portuguese water dog Archive

White House Decks the Halls With All Things Bo

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Buttons and Bo's!

By Janet McCulley

First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed military families to the White House yesterday for the first peek at this year’s holiday decorations. Celebrating the season with the theme “Shine, Share, Give,” this year's holiday decorations, hung by volunteers from 37 states, feature none other than our fave first family dog Bo Obama in many of the festive designs. The centerpiece of Christmas at the White House is the official tree, an 18½-feet tall balsam fir in the Blue Room. The tree is decorated with holiday cards created by military children, medals, badges and patches from all the military branches.

[Just for fun: Do you know Bo? Take a quiz!]

What do marshmallows, trash bags and buttons have in common?

The Obamas' famous Portuguese water dog is represented in nearly every room of the public tour, and the whimsical Bo 're-creations' range from small ornaments to life-size topiaries made from everyday materials like buttons, licorice and even trash bags!  My favorite is a felt 'Bo' design that stands 4½ feet tall.

Mad props to Heather Cooper the floral designer who designed and assembled the amazingly creative Bo statuaries. A 'Bo' made of bits of licorice or trash bags?  How cool is that?! (In fact, watching the video below kind of makes me want to plug in my glue gun and get all crafty…at least for 10 minutes until the feeling passes and I regain consciousness.)

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Check out all the holiday 'Bo's' in the video below and be one of the first to get a glimpse of how all the Bo decorations throughout the White House were made! Thanks to Megan Slack and The White House Blog for sharing this story!

Top 8 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

Portuguest Water Dog

Earlier this year, President Obama and the first family welcomed Bo the Portuguese Water Dog into their family, particularly for his hypoallergenic coat, since their daughter Malia has allergies. She is not alone in her plight, as approximately 10 percent of Americans are allergic to dog dander … including yours truly, which I discovered just a few months ago. With a household and office full of pets, this explains why I’ve pretty much sneezed my way through life.

While no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, there are many non-shedding breeds that the American Kennel Club suggests for allergy sufferers, as they produce less dander.  As well, many mixed breeds found in shelters can quite possibly be a mash-up of some of these hypoallergenic breeds (such as my very own rescue mutt Lulu Schmoo, who was found wandering homeless in the streets of Mexico) and be just hypoallergenic enough for you. So if you are specifically looking for a hypoallergenic dog to add to your family, consider your local shelter or peruse Petfinder.com for candidates!

In no particular order, the top eight hypoallergenic breeds according to the AKC are:

1. Portuguese Water Dog
An athletic and active breed, the Portuguese water dog requires daily vigorous exercise. Very intelligent and responsive to obedience training,  their profuse coat requires regular maintenance. It may be kept in the lion clip (the coat on the hindquarters and muzzle are clipped to the skin) or the retriever clip (the entire coat is clipped to one inch in length and follows the outline of the dog).

Bichon Frise 2. Bichon Frise
A naturally gentle and playful dog, they love activity and require regular exercise. Their hair grows continually and does not shed, so extensive grooming is a must to prevent mats.

3. Chinese Crested
Cresteds make alert and playful companions and do well in families with gentle children. However, they are prone to more frequent skin irritations, allergies, and sunburn than a coated dog would experience, so owners should take appropriate precautions.

Irish Water Spaniel4. Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish water spaniel is an active and energetic companion and possesses the natural instinct to please, making them elatively easy to train, but regular exercise is important. Their hypoallergenic coats require brushing every few weeks and trimming every two months to neaten and shape the coat.

5. Maltese
Despite their diminutive size, the Maltese tends to be brave and without fear. They are one of the most gentle of all little dogs, but are also full of energy and very playful, making them great family dogs. Maltese should be brushed daily, and groomed often to prevent Maltese Dog Breedmats from forming in their long, white coat.

6. Poodle
Exceptionally smart and active, the Poodle is the only breed that comes in three size varieties, and so can accommodate nearly any size living quarters. Their hypoallergenic coat requires regular professional grooming.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Dog Breet7. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Wheatens tend to be less scrappy than other terriers but they are true terriers and will be more active than many other breeds, enjoying plenty of exercise every day. They relate well to children and can adapt to city, country, and suburban life. The Wheaten is single coated and sheds minimally, but it needs regular grooming to keep its coat mat-free.

Miniaure Schnauzer Dog Breed8. Miniature Schnauzer
While all schnauzers have hypoallergenic coats, the miniature in particular adapts easily to any living situation and loves children if the two are introduced while the dog is under a year of age. Despite their small stature, the miniature schnauzer can give an alarm just as well as a larger dog, which makes them excellent watchdogs. They shed very little, but require grooming every few months.

Did we forget anyone? Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are definitely gaining in popularity as are other breeds. Feel free to share which other breeds might be considered hypoallergenic in the comments section below!

Reprint courtesy of Animal Planet's The Daily Treat with Janet McCulley