Pick the Portuguese Water Dog, Mr. President-elect

It seems that the decision of what kind of dog is selected as the Obama family pet has come down to a choice between two. It is either a Labradoodle or a Portuguese Water Dog:

“… Both are non-shedders and do not cause as much reaction in allergy sufferers as other dogs, according to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America. But the water dogs need a lot of exercise whereas the labradoodles are not as high-energy and can get by on a daily half-hour walk…”

link: The next White House pooch: Labradoodle or Portuguese Water Dog

I am hoping that the Portuguese Water Dog is the one selected. The reason for this is that if the Obama family selects the Labradoodle, it will reinforce the idea of a ‘designer dog’. These used to be called ‘mixed breed’ dogs. The idea now is that, if you combine two breeds, then the result is the best of both breeds. That is not necessarily the case. It is not that simple and may cause a myriad of problems.

Dog people of specific breeds are careful to control for genetic defects. Combining breeds in a purposive manner may not eliminate defects. In fact, it may compound genetic difficulties. – If the Obama family selects a Labradoodle, there will be puppy mills that will accelerate production of these designer dogs. It is similar to the phenomenon of a well liked movie boosting the popularity of a certain breed of dog. Popularity of a Labradoodle comes with enormous negative consequences. Many will see this as a means to quick profit.

Catherine Forsythe