Celebrity dogs - Portuguese Water Dog vs. Bulgarian Shepherd!

Narrated from: Dog Breeds

There is an old saying – “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”  Apparently, US Presidents don’t like to be lonely, because there is a long legacy of dogs in the White House!

One of President’s Obama first actions as President was to look for a new “first dog” - a task that turned out to be quite complicated since one of his daughters is actually allergic to dogs! In the end, the President was assisted by Senator Ted Kennedy, and a Portuguese Water Dog named Bo was introduced to the Obama family.

Recently, another powerful man acquired a new puppy, and that caused a lot of media hype since a name had to be chosen for the new celebrity dog. Former Russian President Vladimir Putin was delighted to receive a Bulgarian Shepherd dog as a gift during his visit to Bulgaria. In the end, the pup was named Buffy – no idea if there is any connection with vampire hunters here!

So, we have a Portuguese Water Dog in the White House, and a Bulgarian Shepherd in Moscow (along with Putin’s famous Labrador Koni of course). Both breeds are rare and largely unknown to the public. What do they signify?

Truth be told, both dogs have something in common – they are considered working breeds, and very smart.

The Portuguese Water dog is an old breed, its ancestry connected most commonly to rugged Asian herding dogs. These dogs are probably related to Poodles, thus explaining their hypoallergenic coats; for many years though they have developed in a unique way, since they were used to help Portuguese fishermen in their work. Portuguese Water dogs love the water and their thick coats help them stay warm in the sea. These dogs once herded fish into the nets, carried messages between boats, retrieved lost gear – Portuguese Water Dogs have swum even in the cold waters near Iceland!

On the other hand, we have the Bulgarian Shepherd dog. The breed is new – it was developed in Bulgaria for several decades and officially recognized just recently. The Bulgarian Shepherd dog was bred mainly from Karakachan Shepherd dogs – and that is another old breed, probably originating from the Thracians that inhabited the Balkan Peninsula in the times of the Ancient Greeks. Bulgarian Shepherd dogs are descendants of watchdogs, and this remains the breed’s primary occupation. Their Karakachan cousins have protected herds and people in the mountains for decades – they have also been promoted to border guard dogs on many occasions!

So, how can we compare the two breeds? On the outside, they look nothing alike. Both dogs have two things in common though.

First of all, they grow quite fond of their family. The Portuguese Water Dog is an affectionate, energetic dog, often considered an ideal pet for families with kids. The Bulgarian Shepherd is a protective dog – although not the typical aggressive type, Bulgarian Shepherds are not tolerant to strangers. They bond closely with their family, especially if they are raised with children.

The other common thing between the two breeds is intelligence. Bulgarian Shepherds are often described as independent dogs. They are able to make their own decisions, especially if they are trained for guarding. The Portuguese Water Dog, if trained properly, can respond to complicated commands; it is a highly intelligent dog, which tends to get rather mischievous from time to time.

High intelligence in both breeds leads to the third important issue – authority. When training a Portuguese Water Dog or a Bulgarian Shepherd dog, you would have to convince the dog that you are the leader of the pack. Otherwise both dogs would become unruly.

Are President Obama and Prime Minister Putin up for the task? Well, guess we shall just have to wait and see!

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