As the family pet of President Barack Obama
and his family, Bo was the "First Dog" for nearly eight years while Obama was in the White House from 2009-2017. Bo was a Portuguese water dog who was six months old when he joined the First Family in April of 2009. After Barack Obama's election to the presidency on November 4, 2008, he told his daughters Sasha
in his acceptance speech, "You have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House." Bo was chosen months later, in part because Malia Obama has dog allergies and Portuguese water dogs are hypo-allergenic. Bo was a gift of Senator Ted Kennedy
, who is a fan of the breed. According to The Washington Post
, the pup "had been living with another family, but it wasn't a good fit, so the Kennedys acquired him for the Obamas." (His previous name was Charlie, the paper said.) Bo succeeded the previous First Dog, Barney, a Scottish terrier belonging to George W. Bush
. Another Portuguese water dog, Sunny, joined Bo in the White House menagerie in 2013. Bo died on May 8, 2021, according to a statement posted by former First Lady Michelle Obama
on social media. She said, in part: "This afternoon was a difficult one for our family. We said goodbye to our best friend —our dog, Bo — after a battle with cancer."