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Obamas close to picking first dog

Jan. 12, 2009 at 9:45 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- One presidential matter that has captivated U.S. audiences seems to be drawing to a close -- the Obama family is nearing a decision on a first dog.

And Barack Obama's daughters -- Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 -- had a hand in the public declaration, asking ABC's "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos to ask their president-to-be dad, "What kind of a dog are we getting, and when are we getting it?"

When asked, Obama said in the interview aired Sunday the choice has been narrowed to a Labradoodle -- a cross between a Labrador retriever and a French poodle -- and a Portuguese water hound, and the next step was to canvass shelters.

"We're closing in on it," he said. "This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary," referring to the recent withdrawal by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his original selection for that post.

Both breeds were chosen to help reduce Malia's allergy to dogs.

Obama promised the girls a dog during his victory speech in Chicago when he won the election.

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