Prices of Portuguese Water Dogs Rising. Breeder Predicts General Mayhem

Barack Obama with daughters Malia (C) Sasha (R) and new puppy, Bo.
Jeff T. Green / Getty Images

In a disappointing deja vu, President Obama is getting a dog from a breeder, just as VP Joe Biden did. However, Obama's decision is much more disappointing than Biden's, considering his previous commitment to rescue a dog and his participation in Jana Kohl's book on puppy mills, "A Rare Breed of Love" (Buy Direct).

Obama with Baby
Barack Obama poses with Baby, a rescued dog, for the book "A Rare Breed of Love."
Photo by Robert Sebree

The Obama's new puppy is a Portugese Water Dog named Bo, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy, who got the dog from a breeder. The dog made his public debut on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday. Kohl now feels betrayed, as many animal advocates do.

I'm also very disappointed in Obama's decision, and withHSUS's press release on this subject, which congratulates the Obama's on accepting this "second chance" dog, just because the dog had been returned to the breeder by the previous family who purchased him. As PETA very clearly states, "The new first dog, Bo, is not a rescue." The dog was a gift to which the Obama's consented, and according to, Kennedy "had been lobbying the Obamas to get a Portuguese Water Dog (or PWD) for months."

Because of his position in the public eye, Obama's decision affects more than the one dog he could have rescued from a shelter. Even before Bo made his public debut, Obama's anticipated decision created a demand for these purebred dogs:

When the Obamas announced earlier this year the breed was on their short list, (Mitch Horowitz, a dog breeder) started receiving three or four inquiries daily . . . "People are going to reproduce these dogs however they can," he said. "Prices have already gone up a lot. It's going to be general mayhem."

One newspaper article compares the popularity of these dogs to the popularity of Jackie Kennedy's pillbox hat. Unfortunately, a dog cannot be placed on a shelf in the closet when the next trend comes along. The increased demand for these dogs will lead to more dogs being bred, which will lead to more dogs suffering in puppy mills and dying in shelters.

Althouh PETA reports that the dog has been neutered, and Ecorazzi reports that Obama is making a donation to a "Humane Society," (it is unclear exactly which organization will receive the donation) this damage control is too little too late. As Kohl responded to The Vote Blog of the Christian Science Monitor regarding the donation: “That’s baloney,” Kohl said. “It’s farcical. They’re donating money to urge people not to do what they did.”

I agree wholeheartedly with Kohl. Donating money after the fact will do little to curb the damage. Not only is Obama setting a terrible example for the country, but he reneged on a promise he had made to animal advocates during the election.

Animal advocates are expressing their disappointment to the White House through theironline webform.

1 comment:

Boks = Death (farewell tour edition) said...

Yesterday I got the new edition of "Pet Press" and, inexplicably. Lori Golden is actually telling people to "leave the Obamas alone."

Normally I like Lori and mostly agree with her, but I think she's really wrong here. Of course, there's nothing we can do to change this decision. But I think we'd be making a big mistake not to push back on this.

First, it wasn't one isolated instance where Barack Obama said they'd "prefer" a shelter dog. Both he and Michelle said they were leaning towards adoption; Michelle flat-out said in an Entertainment Tonight interview that they were GOING to adopt.

Second, if the stories Ed's reprinted here have any truth to them, these "adoption" red herrings were being repeatedly dropped at the same time plans were being made for the Obamas to acquire Bo. That's dishonesty. I voted for the man, but if he lies, we need to say he lied.

Thirdly, if this story is true, he and Michelle (and the ever-self-entitled Kennedys) WILL in fact be responsible for the deliberate large-scale breeding of PWD puppies while dogs who are already here are getting a needlefull of Euthanol. This was a totally foreseeable consequence of this decision and I lay every unwanted Portie bred and every dog who dies at the doorstep of the Obamas. They knew what the stakes were and they didn't care. They wanted a rich-and-powerful person's dog. They blew the unparalleled golden opportunity to make every shelter dog a rich-and-powerful person's dog.

And the fourth reason we shouldn't drop this is: every single time we have an opportunity to show that animal lovers are a MASSIVE demographic, we blow it. Every argument against taking a stand seems to be some variation on "Be tasteful -- and give the guy a break..." But the guy says he's a moral leader. Nothing is more immoral than ignoring the plight of living beings simply because they can't vote and they can't make a campaign contribution.

We OWE IT to the dogs who are going to die NOT to drop this. We owe it to all the shelter animals who needed the limelight, who needed a powerful person to take their side, who watched that powerful person walk away from them and their lives NOT to be tasteful, but to say, "Sorry, Barack and Michelle. I voted for you and you let me down. You sold out on the issue that's most important to me."

Dogs are going to die. We owe them this.