Art and Martha Stern love to keep up with the Portuguese Water Dogs they’ve bred, so having Bo Obama in the White House is sure to make that easy – even easier than seeing their three dogs that live with Sen. Ted Kennedy. “We’ll say ‘Oh, Kennedy’s on the news. Does he have the dogs with him?” Art Stern told PEOPLE Pets. “I guess we’ll get to see a lot them now.”
From his Amigo Portuguese Water Dog Kennels in Texas, Stern gave us the scoop on Bo and his family.
1. Bo has some strong lineage: His mom Penny is “kinda pushy,” Stern told us as Penny barked in the background. “She tries to run things, but we’ve got an older female that’s actually the alpha.” The Sterns give all their dogs the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test, which looks for degrees of social attraction, the ability to follow and sensitivity to touch, among other measures. Bo scored mostly in the middle.
2. It wasn’t Bo’s fault his first family didn’t work out. Bo was intended to give an older female some company, but he ended up giving her a headache by trying to nurse on her. The original family decided the situation was too stressful. “Most of our puppies, when the puppies are six or seven weeks of age, I let them out with the big dogs,” Stern says. “The big dogs usually educate them to the fact that not all big dogs are their mother. But apparently he didn’t learn that.”
3. Bo never returned to the breeder. After he left his first home, he went to the White House for the secret meeting in mid-March. Then he was whisked off for schooling by the Kennedy’s trainer.
4. Bo has a talented older brother. Solo was the single pup born when Stern tried to mate Bo’s mom and dad the first time through artificial insemination. (For Bo and his nine litter mates, they met up and did it naturally.) Solo does agility and Water Work, a sport among Porties that mimics their original fishing dog tasks. And the rest of Bo’s brothers and sisters? One, Cappy, is with Sen. Ted Kennedy, so he may just get a playdate with the First Dog, while another, a girl, lives in nearby Alexandria, Va. The rest are Texans (three in Houston, two in Austin and two near Dallas).
5. Bo will be big and lanky. Stern says that his other dogs who were neutered young have become especially tall. But that just means he’ll fit in well with the First Family: The President is just over 6 feet tall, while Michelle Obama reaches 5’11”!