Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Ever since President-Elect Barack Obama pledged to fulfil his promise to his daughters of a White House dog, speculation has swirled around what breed the family would choose. "Sasha and Malia," Mr Obama said in his victory speech at Chicago's Grant Park, "I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House." Adding to the complication of choosing a first pet is the fact that Malia, 10, is allergic to most breeds, prompting the American Kennel Club to suggest various "hypo-allergenic" breeds including the Bichon Frise and the poodle. But a group of Peruvians think they have found the perfect solution for the family, in the form of a bald and often toothless breed once popular with Incan kings. Owners of the Peruvian Hairless dog, a breed dating back 3,000 years and depicted in pre-Hispanic ceramics, say it is perfect for children who suffer from allergies. "We want to give a male puppy to Obama's daughters, so they get to experience all the joys of having a dog but without any allergies," said Claudia Galvez, 38, director of the Friends of the Peruvian Hairless Dog Association. According to Peruvian folklore, the dogs have above-average body temperature, which compensates for their lack of hair and helps alleviate symptoms of asthma or arthritis suffered by their owners.

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