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Obamas plan to get rescue Portuguese water dog

WASHINGTON - This isn't just another wag-the-tail story: The Obamas are getting a dog in April and are looking for a rescue Portuguese water dog.

First lady Michelle Obama tells People magazine that the target date for the family pet's arrival is after her daughters' April spring break trip, though 7-year-old Sasha is convinced the dog is coming April 1. "So Sasha says, 'April 1st.' I said, 'April.' She says, 'April 1st.' It's like, April!" said Mrs. Obama. The school attended by the Obama girls - Sasha and Malia, 10, - has spring break March 20-29 and a day off for students April 13.

The family wants a rescue Portuguese water dog of the appropriate age and match. "Temperamentally they're supposed to be pretty good," Mrs. Obama said. "From the size perspective, they're sort of middle of the road. ... And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that's where we're leaning."

Barack Obama and his wife had promised their girls they'd get a dog after the election, and the selection has been eagerly awaited not only by the children but by the nation's dog lovers.

THE PROSPECTIVE

FIRST POOCH

Portuguese water dogs are good swimmers, prized for centuries by seafarers along Portugal's coast for their intelligence, loyalty and ability to herd schools of fish, help men who fall overboard, deliver messages between boats and shore, and retrieve broken nets.

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT Medium-sized. Males stand 20-23 inches at the withers and females 17-21 inches. Males weigh 42-60 pounds and females weigh 35-50 pounds.

LESS ALLERGY RISK They are single-coated; they don't have an undercoat that sheds. It's possible, however, to be allergic to the breed.

Source: Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, American Kennel Club Web site

- Click to see photos of presidential First Dogs

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