Obamas' New Pet: 5 Facts About the Portuguese Water Dog

Bo, now 7, joined the Obama family in April 2009. He was a gift from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., a key supporter of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign who became close to the family. Bo helped Obama keep a promise to daughters Malia and Sasha that they could get a dog after the election.

Bo (born October 9, 2008) is a pet dog of the Obama family, the former . Bo is a  male .

When Bo arrived at the White House, the New Yorker hired Bob Staake to do an illustration of the First Dog for a cover. Soon after, Staake had eight offers from publishers interested in a children’s book. He wrote The First Pup, which the President has since read aloud to schoolchildren.

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“The dogs who sniff out explosives arrive at a destination well before the president arrives and typically remain in the background while the president is present,” writes Maria Goodavage in her new book,

Bo the Dog, Self: MythBusters: The Search

According to the , the breed was prized by fishers along the coast of Portugal as both a companion and a guard dog. Dogs were set to work herding fish into nets, retrieving lost or broken nets, and even as canine couriers from ship to shore.Sunny's big brother Bo was a gift from Senator Kennedy to the Obama family—he even came from the same breeder that supplied the senator's own dogs.Sunny should fit right in with Bo and the rest of the Obama family, though. As Peterson noted, younger dogs will mimic the behaviors of older dogs.The dogs have entertained crowds at the annual Easter Egg Roll and Bo has been at Mrs. Obama's side when she welcomes tourists on the anniversary of the president's inauguration. The dogs also have cheered wounded service members, as well as the hospitalized children the first lady visits each year just before Christmas. In a sign of just how recognized Bo and Sunny are, authorities in January arrested a North Dakota man who they say came to Washington to kidnap one of the pets.The pair of Portuguese water dogs — Bo with his distinctive white chest and front paws, and the all-black Sunny — are canine ambassadors for the White House, very popular and so in demand that they have schedules, like the president. Although Bo will be granted entry into the Oval Office, the president said the pooch won't be sharing his bed, adding that he and the family want to be "responsible dog owners."