Will Breeders be Able to Hold Back Bo Obama Fans?

It’s been just a little more than two months since President Obama and the First Family welcomed Bo, the Portuguese water dog into their home and he already has a book in his honor, a baseball card and a soaring fan base.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, requests to adopt Portuguese water dogs have increased by 100% in the U.S. and 122% in the U.K. from last year at this time.

No one is surprised by Bo’s popularity and frankly any breed the First Family adopted would have caused a sensation, but is the Portuguese water dog (PWD) doomed to become the next over bred canine like the Chihuahua or the Dalmatian?

The answer is a definite no. The estimated 200 PWD breeders in the U.S. are keenly aware of the potential disaster that could happen if backyard breeders or puppy mills got their hands on their beloved “Porties.” Therefore, many breeders have increased their already very stringent requirements to adopt a PWD.

Protective breeders already closely guard the approximate 1,400 puppies born each year by putting potential owners through a lengthy and detailed adoption process. And since the addition of Bo, many of them are making it even more difficult for prospective families to welcome a Portie into their home.

Mary Eadie, a breeder in Annandale, VA told the WSJ that she has had 300 calls since Bo came to the White House and Amanda Ford from Carnation, WA reported that interest in her Porties has gone from one call a week to one call a day.

Both women have strict guidelines to determine which callers are “fair weathered fans” and which are serious prospective dog guardians. They rule out anyone who needs to adopt a dog immediately and they definitely will not adopt to anyone who wants a female to breed.

In reviewing the websites for Portuguese water dogs, each of the breeders took great care to get information about the lifestyle of potential owners such as the number of hours they were away from home each day or if they had small children in the family. They even had an agreement that required owners to Spay or Neuter their puppy.

PWD breeders also showed concern for their puppies when it came to transporting them to their new homes. They required owners to pick-up their dogs in person and refused to ship them. They also offered ongoing help to owners that ran into behavior issues in raising a puppy.

From the standpoint of an animal advocate none of these questions or requirements is earthshaking or even unusual. But it does give you peace of mind knowing that PWD breeders scrutinize the people who adopt their puppies.

Their list of requirements is extremely different than if you look at the websites that come up on the internet if you type in the word – Chihuahua. Unfortunately, those websites show pictures of adorable puppies that people simply pick and click to order. The dogs are put “on hold” for their new owners with an inexpensive deposit that can be paid for with an online credit card or Paypal. And owners meet their new puppy for the first time when it arrives all alone, in a crate on an airplane.

It only been two-months since Bo Obama came on the scene and surely his popularity will continue to soar. Let’s hope the PWD breeders continue to guard their puppies and encourage people that it is O.K. to be a fan from afar.


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Laura S.
Laura S9 years ago

This is so sad, how people think of a dog as the newest accessory to go out and buy. And I hate the word "responsible breeder", it is a contradiction in itself. Anyone who breeds an already very over populated animal is anything but responsible. All it does is cause more innocent animals to be euthanized.

Susan S.
Susan S9 years ago

Although early spay/neuter sounds like a good solution on the surface, there are numerous studies out that for the long term health of a dog, this is not such a good idea. (Particularly in large breed dogs.) There are several articles about this you can look at on the internet. Here is one: http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html

Since PWDs are a large breed dog, I would think ethical breeders would not want their puppies being spayed/neutered early (before sexual maturity) because of the health risks. Selling them with limited registrations would stop some unethical people from breeding because their puppies could not be registered, but not all.

The breeders will definately need to be extra careful as to who they sell their puppies to.

Heather L.
Heather L9 years ago

The only way to stop any breed from going to a backyard breeder is to ensure all the puppies are spayed or neutered before going to their new home, alot of cat breeders do this.

Heather A.
Heather A9 years ago

While I can't say that people being encouraged to support breeders is exactly a step forward, I am happy to see that preventive measures are being taken against puppy mills. It will prevent a whole lot of suffering and heartache.

Marcia D W.
marcia W9 years ago

Basically, Bo was a PURE BRED rescue..he was returned by the original owner, thank fully, who was responsible enough to send him back to the breeder...
I don't recall breeding for profit being the original issue, the issue was the incredible carefulness the breeders took to assure that their dog was going to a home that was best for the dog AND the family!
Many PB dogs are not perfect mix for all life styles..What is problem w/ assuring that both dog & owners lifestyle & family work ??
The Obamas stated that they were looking for a dog for the child w/ allergies..I love own mixes, but you don't usually know what the mix is do you..
Omar, everyone has impt issues, give your all to yours, as I give my all to animals..win win, don't you think?
I own my PB wolfhound for love, or why would I own a dog that breaks your heart, living 6-8 yrs ave?

Marcia D W.
marcia W9 years ago

PWD breeders & owners ! Stay pure!!
I own Irish Wolflhounds...they too are a not for everyone to own!
Keep BYB out of your breed!!!
We must!! be vigilant!!

Susan S.
Susan S9 years ago

There is nothing wrong with making a profit doing something you love (whatever it is). The few who do are truely lucky. Raising loving, healthy dogs in a compassionate, caring way because you LOVE DOGS is an art form. Most responsible breeders spend years (usually starting in childhood) learning the proper way to care for, breed and to possibly show (or have them go to loving homes) the animals they love.

Everyone makes money doing something - whether it's a doctor, drug company, H$U$, Red Cross - the list goes on and on. I used to make (very little) money breeding and raising horses - and proud of it!! It was a privilage to be able to decide which stallion would cross well with what mare, to watch as the foal was born, and to see that foal mature into a great show horse - or someone's family pet. The same can be said for how a responsible breeder feels when each and every litter of puppies is planned for.

The arguement that responsible breeders don't love and care for their dogs because they make money raising them just doesn't cut it. They do it because the DO love their dogs. Much of the money they make usually goes right back into their dogs by showing, advertising, upkeep on their facilities, dog food, etc.

I think getting BO was one of (the few) good decisions the Obama's have made!!

Debra H.
D. H9 years ago

Question: Would animal breeders still breed if they didn't make a profit from it? If not, they don't TRULY "care" about or love the individual animals per se. Act of love mean: "Out of compassion; with no thought for a reward."

Abdul, what is so inherently 'wrong' with opening one's heart to ALL creatures, and not just humans? (and how do you know what other human-related issues anyone here might ALSO be involved in?)

“I am sometimes asked 'Why do you spend so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?' I answer: 'I am working at the roots.'”—George T.Angell

“The thinking person must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo….We need a boundless ethic which includes the animals also.”—Albert Schweitzer

“Is not the sky a father and the earth a mother, and are not all living things with feet or wings or roots their children?; Hear me, four quarters of the world…a relative I am! Give me the strength to walk the soft Earth, a relative to all that is,…all over the Earth, the faces of living things are all alike.”—John G. Neihardt in Black Elk Speaks

And many more....

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A9 years ago

O You SAD people, wake up there are thousands dying of starvation and thirst and you are worried about a certain breed of dogs. Over 1600 people were killed by US sponsered State not many months ago, Their food, water and even charity from others has been blocked off and you have time for this. Tell the world you will not tollerate injustice to human beings then start looking at dogs, other wise we know what family you belong to or love the best.

Susan S.
Susan S9 years ago

I, for one, will not support puppy mills by adopting from a shelter. I prefer to support RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS who breed for temperment, who health test their breeding stock (reducing the chance of health issues), and who CARE about every puppy they help bring into the world. Don't be duped by those who claim there is no such thing as a responsible breeder - YES THERE ARE - MANY OF THEM, if you take the time to do your research!!!! Just because they might make a little money by breeding doesn't make them irresponsible. (Shelters make money too and pay their Directors. No dogs/cats in their shelter, they are out of a job!!)

Another way to reduce the number of pets in shelters is to make it illegal to import dogs from other countries to fill them!!! This is a major problem that no one is talking about. The US is being used as a dumping ground.

A few more things to think about:
1. 75% of all dogs in the US are spayed/neutered
2. each week (so it seems) in the news there is another puppy mill being shut down. Our laws ARE working.
3. There are many shelters in the US who actually have a shortage of ADOPTABLE dogs. They are looking for dogs to import from other shelters to fill their needs.
4. There will NEVER be a perfect balance between the number of dogs available and the number of homes available.
5. By discouraging RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS from breeding their dogs, it will only encourage puppy mills to keep breeding MORE to fill the demand!!!