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Advice From the First Pooch

Editor's Note: As the Obamas ponder the puppy they will bring with them to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., we asked Barney Bush if he could draw on his two terms in the White House and suggest what sort of dog is best equipped to handle life there. In his first public statement since his testy exchange with a reporter earlier this month, here's what Barney had to say (via spokeswoman Julie Adams). A suggestion from Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jackson Diehl is after the jump. Please offer yours in the comments section -- we'll highlight the best ones in a future post.

Barney Bush: "A Scottish Terrier, of course! We are excellent soccer players, and the South Lawn makes for a one-of-a-kind soccer field. My dark coat and noble brow also help me fit in with the Secret Service agents and the C.A.T. team. And, I don't mean kitty CAT. WOOF."


Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jackson Diehl:

George H.W. Bush had one: the famous Millie, author of her own book. George W. Bush brought one to the White House in 2001: Spotty, who died in 2004. John McCain has one: Sam, stashed at his Arizona ranch -- one of four dogs the senator owns.

It ought to be obvious. If Barack Obama wants to reach across the aisle, if he wants an inclusive administration, if he is a true postpartisan, he will get Malia and Sasha an English springer spaniel.

Okay, so springers have fluffy hair. Maybe they shed a tad. They might not be entirely hypoallergenic. But any good dog groomer knows how to do a nice “springer cut” that trims down most of those curls and cuts the allergy risk to a minimum.

And springers are bouncy -- like their name, though that refers to their talent for flushing pheasants up into the air. They are gentle and warm. And they swim.

They are, in short, about the best thing Obama could adopt from the Bush presidencies.

By  | November 14, 2008; 8:00 PM ET
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President-elect Obama should get his daughters a mutt. E pluribus unum.

Posted by: martymar123 | November 14, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Barney to reporter:

"NEVER approach me from behind!"

The Obama family will have to get a non-shedding dog, like a Poodle. But since the White House is so big and there are two girls in the family, I think they should get TWO miniature poodles.

Posted by: mtw0310 | November 15, 2008 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Man, I hope they decide before too long; this is getting boring.

Posted by: herzliebster | November 15, 2008 3:44 AM | Report abuse

Ya gotta love WaPo writers and editors. They're experts on everything and know nothing about anything.

Yeah, a Springer Spaniel would make just a swell pet for the Obama family...except for the fact that the breed is rampant with inherited eye problems that cause blindness, inherited hip dysplasia that can cause lameness and pain in a dog to the point that it's unable to walk, and inherited Springer Spaniel Rage Syndrome where a Springer will suddenly go wacko for no apparent reason and bite and attack anyone and anything in sight.

Any other bright ideas for a dog breed for the Obama family, WaPo?

Posted by: checkered1 | November 15, 2008 4:37 AM | Report abuse

I have read that President-elect Obama has previously stated the plan is to get the new puppy in the spring so the training and walks can begin then rather than in the winter cold of January. Just so we know, they won't be "bringing" a new dog with them to Washington. As for the breed, I hope they follow through with the idea of getting a shelter or rescue puppy that is of mixed breed. But most importantly, I hope the girls get to pick out the puppy that they fall in love with when they meet him. It is after all, their puppy. Let them choose it.

Posted by: lamaggs | November 15, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

And so,now we know what Messiah Loser Elect
Barack The Wealth Spreader Obama's REAL
Highest Priorites are,when Obama wastes his
time looking for a mutt for his kids,and
discuss's it with NBC Has Been,Tom Brokaw,
in such highly intelligent terms like,
Brokaw asks,"Which puppy do you like?"
Obama answers,"Er! It Depends!"...And that
is proof of what a Big Time Loser Barack
Bonehead Hussein Obama is right there!..
When we our own troops still getting killed
in action in Afghanistan and Iraq,our whole
economy is in free fall,and all the rest,
but Obama would rather appoint all the old
Clinton Losers,Democrat Has Beens,Screw Ups for a Cabinet,while Bail Out Obama runs
off to the gym every half hour or is out
goofing off shooting loops,doing more idiot
photo ops and reading his teleprompter speeches! Shades Of George W Bush All Over!

Posted by: Jan1977 | November 15, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

TO: The Obama Family
FROM: Oreo the Portuguese Water Dog

My owner tells me that you folks are looking for a dog. First of all, I’d like to reassure you that you’re making a very wise choice. Anyone who tells you that you should be getting a cat instead is just not thinking straight.

Now the last I heard was that dad has decided that he’d like to get a mutt from the pound. That’s a nice gesture and I heartily endorse the sentiment. But I also heard that ten-year-old Malia is allergic to dogs and that the number one priority is to get a dog who’s hypoallergenic.

With no false modesty, I can heartily recommend that you acquire a Portuguese Water Dog. Yes, there are other breeds that are hypoallergenic. But if you want a real dog in The White House that Malia can actually play with then a Porty is the way to go.

Some folks are going to tell you that you should get a Bichon Frise. Sure, they don’t shed and those with allergies won’t have a problem. But do you really want a Bichon? In case you didn’t know, they’re small, yappy dogs that even other dogs don’t like.

I’m sure you’re going to have all kinds of people telling you that you need a poodle. OK, you could do worse but I don’t think the President of the United States should be owning a frou-frou dog like that. Pick a Portuguese Water Dog and you’ve got all the advantages of a poodle and none of the stigmas.

Look, if you’re still having doubts, give me a call and I’ll be glad to pay you a visit. Who knows? Maybe we’ll hit it off and I can become the First Dog.

It’s not that I don’t like my current family. But they live in Ottawa and, frankly, it’s not the greatest climate here. I hear that Washington is a heck of a lot milder and I sure wouldn’t mind escaping these long Canadian winters.

Plus, my owners are not the most generous when it comes to dog food. It turns out that I, too, am allergic and therefore need a special dry food made from potatoes and salmon.

For the first year or so, I didn’t mind too much. But now I’m downright sick of the stuff. I hear that you folks have your own personal chef. Maybe he or she could treat me to the odd meal of roast beef or steak tartare.

So, think about it. You’re all about change and I sure could use a change right about now. Plus, as a Canadian PWD, maybe I could help you formulate some new policies. After all, we’ve got socialized medicine, gay marriage and medical marijuana up here.

If my offer sounds good, give me a call. But please don’t let my current owners know. For some reason, they’re kind of attached to me. For now, you can contact me through my blog and no one else has to know.

Posted by: satireguy | November 15, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm a scotty named Barney and I am the best dog ever. Good with children, quiet and clean. I do not shed. I sent a Christmas card to Barney Bush and was pleasantly surprised to recieve an 8x10 photo of the first pooch signed by him personally with his paw print. I'm not too big and never destructive. Good choice for the Obama's and their kids.

Posted by: doglover3 | November 15, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I think Jan1977 has forgotten that Barack Obama is not the President yet.

Posted by: chalkranger | November 15, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

So,from the looks of the Clinton has beens
and other screwballs the Messiah Fraud
Barack Hussein Obama is picking for his
village idiot and total incompetent cabinet
that Obama thinks looking for a damn puppy
for his kids is more important then getting
briefed and making plans to deal with our
economical crisis,dealing with the two damn
no win bloody costly wars in Iraq and in
Afghanistan,that makes me agree totally
with Jan1977 that Obama is a Bonehead and
Total Screw Up to the point that the
Republicans can even run Barney the Dog
and beat Barack Hussein Obama in 2012 and
if the GOP adds Miss Beasely Biden is gone
too! As this all only proves the USA has
gone to the dogs under both Bush/Cheney and
even more so,even before Obama/Biden are
sworn in! And I bet Obama lets his new
"Mommy" SF Mental Midget Looney Toons Mad
Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi run the whole
damn show for him! Obama is a real loser!
So Jan1977 Don't Back Down Your Right!

Posted by: Darlene5280 | November 15, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

It's a new day, and a new way. Barney is out. And Fred, the Jack Russell terrier, is in. Read all about Fred at

Posted by: jheubusch | November 15, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

There's only one choice here: the Obamas should get a Boston terrier! They were the first breed created in America, they are extremely smart and friendly, and (most importantly) they are 100% hypoallergenic. I can vouch for that; I have terrible dog allergies, but I can sleep next to our Boston all night without a single issue. They're easy to train, and they love to play. Plus, they're the cutest dogs in the world. :) We got our Boston as a rescue puppy from a breeder; I'm sure there's someone in the DC area who keeps foster Bostons. How American can you get?

Posted by: cupgoddess | November 15, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

So I say Barney and Miss Beasley can do a
much better job at being President and
Vice President then Bail Out Barack The
Wealth Spreader Hussein Obama and Big Mouth
Old Fool Joe Biden and Barney and Miss
Beasley can beat any Democrat in 2012!...
So enough Shaggy Dog Stories OKAY WAPO!...
I agree with others here that Barack Obama
seems to think finding a puppy for his
kids,going to the gym,shooting loops,
doing never ending fake photo ops and Obama
reading His Magic Teleprompter Speech are
this Loser Elect and Worst President Elect
and George W Bush's Replacement As The
Absolute WORST President of All Time!
Elect Barney President in 2012 and Elect
Miss Beasley Vice President in 2012!

Posted by: sherrykay2008 | November 15, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Oreo! That's the funniest thing I've heard all day! Touche, Oreo!

Posted by: 42553tk | November 15, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, the breed of the first pooch is a major consideration. Especially for the Obama family. After all, you want a dog with charisma and personality to reflect the Obama household, and at the same time, a pooch Sasha and Malia will adore. This dog, is, after all, their gift from their parents on the occasion of the President-elect's successful campaign.

As well, since the Obama's originally wanted a rescue dog or a mixed breed, but cannot risk an allergic reaction, here's a perfect solution in a purebred dog that does not shed and is hypoallergenic.

A Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the original Terrier, from which Barnie and his breed was developed.

A pure original, like the President-elect, himself.

Dandie Dinmont Terriers are also perfectly bipartisan, as they are a Scottish breed, first recorded inn the Scottish-English countryside around 1700. They remain virtually the same to this day. As well, they are unique in the canine world, the only breed to be named after a fictional character in a novel.

Sir Walter Scott in his 1815 novel Guy Mannering created a character named Dandie Dinmont,who kept a pack of these little dogs and popularized the breed. Soon people were eager to own Dandie Dinmont's Terriers, the apostrophe "s" was dropped and they became known as Dandie Dinmont Terriers.

Dandie's only come in only two colours, Mustard and Pepper.
Queen Victoria owned and loved her Dandies and they were used in the development of many other breeds because of their loving nature, their loyalty and their sturdiness. Hence, for example, the Scottish Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier and of course, the Boston Terrier. There are 14 different terrier breeds.

However, as more and more different types of Terriers proliferated, the little Dandie was forgotten have now been named a "vulnerable" breed, endangered.

Only about 200 are born world wide each year. Their litters are typically tiny, two or perhaps three.

Bill Cosby's Dandie, Harry, who won Best of Breed at Westminster a few years ago.

Just Google Dandie Dinmont Terrier and you'll see what they look like. Loving and fun-loving, they weigh between 22 and 27 lbs. depending on gender, and would be perfect for The White House and as pets for the Obama children. They're irresistible.

As they are endangered, choosing a Dandie Dinmont Terrier will instantly promote the breed and not only save one dog, but help to save whole breed of dogs.

Just a thought, from a Canadian neighbour and a solid Obama supporter in spirit. We are so happy with this new family about to move into The White House.

Heartfelt Good Wishes.
Sandy Naiman, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Posted by: sln888 | November 16, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Give the Obamas the advice they need: vote on the First Dog's name and breed at

Posted by: FirstPup | November 16, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

So, are Sherrykay2008; Darlene5280 & Jan1977 the same people? They all seem full of sour grapes and the phrases used are very similar. This article was written in jest and is humorous! You do know humor don't you? Barak Obama has not taken over the Presidency yet. He is still picking and choosing a cabinet. You women need to get a life when all you can do is nitpick on an article about a dog! I personally think it will be wonderful to have the white house populated by real children once again - it has been a long time! Even Chelsea Clinton and Amy Carter were not small when they came to the White House. First and formost, this is a family! They live real lives and these 2 are REAL PARENTS - just like you and me. By the way, when Barak Obama takes office - he will be YOUR President. People like you kept reminding us that President Bush was our Commander in Chief and that we should show him respect. Calling him Shrub or W was not half as disrespectful as your name calling of Barak Obama.
LIGHTEN UP - SMILE ONCE IN AWHILE - It will do your heart good.

Posted by: gjkbear | November 17, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

In my totally biased opinion, I think an Airedale would be a great choice for the Obama family.

Posted by: ElaineMDrew | November 17, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

So,why not Elect Barney and Miss Beasley
President and Vice President in 2012 since
the country has went to the dogs,under both
George W Bush and Draft Dodger Dick Cheney
and will continue to do so even more under
Dictator Elect Messiah Barack Hussein Obama
as well. Yep let the dogs rule it as they
seem to have better common sense then Bush
and Comrade Dictator Elect Obama! ...
Barney and Miss Beasley in 2012! As that
would be a Real Change You Can Believe In!

Posted by: Jan1977 | November 17, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Hey Jan1997 and sherrykay2008 -

Love the way you guys HATE. That's so old school, the same type of fear and hate mongering that got us here. Way to keep up the old traditional values.

BTW, I think the white house could use a Labrador - best dogs in the world. They are sweet, loyal, great with kids, fun, cute, and definitely an American icon. Especially a BLACK one :)

To the future,

Posted by: gs1969 | November 17, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Jan1977, Darlene5280, sherrykay2008 has a very serious personality disorder. So, how many different voices do you have going through your head at any given moment?

Posted by: kdinsd | November 17, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The Obamas should investigate the various breed rescue groups. Most AKC breeds have these, which are devoted to finding homes for and/or rehabilitating breed members who have been displaced or mistreated.

If they could find a hypoallergenic breed with such a group, they could combine both of their goals, by rescuing one of those dogs instead of a "mutt." It's the next best thing to getting a shelter dog.

Posted by: Ridinghood | November 17, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what kind of dog he gets, as long as it's trained to attack on command.
The command would be "Ronald Reagan".
Then, I'd take it with me to every meeting with the Republican leadership I attended because, having watched the Republicans for quite some time now, I've come to the conclusion that if they can't talk about Ronald Reagan, they don't really have much of anything to say.
Then I'd get a monkey. Teach it to fling poo on command, and the command would be "Roe v. Wade".
That would end that debate. Nobody is going to wax philosophical about a fetus while a monkey is slapping you with poo.
Of course, we'd probably have to the dog a cabinet posts or something so he has a reason to attend the meetings...maybe the monkey can have Bidens old seat in the Senate. The monkey would be better off in the House, admittedly, since members slapping each other with poo would hardly raise an eyebrow.

Posted by: dijetlo | November 17, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Barney the dog is just fine.
It's Barney Frank you need to watch out for. He and his Democrat accomplices turned FNMA into a welfare program and encouraged, pressured, backed, and defended these bad loans and stuck Americans with the bill. Yes Barney and the Democrats bite all Americans in the a##. A Barney the dog is nothing compared to incompetent Democrats, a worthless media and an ignorant electorate.

Posted by: ekim53 | November 17, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

well, IAMAGGS,I think your idea of a "mixed breed" (mutt) is a great idea ! America's diversity has looked forward to the future, is loyal to their country by voting the right man in for the job and has practiced common sense in doing this great thing. This would be a great example demonstrated by the first family: to take care of a homeless animal that needs somebody to love and protect.
Seems to me that a loving loyal dog would fit in nicely - and doesn't need a grand pedigree to do so. (There's an allegory in their somewhere)

Posted by: kjnorth13 | November 18, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

You forget this is not just a cuddly canine, warm fuzzy family companion we're talking about but a major symbol. A rescue dog is, according to the SPCA, the way to go. Look, all these poor orphans are in need a good home. I mean, come on, the White House has had enough of the pedigrees! Let's have a pet that is emblematic of America's diversity. And democracy.

Oops! Then there's the international impact. Can he afford to snub the French if he doesn't chose the hypoallergenic and intelligent Poodle (although its origins are Germanic). Even the hairless Peruvian Orchid dog, a black, wrinkly skinned pooch with a pointed muzzle and ears that give it the appearance of a Cerebus minus two heads, the hound of Greek mythological Hades,has been vetted by its native country. Though not to worry about the Germans if he passes on the snippy Dachshund: they know and avoid that cute but rascally breed too well.

I would pick the small, intelligent and sweet-tempered Chinese hairless crested. Some think it's an ugly animal though I remonstrate being the owner of not one but two. Besides, these dogs have their DNA rooted in Africa. They'd be a a great change to its run-of-the-mill predecessors. The press will have a field day with it and whilst thus occupied leave Obama alone, let him get a grip and learn to walk the tight rope. Thus the crested will in effect become his best friend.

Posted by: boredwell | November 18, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

It has to be a rescue. There are plenty of them out there. Poodles. Standard is my favorite, although I grew up with miniatures.
Labradoodles, Goldendoodles,Chinese Crested
* Poodles
* Schnauzers
* Portuguese Water Dog
* Bichon Frise
* Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
* Coton de Tulear
* Kerry Blue Terrier
* West Highland White Terrier
* Bedlington Terrier
Let's get away from the tiny dogs, and get a big, manly dog! ; )
Has there ever been a big dog in the white house?

Posted by: biggirl90 | November 19, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

We have two dogs, a Beagle mix and a Mastiff mix. Both are good dogs, but I would highly recommend a Beagle / Beagle mix. Lil'Girl is a wonderful dog. She is playful, loves our cat Pic-Pic and saved Bear's life when he fell into the canal (the gators weren't about to have any of our pets for lunch). Furthermore, Lil'Girl is devoted to her family and would make an excellent pet for the O'Bama children. Besides, you must have at least two pets to keep them happy. Otherwise, I would recommend a reticulated pithon. That would really stir things up in the White House!
Last of all, I thing Kdinsd, 11/17 is right on the money.
Best whishes to all in the O'Bama family.

Posted by: stockhause | November 20, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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