President Obama received Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, as a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy shortly after his inauguration in 2008. In 2013, the Obama family purchased another Portuguese Water Dog named Sunny from a breeder.
Portuguese Water Dogs are relatively rare in the United States, with some experts on the breed estimating that there are about 50,000 in North America. However, their popularity and visibility as a breed has increased following Obama's choice. The breed is hypoallergenic due to its lack of shedding and fleecy, curly coat, which was important in the selection because Malia Obama is allergic to dog hair.