should name it Sarah.

    We have a pit bull (Don VIto), who is the best natured, goofiest dog imaginable, and the most loyal. We also have a small ball of golden fluff that appears to be part Ewok. Finally, we have Harry, a Jack Russell mix who got the brains of a Jack but the calmness of Thorazine. Although all our dogs were free from people who didn’t want them, Harry is our only truly shelter dog, and he’s also the only one with dog aggression problems. Luckily I outweigh him by something close to 200 pounds, so he never gets in real trouble, but he also misses out on the joy of mingling with any but a selected group of dog-family and dog-friends. Of all three, the pit is the only truly social dog, but the others are, like the people in the house, works in progress.

    Did anyone else feel like yesterday was a holiday?

  75. FJ– oh, hey, thank you! I thought hypoallergenic actually meant “no allergies ever.” Not “lessened chance or lessened reaction.” SO. My mental dictionary got an important update today! :)

    Pure etymology — “hypo” = less. But Kate is right that some people (I am looking at YOU, earring manufacturers) do use it to mean “will not cause allergies,” which as you point out is misleading (and not just for dogs).

    Did anyone else feel like yesterday was a holiday?

    In the sense that I got no work done, yes!

    Also, I got home from dance and my husband had set the coffee table with wine, bread, olive oil, and our digital picture frame loaded up with photos of the Obamas and Bernese mountain dogs.

  76. I have been wondering this same thing!

    As long as it’s a rescue dog, I’ll be happy – though I’d love to see a rescued mutt rather than support of breeders and all the inhumane havoc they wreak.

  77. Definitely a shelter or rescue dog and one that’s large enough (if it’s a purebred) to discourage puppy mills from cranking more out by the semi-trailer truckload. Those little designer accessory dogs, the ones you can tote around in a purse like Yorkies and Chihuahuas, seem to be the favorites of the sadists operating the puppy mills.

    Actually, I think that as long as we’re never subjected to the sight of President Obama toting the family dog around under his arm like a weird handbag the way AwOL carries Barney the breed they pick is irrelevent.

  78. oooo, my parents have a goldendoodle…my dad’s had some pretty significant health issues the past few years and they needed something that would by hypoallergenic. they are wonderful dogs and you can find them at shelters.

  79. Wow, I’m not even a dog person (cats, all the way, man!), and that doodle in the picture grabbed my heart and squoze it…

    I’d suggest (in fun! if they want a puppy more, that’s their choice!) that they should get a cat instead because I’m such a cat person, but it’s probably not such a good idea with allergies in the house.

    rescue dog all the way, though!

  80. I think that as long as we’re never subjected to the sight of President Obama toting the family dog around under his arm like a weird handbag the way AwOL carries Barney the breed they pick is irrelevent.

    Heh. Al and I saw W. last week, and I swear, the way they depicted his relationship with Barney (and Spot, RIP) almost gave me warm feelings toward Bush. There’s a scene toward the end where Barney’s sitting on his lap as they watch TV, and Bush shares his pretzels with the dog… killed me. One of these days, I swear, I am going to get myself in trouble with my uncontrollable kneejerk feeling that anyone who’s a dog person can’t be all bad.

  81. Please, never support the purchasing of a “hybrid,” i.e. a mutt
    I’ve yet to see one producer of “hybrids” that is a reputable breeder, that does the necessary testing on their breeding dogs, that titles the breeding dogs in something, that requires and enforces spay/neuter contracts, that requires the buyer of a dog to return the dog to the breeder if they can’t keep it, that fully and carefully screens the buyer to be sure they are ready to own a dog period, much less a dog of that breed.

    Encouraging the purchase of “hybrids” is a VERY BAD THING.

    I’m for the Obamas rescuing a dog. If that isn’t possible, they need to go to a truly reputable breeder, and you won’t find one breeding “doodles”

  82. Bush shares his pretzels with the dog

    Inhumane! Those things will choke you!

    (Get your crusty old Bush jokes in now, folks! We’re not going to have him to kick around much longer!)

  83. … toting the family dog around under his arm like a weird handbag …

    Our dog likes to be carried around like a football. So do our cats. Why is this a problem?

    Myself, while I’m glad that the Obamas will apparently look to rescue first for their dog, I just want them to get the right dog — for *them.* You know — the one who won’t provoke Malia’s allergies too much, the one they’ll all love, the one who’ll have a home with them for life.

  84. If they don’t get a shelter dog, or a wander-up, I’d vote for a beagle, but then I’m partial. My folks have a great beagle (who was, incidentally, a wander-up, as was their other dog, a cocker spaniel mix).

    But I agree with Eucritta — they need the best dog for them. I hope they find a good one whom they need, and who needs them.

  85. you made the front page of wordpress! w00t!

    also, shelter dog. though my girlfriend has a thing for labradoodles, so i’d vote goldendoodle second.

  86. The options for ‘low dander’ dogs cover the spectrum. Big, small, hairy, no hair, workers, loungers.

    Australian Terrier
    Bichon Frise
    Bouvier des Flandres
    Cairn Terrier
    Chinese Crested
    Giant Schnauzer
    Irish Water Spaniel
    Italian Greyhound
    Miniature Schnauzer
    Norfolk Terrier
    Norwich Terrier
    Poodle (all types)
    Portuguese Water Dog
    Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
    Tibetan Terrier
    Welsh Terrier
    Yorkshire Terrier

    Of course I’m a big fan of the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (Chessies), and they have rescue organizations, but they are working dogs and may not do for the WH environment.

  87. I agree with Jenna. I’m upset about the ‘doodle’ suggestion. Designer dogs are irresponsibly bred – period. Also, they are not likely to be hypo-allergenic or low-shedding. A cross between two breeds does not automatically inherit all positive characteristics of both.

  88. And god forbid someone rescue a doodle in need of a home, because THAT would be wrong.

    I don’t think one person on this thread advocated that someone purchase a dog from an irresponsible breeder. This whole thread is about what kinds of dogs would be cute for the first family to rescue.

    Count me in with people who thinks dogs in need of homes can be cute, regardless of their OMGEVILLLL breed. I’ll say it: doodles are fucking cute. If I was looking for a dog and saw one in a shelter, I might want to adopt it. I’m not sorry.

  89. @volcanista, WORD.

    I’ve got a little black-and-tan chiweenie, myself, a dachshund-chihuahua cross. Now, when I adopted Bertie, I didn’t intend to get a ‘designer’ crossbreed — I didn’t know there were such things. I hadn’t even intend to get a dog that particular day; my husband and I had just dropped by the shelter to introduce ourselves as prospective adopters. We didn’t expect to find the right dog right away.

    But there was Bertie, who was the right dog, trembling and too skinny and desperately eager to be taken home. So that’s what we did. And no, I’m not sorry. At all. I’ve got a great little dog.

  90. Volcanista, NOBODY is suggesting that rescuing any dog of any breed or mix is wrong, or saying that any breed is “evil.” No, really. Seriously. Nobody has done that. Not one. All dogs are wonderful. And mixes are great. And rescuing is wonderful and great and good. We all agree on that. You sound so angry and I just want you to know we’re ON THE SAME PAGE. HONEST.

    People are talking negatively about PURCHASING designer mixes from PUPPY MILLS and PET SHOPS and BACKYARD BREEDERS. And regardless of breed or mix, THAT is wrong. VERY wrong. The breeding of dogs is something that should be done with passion and responsibility, and the utmost care for the lives created.

    I will not mention aloud in this thread the HORRORS suffered by dogs in puppy mills. Only be rest assured that what they go through there makes the Manson family look like Saint Andrew. Pet store pups, mills, and other irresponsible breeders are deserving of a mention in a thread about puppies, especially in light of the approaching holiday season.

    A lot of people just don’t know!

    Goodhearted, well-meaning souls purchase thousands of these little lives, imagining that their parents frolic somewhere, loved and vetted and fed. The truth is more like a grim nightmare than a Grimm fairy tale.

    I apologize for bringing something serious into a fluff thread, but if we really love dogs (and we must, because here we are talking about them and cooing over pictures) then we care about what happens to them. And we educate, just in case there are people here who haven’t heard yet. There was a time when I had no freaking clue what a puppy mill was. Thank Dog I know the truth now.

    That’s all anybody was getting at. The dogs themselves aren’t the problem. It’s the mentality of irresponsible breeders who put “cute” above “healthy” and “profitable” above “not torturing innocent animals.”

  91. I *have* allergies and used to have a springer spaniel and a brittany. The springer was an adorable but protective (good with kids, wary with nonintroduced adults) goofball who knocked me over once despite being about 1/3 my weight. The brittany didn’t bond as well but she was still cute.

    They were both shorthaired enough to not particularly trigger my allergies. But yeah, rescue all the way (despite the fact that both Brandywine and Champagne were from breeders–I was younger and not as informed on the subject).

    And I think the Obamas should get a First Cat too. Domestic shorthairs can be cute, come in all kinds of colors, and also are less allergy-inducing. Definitely no longhairs.

  92. The problem with “designer” breeds is that talking about them inadvertently promotes them. And that encourages thousands of idiots all over the country to breed them irresponsibly because they think it will be “fun” and they can make money on it. A lot of the pet overpopulation problem comes from not only the puppy mills but also from backyard breeders who don’t think about the long term consequences of their actions, including future health problems in the dogs they are breeding.

    As someone who is still mourning my rescued dalmatian who just passed away at nearly 15 (we adopted him as a 6 year old adult dog from the Humane Society) I’ve seen the results firsthand of how people treat dogs in our disposable society once they get past the puppy stage. It is heartbreaking. I was disappointed but not surprised to hear the Obamas say they are going to adopt a puppy. I wish they would set a good example and adopt an adult dog. There are millions out there who are trained, loving and need good homes.

  93. As a dachshund person, I’d root for one of them.

    Except: they widdle. On everything. And I cannot in good conscience advocate the Obama’s getting a dog that will destroy the White House carpet.

    I will say: I got my (now 15 year old) Tucker from a shelter. And I went specifically looking for a purebreed of some sort, or a known mix. I needed an apartment dog, and I knew that no matter what I would be spending the next 10 years without a yard.

    Hence the need to get a dog that was basically guaranteed to not be over 25 lbs. Which ruled out any puppy- I had to get a dog that was full grown. I simply couldn’t take the chance that I was going to be the owner of a puppy that would get over sized.

    With the allergies, the Obamas are in a similar situation: No matter what they get, they need to know it’s as hypoallergenic as possible- which means knowing something about what kind of breed/cross it is.

    Luckily, as president of the United States, you are perfectly ok with getting a dog from anywhere in the country- thus causing whatever elusive puppy they decide on to show up in a rescue or shelter.

    PS: Dogs make excellent handbags. Or in my case: dogs decide they want you to carry them, and that is that.

  94. SugarLeigh, okay, I see what you’re saying. It kind of seemed like even in a fluff thread, even with the election over, people couldn’t seem to stop arguing, and it frustrated me! I’m so sick of everyone arguing! Election exhaustion!

    Irresponsible breeders are very bad, agreed, though there is a question of scale. One small-time breeder who means well but doesn’t really know what they’re doing is a problem and that should be discouraged, but it’s not abuse on the scale of a puppy mill. Did the state measure to ban puppy mills pass, btw? Anyone know?

    Taylor, actually, most people don’t have much in the way of an allergic reaction to my long-hairs. Or at least they didn’t – one is now getting older and having more dander, so it might be worse now. And they do have a lot of hair. Goodness. And one of them is basically a handbag, too. Or a lap warmer. He’s ridiculous.

  95. Just a point – I’m a vet, I should say – there *are* some responsible breeders. It’s not just an either/or between rescue and puppy mills. I know lots of breeders who breed a carefully planned litter every two or three years, who do every health test under the sun to give the puppies the best prospects, who take back every puppy they’ve bred if need be, and help their breed rescue even with dogs that are nothing to do with them. Of course it’s great to get a dog from rescue, and a dreadful thing that puppy mills (puppy farms in the UK) still exist. But it’s also a real shame that so few people realise that that really excellent, dedicated breeders do exist, and can be a fabulous support to the novice dog owner. To use the word “breeder” as an unqualified term of abuse is no better than blind prejudice against any other group of people, which is not what this blog is all about. Unless you agree with PETA that breeding dogs or keeping them as pets at all is wrong: but I think my dogs would rather exist than not, given the choice.

  96. Alison S., I don’t know if you noticed that I used the term “backyard breeders” in my post when I talked about breeders – I want to clarify that that is a term commonly used among pet lovers I speak to regularly to distinguish them from responsible breeders (I’d say professional but that doesn’t seem to quite be the right term either) who care about continuing their breed of dog, oversee their puppy adoptions very carefully and and are not just in it for money.

    There needs to be a lot more education about responsibility and pet ownership in this country, period. Because we still have a BIG pet overpopulation problem. Millions of truly wonderful dogs and cats are euthanized each year, not because they are have issues that keep them from being good pets, but because there aren’t enough decent people out there willing or able to give them good homes. Each and every one of those pets deserves a good life too. And they aren’t getting it.

    With this continuing to happen at such a huge rate (and with the increasing numbers of pets being dumped at shelters right now due to the worsening economy), I believe breeding in general should be just plain discouraged so it will become more commonplace for it to be left more to the legit people who really know what they are doing.

  97. @Marilyn, the term I’ve seen used among responsible, small scale breeders such as Alison S describes is ‘hobbyist,’ as it underscores that it’s an unprofitable endeavor done for love. ‘Professional’ on the other hand I’ve mostly seen used for licensed and inspected larger-scale breeding operations, which are run for profit — basically, mills with clean kennels.

    I’d also like to suggest Nathan Winograd, ‘Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No-Kill Revolution in America.’ He’s got a blog, too:
    … and all I can really say about it, is that it’s one of the few books I’ve ever read that really did substantially change how I thought about an issue.

  98. @ the picture:

    who’s a cute puppy? who’s a cute puppy? Oh yes you are! Oh yes you are! boogy boogy boo!

    *ahem* OK, I’m done now.

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