Bo knows competition.
Well, at least this “Bo” breed does. More than two dozen Portuguese Water Dogs made it to the Super Bowl of dog competitions this year: the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show. And although all dogs competing are already known as the creme de la creme of the canine world, the Portuguese Water Dogs are currently the only ones with a cousin in the White House.
“[People] are like ‘Oh! It’s the Bo dog!’,” says Alanna Looney from Norwood, Massachusetts. She has owned Portuguese Water Dogs for five years now and was showing her dog at Westminster this year.
The Portuguese Water Dog, or Porti, was made famous when it was selected as the “First Dog” of the Obama family in 2009. This came after months of speculation over which breed the First Family would select. Then-Senator Obama promised his daughters they would get a puppy in November 2008 whether he won or lost. “I love you both more than you can imagine,” Obama told his daughters, Sasha and Malia, during his victory speech. “You have earned the puppy that is coming with us.”
The Porti was the big winner, after the family took Malia Obama’s allergies to dog hair into account. The Portuguese Water Dog’s hair is hypoallergenic and the breed is popular among dog lovers with allergies. And it’s not the first time a well-known Porti graced Capitol Hill. The late Senator Ted Kennedy was also a fan of the breed. In fact, Bo and Kennedy’s pup were from the same litter.
Of course, the breed’s growing popularity means these dogs don’t come cheap. Porti owner Peggy Helming says the starting price for puppies is around $2,000. She has owned Portis for more than 20 years and was showing her dog, Matisse, at Westminster Tuesday.
“They’re a very intelligent breed, lots of energy,” says Helming. ”They’re great with kids and they don’t shed.”
Matisse took home the coveted prize for Best in Breed of the 26 Portuguese Water Dogs competing this year. Next up…Best in Group for Matisse.
But the odds are in this Porti’s favor. These “Bos” don’t know diddly when it comes to losing.