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AKC Selects Short List of “Canine Candidates” and Enlists America’s Help to Choose the Right Dog Breed for the Obama Family @

New York, NYVice President isn’t the only high-level position that Barack Obama is currently trying to fill. It’s been widely reported that – win or lose – the Obamas have promised their two daughters a dog after the presidential election. With 158 breeds registered by the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) – each with its own unique temperament, coat type, size, energy level and appearance – the search for a canine cabinet member is on.

“Deciding what breed to get is as important as deciding whether to get a dog in the first place,” says AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “The first step in being a responsible pet owner is to do some serious and careful research to determine which breed of dog is right for you and your family.”

The Obama family will be adding a dog to their household for the first time, but according to an Associated Press survey Republican Presidential nominee John McCain and his wife already have 24 pets, including four dogs. The “McCain canines” are an English Springer Spaniel named Sam, two Yorkshire Terriers named Lucy and Desi, and a mixed-breed named Coco. Making up the rest of McCain’s menagerie are a cat, two turtles, a ferret, three parakeets and 13 saltwater fish.

As for a breed for the Obamas, the AKC has scoured all of the “canine candidates” to assess each breed’s credentials as potential “first pet.” Choices were narrowed significantly due to their daughters’ allergies. Therefore, AKC experts made the selection from their list of hypoallergenic breeds.

In the true spirit of doggy democracy, the AKC is asking Americans to vote on the breed they think the Obama family should select. The short list of “canine candidates” chosen by the AKC are:

  1. The Bichon Frise (pronounced BEE-shon Free-ZAY) – A small yet sturdy dog with a white, loosely curled double coat, Bichons are naturally sociable. They have a self-assured temperament and are likely to get along with just about everyone (including members of Congress, regardless of party affiliation). Their active, alert and curious personalities make them easy to train, and the breed’s history of being a companion to noblemen in the courts of 16th-century France have primed it for a high-profile life in the White House. Learn more at
  2. The Chinese Crested – Their Chinese and African heritage makes for an exotic pedigree, and with its unique appearance it’s certain to turn heads. Coming in two varieties, hairless and the powderpuff, Cresteds are lively, playful and alert dogs with plenty of energy. While they are exceptionally loving and affectionate with children, they are only appropriate for mature children who can be taught to handle this diminutive breed gently and responsibly. Learn more at
  3. The Poodle – Although often considered high-maintenance show dogs, Poodles are exceptionally smart and athletic. They excel in obedience training and even as hunting companions. The breed comes in three sizes. While their coat does require frequent grooming, their intelligence and versatility more than make up for the extra care. The Poodle is currently the eighth most popular breed in the U.S., according to AKC registrations statistics (AKC® registration statistics), but it spent more than two decades in the top spot — a testament to its suitability as a family pet. Learn more at
  4. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier – The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s coat grows longer on his chin and over his eyes, giving him a scrappy appearance, but this intelligent, affectionate and loving breed makes a dignified companion. The breed’s playfulness and courageous spirit would likely make him an ambassador of goodwill in the White House. Despite their affable and gentle nature, they are true terriers and thus must be handled firmly, fairly and with consistency. Learn more at
  5. The Miniature Schnauzer – Schnauzers also come in three sizes (although unlike the Poodle, each size is considered a separate breed). The Miniature Schnauzer is the most popular of the three breeds and is an active, alert dog who loves to be the center of the household.  This versatile breed makes a sturdy playmate for kids, is highly intelligent and an excellent watchdog (qualifying him for Secret Service duties perhaps?).  Learn more at


Cast your vote wisely, making sure to consider the distinct characteristics of each breed and whether it’s uniquely suited for the Obama family. In addition to having a hypoallergenic coat, other required qualifications to fill the vacant
“presidential pet” post include: child-friendly (Obama has two daughters aged 6 and 9 years); a good travel companion (aboard Air Force One); moderate energy level (appropriate for a child to walk), and of course a stable and social temperament – able to adapt to varied visitors – from heads of state to members of the press corps.

“The breeds we’ve chosen for the Obama family represent a variety of sizes, energy levels and temperaments, yet all are well-established in their coat type, to ensure that they are a good match for any allergy sufferer,” adds Peterson. “Dogs that are AKC registered have pedigrees reaching back often hundreds of years, and so the characteristics that make them better companions for allergy suffers are fixed through decades of breeding for consistent breed type and predictability.”

Place your ballot online at before August 19, 2008. Check the site for the announcement of the winning breed.

Additional information on choosing a hypoallergenic breed can be found online at To learn more about all 158 AKC registered breeds and responsible dog ownership, visit