It’s fair to say that nobody had paid much attention to the Portuguese Water Dog until the arrival of Bo Obama at the White House. PWDs have been around since the 12th century, but in the 1960s were listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the rarest breed of pedigree dog. Originally bred to help fishermen, they herded the catch, retrieved anything that fell in the water and carried messages from ship to shore. Bo, the Obama’s PWD, was given to them by Ted Kennedy, whose own PWD, Splash, was another of the numerous dogs to have written his memoirs of life in Washington.

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