Bo Obama (born October 9, 2008) is a pet dog of the Obama family, the First Family of the United States. Bo is a neutered male Portuguese Water Dog. President Barack Obama and his family were given the dog as a gift after months of speculation about the breed and identity of their future pet. The final choice was made in part because Malia Obama’s allergies dictated a need for a hypoallergenic breed. Bo has occasionally been called “First Dog”. In August 2013 Bo was joined by Sunny, a female dog of the same breed.
At his first press conference as President-elect, Obama was questioned by reporters as to which breed the family was looking to acquire; he replied, “Our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts.” He also noted “Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic.”
George Stephanopoulos asked Obama on television in early January what kind of dog they would get, and when, saying that he was passing on a question from Obama’s daughters who were sitting in the control room. Obama said, “They seem to have narrowed it down to a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound … medium-sized dog, and so, we’re now going to start looking at shelters to see when one of those dogs might come up.” Much was made by the public and press about the family’s search for a dog. On April 12, 2009, it was announced that the Obamas would soon accept a six-month-old Portuguese Water Dog puppy as a gift from Senator Kennedy. The dog was reported to have visited the family some weeks earlier in a secret meeting to gauge compatibility and purportedly referred to by staffers as “The Meeting”. However, the gift was not accepted until the dog officially arrived and moved in at the White House on Tuesday, April 14, 2009. Immediately after he arrived, the family staged a photo op with Bo on the property’s South Lawn. At the conference, Obama was asked if he would allow Bo inside the Oval Office, to which he responded: “of course.” He also gave a nod to President Harry Truman’s quote, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” The White House website was later updated to include official pictures and biographical details of Bo.