The Obamas introduce a new family member, Portuguese water dog Sunny Obama

There’s a new member of the Obama family!! The Obamas have adopted a new puppy, a girl dog they have named Sunny. Sunny Obama is a Portuguese Water Dog, just like her big brother Bo Obama. I believe it was the late Ted Kennedy who convinced the Obamas that Portuguese Water Dogs would be perfect for their family. The Obamas famously got Bo when they first came to the White House – it was practically a campaign promise, and then president-elect Obama even mentioned in his victory speech in 2008 that his girls would be getting a dog.

The White House released a statement about Sunny: “Sunny is the perfect little sister for Bo – full of energy and very affectionate – and the First Family picked her name because it fit her cheerful personality.” That sounds like Michelle, right? I think Michelle was surprised to find that she was actually a dog person – she has mentioned in several interviews that Bo has become like the son that she never had. It really feels like the Obamas said they got Bo for Sasha and Malia, but really Bo has become Michelle’s dog. And now Sunny gets to be Michelle’s other daughter.

Also, this is just a weird side-note, but I have an all-black dog too (mine’s a Newfie mix) and all-black dogs get the short end of the stick a lot of times. Did you know all-black dogs are less likely to be adopted? But Sunny is such a cutie, isn’t she?

Photos courtesy of WENN, White House & FLOTUS Twitter.

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80 Responses to “The Obamas introduce a new family member, Portuguese water dog Sunny Obama”

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  1. Lulu86 says:

    Did you know all-black dogs are less likely to be adopted?…In USA??? would not be surprised.

    • Ana says:

      It’s not just in the US. And it’s even worse with cats. People still have all sort of superstitions interiorised about black animals, it’s ridiculous.

      • Lilo says:

        Yep. I worked at an animal shelter for quite some time and all black cats were there the longest. It’s superstition at its worst. Same with dogs, because the colour makes them seem dangerous subconsciously, but with cats it’s really bad becauce of the associations (evil, bad luck, witchcraft etc.)

      • lucy2 says:

        Knew about the cats, not the dogs too. Strange, isn’t it?
        I personally love black cats, have had them my whole life.

      • Macey says:

        I’ll never understand this but it is sadly true and the reason why I always adopt black cats if I go to the shelter. I have 2 all black furballs now, had another but she passed way a few yrs ago (RIP Spookers…BEST CAT EVER!)I swear my cats are the best and smartest but then who doesnt think their pet is.
        My only complaint with the black ones is the shedding really shows on light carpet but nothing a daily vacuum cant fix.

      • Keats says:

        Yep. The only reason i got my all black kitty is that the parents’ owners were superstitious and talked about leaving her somewhere if they couldnt find her a home. Its possible they were kidding, but given people’s attitudes towards black cats I didn’t want to risk it.

      • Elle. says:

        And this is why I got 2 black cats from a shelter and I am crazy about them 😀

      • Anne De Vries says:

        It’s not just superstition. Also that they are harder to photograph (and with largely online adoption/selection processes that’s a big deal), and their faces seem less expressive/harder to read. Plus they look old sooner because grey hair really shows.

      • sa says:

        I didn’t know that black cats don’t get adopted as much. I do know that many shelters won’t adopt out black cats leading up to Halloween. My understanding is that it’s a combination of people treating black cats as Halloween accessories and bringing them back to the shelters in November and also that there’s a spike in black cat abuse in October.

        I have a black cat and she’s such a sweet and delicate little thing that I can’t imagine anyone not wanting her or being cruel to her. And I hate to say it, but as cute and expressive as her face is, in photographs she can sometimes look a little sinister.

    • Drea says:

      I always knew that was the case for cats, which makes sense due to the superstition that black cats are bad luck & their association with the occult.

      I didn’t know black dogs were unpopular as well. There’s even a Wikipedia page for the phenomenon:

    • Diana says:

      Animal racism!

      • Steph says:

        Yep it’s true. We were looking to adopt our second dog and when I went there was a beautiful 6month old lab/Shepard that was all black and had been there for almost 2 months. We took him home and he is turning 4 this month and he is a wonderful dog.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        That is good to hear, Steph! Thanks for giving him a home! 🙂

    • Adrien says:

      Black cats are considered good luck in Japan.

    • Carol says:

      I read an article that called them BBD’s (big black dogs) and said they were far more likely to be abandoned, not adopted, and put down because people thought they were more dangerous and aggressive. I love BBD’s, but sadly have 3 family members with significant allergies so no more dogs for me.

  2. Simply Red says:

    Aww, she is a cutie and looks ready for action. Welcome to the Big House Sunny

  3. DeltaJuliet says:

    The same is true for all-black cats. When I adopted mine from the shelter years ago they mentioned that. I find that so strange…I always WANTED an all black cat, and growing up I had two black labs. Guess I’m just weird 😉

    • cr says:

      It is true for all black cats as well. I had two (sadly now down to one) and would love more.
      Apparently there’s still some superstition surrounding them, sadly.

      • Lila says:

        My black cat was a neighborhood stray I took in. He is such an adorable and sweet little thing! I think that he is the world’s best cat.

    • Mika says:

      Nope, you’re not weird. Lots of people want black cats and I’m one of them! 😉

  4. Simply Red says:

    Well I have a german spitz and he is as close to all black I could get to. He has white under his belly, around the paws, and around his mouth.

    But I didn’t know that all black dogs don’t get adopted

    • ol cranky says:

      they have a harder time getting adopted from shelters, we pull a lot of them. I’m always shocked when I see black lab puppies on the PTS list at the shelters we pull from, we have lots of people specifically asking for them. So far we’ve only had one potential adopter say no to a black dog because her mother is afraid of them for some reason.

  5. Erinn says:

    I think some of the thing with the all black dogs is that they tend to show their age a lot if they get white in the face. It’s suuuuch a contrast; more so than another color of dog.

    • Lucky says:

      My pups grey beard is one if the best parts of her ageing! She looks distinguished and experienced 😉

    • Azurea says:

      My beautiful long-haired black kitty (also adopted) is 13 and has developed a smokey grey ruff — very elegant!

    • Erinn says:

      I think it looks cute, personally. My parents pup always had a little silver tuft of fur under her chin.

    • jc126 says:

      Some people speculate that would-be owners are intimidated by black dogs because the facial expressions are supposedly harder to decipher, so the dogs look more intimidating.
      I love black dogs and PWDs in particular, I’m on my 2nd Portie – both rescues from pounds – and my last kitty and my current kitty are black cats.
      I love black dogs and cats. If i had the space, I’d adopt a bunch more!

      • ol cranky says:

        as far as I’m concerned, the only downside to a black dog is that sometimes it’s really hard to get a picture that shows how beautiful their eyes are

  6. JustaGirl says:

    Sunny is adorable! Bo is too. 🙂 All of my pets now and growing up have been mostly black. I know the stat, but I don’t understand it at all.

  7. dina says:

    So friggin cute

  8. Marjalane says:

    Yes, sadly a lot of people have black dog phobia’s. Please, please, please look at all the black lab mixes the next time you think about rescuing! It breaks me heart to see them languish day after day in kennels. It would have been really a great thing if the POTUS had made an effort to adopt instead of purchasing an overpriced breeder’s puppy.

    • Axis2ClusterB says:


    • L says:

      Since Sunny is 14 months, I’m assuming that she is a returned puppy just like Bo. He, and I quote, “did not work out.” His original owners are unknown (although his original name was Charlie), but the purchase contract required returning him to the breeders for re-homing if things didn’t work to their satisfaction.

      The Obama’s also made a donation to the Washington Humane Society in Sunny’s honor, so there’s that.

      • Marjalane says:

        Sunny may have been a returned dog, but breeders usually keep their females with (ick) breeding potential for about that long. There are too many dogs that need homes for me to endorse any breeder other than organizations that specifically breed dogs for service training.

    • OhDear says:

      Not sure about Sunny re: adoption, but Bo was a gift from Ted Kennedy.

      • lem says:

        Didn’t they decide on the Portugese Waterdog b/c one of the daughters has a dog allergy and this breed wouldn’t irritate those? Or did I make that up?

      • OhDear says:

        That’s what I heard too. Kennedy had a dog of the same breed and probably mentioned to the Obamas that she (the dog) was hypoallergenic.

      • jc126 says:

        I believe Bo was a return to the same breeder that Ted K. used. And one of Ted’s PWDs was/is named Sunny.

      • moja31 says:

        If I remember correctly, Ted Kennedy’s dog is actually Bo’s brother, and even came to his first b-day party.

    • MollyB says:

      One of their daughters is very allergic, so they selected this particular breed because it is hypoallergenic. We have a shelter dog personally but they are not for every single family and I don’t see anything wrong with adopting from an ethical breeder. Especially considering they also made a donation to the Humane Society.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Well said, MollyB.

      • Decloo says:

        Pretty sure this dog was not ‘adopted’. That’s okay but think of the incredible impact if they had really adopted from a shelter. With their resources it shouldn’t be so hard to find a low-allergy breed or mutt from a shelter. That would truly have been a game-changer in respect to animal welfare.

    • Fina Biscotti says:

      he did say that it would be a shelter pet.

  9. blue marie says:

    hmm, I didn’t know that. most of my animals growing up and even know have been black, or black with lighter tummies or paws.

    both are really cute dogs.

  10. Dorothy#1 says:

    Yes, I did know. It is sad, so we always adopt the all back dog. They seem to have the best personality!!!

  11. Anna says:

    Is she a rescue?

  12. L says:

    And the crazies are already at it on the White House/Obama Facebook pages. Did y’all know we paid for this dog with taxpayer money and that she gets her own plane?!? And that bad things are happening in the world and no one should get a dog then? (huge eyeroll here)

    • Mich says:

      One of those has made an appearance here before. Don’t forget the one about Bo having his own full time staff member paid for by the taxpayer. It isn’t true, of course. The original source for this little nugget neglected to include the fact that the staff member is actually the head groundskeeper who has been in his position for decades and has always had a penchant for First Dogs.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Just further proof that some of these people will believe any line of shit you feed to them. It’s pretty disheartening to watch actually.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Oh, I see. You’re a stooge for the canine media, huh? Stop indoctrinating OUR CHILDREN with all of your pro-neuter propaganda and stop wasting tax dollars on welfare shelters and don’t preach to me because those taxes pay your trainer’s salaries. If you have a problem with it, you can go back to your own kennel! And as for the black dogs, stop pulling the fur card because you can’t prove that he was eating your homework, he was probably just correcting it. Don’t blame me if heartworm is endemic in the dog community, just get over it.

  13. Ellie66 says:

    That’s true! I have 2 black dogs, a slightly overweight black Pomeranian and a Lab/Rott mix also black. I have a Pug too he is fawn-colored, when I bought him the breeder said the black Pugs aren’t as popular than the other colored ones. (I want a black pug) 🙂 I don’t care what color dogs are I love them all)

  14. CAJ says:

    There are more black animals because they have a dominant gene for black hair color. Not less likely to get adopted, just more of them.

  15. murphy says:

    I watched the little video about her last night and got a kick out of how much fur they have on the top of their head/forehead 🙂

    Their fur is really soft, that breed is a nice pick

  16. akivasha says:

    I am proud to say all of my rescues have been black (dog and cats) 🙂
    I do like to ware a lot of black so that helps 🙂

  17. The Original Mia says:

    Aww…she’s adorable.

  18. Val says:

    Cute! I actually have a black dog named Sunny, too. She’s a chow mix and about 18 months old. My baby.

  19. Ghoulish_moose says:

    My boyfriend used to have a pure black Labrador/German shepherd mix. They had to get him a glow in the dark collar because one of his favourite places to sleep was at the bottom of stairs =D

  20. Pants says:

    The first cat I ever owned was all black, they’re my fave! I got him for Christmas right before I turned 4 and had him for over 16 years. Black cats rock!

    • Lila says:

      My cat is black too (he is the only cat I’ve ever had) and he is a total love. My coworker has had lots of cats over the years and said that her black cat was the sweetest. I agree with you…I’ve wondered before if there is something about black cats that makes them particularly awesome. 🙂

      • Pants says:

        He was great, but only to me LOL now I have two tuxedo cats, brother and sister. The boy is the sweetest cat I’ve ever see, and the girl used to be a typical finicky cat but is now super sweet to me.

  21. lucy2 says:

    Sunny is adorable. I hope we see lots of pics, the ones of Bo were always very cute.

  22. JudyK says:

    I have a big black dog I rescued from a neighbor as a puppy…she’s half Shar Pei and half Black Lab. She is the sweetest, most affectionate dog in the world and is now 8 years old.

    I also have two black brother cats I rescued as kittens…had been feeding a feral female (which I had spayed). Found homes for the rest of the litter. TMI, but I LOVE my black kitties (almost 3 now) and wasn’t even a cat person before taking them in. Such a stupid superstition.

  23. Katie Too says:

    The poor black kitties really have it the worst as previously mentioned. Unfortunately, I’ve color-coordinated my animals’ fur to white/light yellow. I will switch to black as life allows, but I can’t have two opposing colors of fur in the house. All my black and navy clothe are off-limits; can’t add white and light colored.clothes, too.

    • jwoolman says:

      I remember decades ago when getting a stenographers chair for my office, I completely baffled the salesman when I mentioned that I had to consider how the cat’s fur would look on the color of the chair… Well, I was right, she spent a lot of time on that chair! I must have been thinking in terms of the fur showing up well for easy cleaning, though, since the red chair I got was a good match for her black fur. She liked to swivel in swivel chairs.

  24. meghan says:

    My sweet-as-can-be solid black lab/chow mix is legitimately discriminated against! It’s really terrible, the strange superstitions people have. Neighbors of ours have, with great certainty and superiority, told both my boyfriend and I that our dog is the devil reincarnationated, when they have literally only seen her from afar, never interacted with her

  25. Claudia says:

    I used to volunteer at animal shelters and it’s true- black, adult dogs are the absolute hardest to adopt out. I remember how over the course of several months all the dogs I worked with were adopted out in the first week or two save the only all black dog in the pound, who was there for months. I felt so bad, but I couldn’t adopt him because I already had two small dogs and they weren’t fans of other dogs.

  26. BLOGAHOLIC says:

    Why can’t we all just get along.😂

  27. mamaT says:

    i just recently found out my parents really dislike all black dogs as well. My family almost adopted a gorgeous black lab and when they visited i was so surprised how strongly they really didnt like him. it was weird.

    Its not dogs that are black and another color, just solid black.

  28. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    The up-do that Kim Zolciak is sporting would look fabulous on Jennifer Aniston – it looks like a Rachel with an upsweep in the back.

  29. Ashley Yeah I said it says:

    Honestly celebitchy it has to do with

    ppl with NEGATIVE associations with the color black (prejudice) (which are alot of ppl) cast this even on animals

    sooo a black dog or cat just seems threatening and as one user said “dangerous subconsciously” FOH

    -perplexed black woman

    • jwoolman says:

      I blame Halloween. My little neighbor astonished me when he announced that my black cat was “scary” when he hardly knew her, just was watching her run around my yard. She thought it was the other way around- he’s fascinated by “kitty” and has learned how to open my gate for a closer look (he tosses things over my fence to have an excuse to satisfy his supervisors, being an exceedingly clever child) and hasn’t figured out yet that chasing her is not the way to make friends with a cat… Kitty just races into the house through the cat door, with him following closely behind and me bringing up the rear to remind him to let kitty have the house as her safe place and stay on the porch, then kitty stands up at the door from the inside and hisses a little at the tyke (does the same to mail carriers and delivery people, she’s very brave behind barriers). But long before he heard her hiss, he was sure she was scary. (Her hiss isn’t all that convincing so now he thinks she’s funny.) He’s only four but just old enough to remember all the anti-black cat propaganda in Halloween decorations. It can’t be transferring human racism since his family is quite dark. His dad had been equally fascinated by my kitties at that age, although I don’t recall him revealing any prejudice about their scariness. The grandma has never been a fan of cats, though, so the’ve never had cats in the house to get to know. And of course that’s the nature of prejudice, pre-judging without real knowledge.

  30. jwoolman says:

    Dunno about the hypoallergenic thing, but I would assume they looked for a dog who was more of a known entity because they were looking for a companion for their older dog but not wanting a teeny little puppy. I hear that breeds are a surer bet for such things although I’ve only lived with feline mongrels. I usually need to get very young kittens when getting a new feline assistant for that reason, even though I’m fine with hiring adult cats (Senior Cat was 8 years old when he arrived with his original but alas short-lived 4 year old companion- I inexplicably had run entirely out of cats and so was entirely catless, so I looked for two adults who already knew each other). It’s too important that the senior cat have a good relationship with junior. When an adult cat landed on my doorstep many years ago, it took many months for Cat One and Cat Two to get used to Cat Three. Don’t even ask about what happened when Cat Four and Cat Five arrived when a neighbor died…. It worked out eventually but there was a lot of trauma involved! Mainly for me, the worst warriors enjoyed all the conflict. It was like a constant cat soap opera for a while. This is a tiny place and we all have to manage to live together in tight quarters. Well, the White House doesn’t have my space problem, but they still had to consider the emotional needs of Dog One when choosing Dog Two.

  31. Claudia says:

    OK, Cute. But lets recognise this for what it is: a politician pimping out pets for an image boost.

  32. Schmootc says:

    I don’t know where this all-black business comes from. That tongue of hers looks like it hangs out a lot and it’s pretty darn pink!

  33. the real jenny says:

    I have to say, I am so happy to finally see a post about the Obamas with minimal Obama-bashing. Go, celebrity gossip fans!

  34. Meggin says:

    Sunny is such a cutie! So is Bo of course. I agree Michelle is definitely more of a dog person than she realized. There are so many pictures of her with Bo. It’s really cute

  35. Lauraq says:

    I freaking love their feet. Their feet! It looks like their legs just end in stubs! So cute!
    I have an orange tabby and a grey tabby, but that’s just how it happened. If I was picked by a black cat, that would be fine too.