Bo, The Obama Family Dog, Dies of Cancer at Age 12

Posted by Megan Swinney
Bo Obama dog death

The Obama family dog Bo passed away at the age of 12 from cancer. 

Bo, Obama's dog, death was announced a day ahead of Mother's Day 2021, on National Dog Mom day. The Obama's added Portuguese Water Dog Bo to their family when they entered the White House in 2009. He was a gift to the first family from Sen. Ted Kennedy.

The Obama's had decided that it was time to add a pet to their family long before they made it to Washington, Dc. Getting a dog was a part of the Obama's promise to their daughters Malia and Sasha on the campaign trail.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama's Tribute to Bo

The former first lady took to social media on May 8th with a heartfelt Instagram post dedicated to Bo. In the post, Michelle Obama wrote, "We said goodbye to our best friend- our dog Bo- after a battle with cancer."

Mrs. Obama continued her moving tribute saying, "For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, comforting presence in our lives. He was there when the girls came home from school, greeting them with a tail wag."

Mrs. Obama also talked about how Bo was there with them on Air Force One and the south lawn of the White House for the annual Easter egg roll. He even would come "sauntering in" to the oval office with a ball looking to play at precisely the right time. She also pointed out that everyone had been at home together over the past year due to the pandemic, which Bo loved more than anything. It reminded him of when they were al under one roof at the White House.

Former President Barack Obama's Reaction to Bo the Dog's Death

"Today, our family lost a true friend and loyal companion. For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives-happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and every day in between."

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Former President Obama continued, "He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table, and had great hair."

The breed is known for having a gorgeous coat that does not shed.

He ended the series of tweets by saying that the Obama family will "miss him dearly."

How did Bo get his name?

Bo's name gave the nod to many different facets of the Obama family's lives. Malia and Sasha named him after their cousin's cat. For Mrs.Obama, it was a nod to her father and R & B musician Bo Diddley. Of course, Bo is also former President Barack Obama's initials. Bo was joined in the White House by Sunny, another Portuguese Water Dog, in August of 2013.

About Portuguese Water Dogs

First dog Bo was a beloved presidential pet by the first family and by those who closely followed the family while they were in the White House and even after they left.

He was the perfect pet for the White House. Portuguese Water dogs are known for being hypoallergenic. With many different visitors coming to the White House daily, having a dog that does not trigger people's allergies was ideal. Also, a hypoallergenic dog was perfect for Malia and her allergies.

The breed is also known to be intelligent, friendly, and love having visitors. They are also easily trainable and want to be obedient and valuable to their owners. Initially, they were used in Portugal by fishermen to help with herding fish into nets and carried things from ship to ship or from the ship to the store.

Are there dogs in the White House now? 

Bo certainly was not the first presidential pet, and he won't be the last. Currently, President Joe Biden has his German Shepherds living with him in the white house, Champ, and Major.

Follow along at our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About the Portuguese Water Dog

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Bo, The Obama Family Dog, Dies of Cancer at Age 12