FENLAND: President gives rare breed the seal of approval

THE decision of President Barack Obama to choose a Portuguese water dog as his family s new pet has been hailed as wonderful by top breeder Jayne Johns. They are fantastic family pets, said Jayne, who lives near Wisbech with seven of her champion dogs

THE decision of President Barack Obama to choose a Portuguese water dog as his family's new pet has been hailed as "wonderful" by top breeder Jayne Johns.

"They are fantastic family pets," said Jayne, who lives near Wisbech with seven of her champion dogs.

But Jayne has sounded a note of caution, saying these working dogs with non shedding coats are not suitable for all families, because of their special requirements.

"Everyone wants one, because of the Obamas, but they are not right for everyone," she said


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"They are very active and driven; they are a working breed and need mental and physical stimulation. They must have a great deal of exercise."

Barack Obama and his family have a six-month old black and white Portuguese water dog called Bo. The president promised his daughters a puppy during his election campaign, and the girls are reported to have chosen his name. The dog was a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy, who has three of the dogs.

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Mrs Johns says Portuguese water dogs need a lot of grooming, training and exercise.

The dogs were bred to work with Portuguese fishermen, they are great swimmers, and were used to guard the boats and the catch.

Back in the 1960's Portuguese water dogs were the rarest breed of dog on earth. But interest in them grew, with recently the breed was granted championship status by the Kennel Club.

Jayne has had Portuguese water dogs for the past 23 years, she is the UK's top breeder, and last year had top stud dog, top brood bitch, and joint top dog in the UK. Other honours include best of breed at Crufts with Henry in 2005, and with Tuther in 1989. This year, Archie won best puppy at Crufts.

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