Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Obama girls 'to have a water dog'

Portuguese water dogs
Portuguese water dogs are known for their energy

US First Lady Michelle Obama wants to find a rescued Portuguese water dog as a pet for her daughters, People magazine has reported.

Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, were promised a puppy by their father, Barack Obama, when he was elected president, as a reward for all they had coped with.

The water dog, which does not shed hair, could be less aggravating for Malia who suffers from allergies.

Mrs Obama told the magazine the family were hoping to get the puppy in April.

She said water dogs were temperamentally "pretty good".

"From the size perspective, they're sort of middle of the road - it's not small, but it's not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them."

Sounds like a perfect fit for the Obama Family and the Obama administration
Sen Ted Kennedy

One of those people is veteran Senator Ted Kennedy, who owns two of the breed - Splash and Sunny.

Splash even featured as narrator in Mr Kennedy's children's guide to US politics - My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, DC.

In January, Mr Kennedy said he was "proud to endorse the Portuguese water dog as the next First Dog of the United States".

"They have a can-do and hopeful spirit. They are smart. They are resilient. They are determined. They are optimistic. And they are tireless," he said.

"Sounds like a perfect fit for the Obama Family and the Obama administration."

Frank or Moose

US Senator Ted Kennedy and his Portuguese water dog, Splash (27/11/2006)
Mr Kennedy said he was proud to endorse the water dog breed
But Mrs Obama said the family had still not agreed on a name for the future pet.

"There are names floating around and they're bad," she said.

"Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one," she said, adding that she had told her daughters to "work with the names a little bit".

Mrs Obama also used the interview to talk about family life in the White House, saying her daughters still had to do chores and that staff had been asked not to help them too much.

"People want to make your life easy, and when you have small kids - I've explained this to the staff - they don't need their lives to be easy. They're kids," she said.

But Mrs Obama said the girls had a free run of the White House, as long as they told her where they were going.

"I've tried to encourage them to feel like this whole place is their home," she said.

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