WASHINGTON: Sure, he’s had a lot to deal with: the finance crisis, North Korea, the $787 billion stimulus package, how to shut down Guantanamo, when to withdraw from Iraq.

But the question that has nipped at his heels every step of the way, ever since he made the promise on election day before tens of thousands in Chicago, was this: When would President Barack Obama and his family get the much-awaited first puppy?

The answer is a black and white, six-month-old Portuguese water dog named Bo — a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy, the Washington Post reported online on April 12. The dog’s name was chosen by first daughters Malia and Sasha, who liked it because their cousins have a cat by that name. Also, Michelle Obama’s father was nicknamed Diddley, the Post reported, giving the added jazzy connotation of Bo Diddley. The Post said it had been promised an exclusive by the White House, but then details started leaking out on April 11 on the celebrity gossip website TMZ.com. The dog is expected to arrive at the White House on April 14.

Bo has been trained by Kennedy’s dog trainers, and already met the family at the White House on a secret visit to see if he could pass muster. He stood and sat as was proper, and didn’t have any potty mistakes, the Post reported. More importantly, he followed the president across the room.

Bo will be the first dog ever for any of the Obamas. Malia, 10, has allergies, which limited the choice to breeds like the Portuguese water dog and the Labradoodle.

Kennedy, whose support early in the presidential election campaign last year along with niece Caroline Kennedy is credited with having given Obama a huge boost, has often been seen in public with his dogs. When he left the hospital in Boston last year after treatment for a seizure caused by a brain tumour, a dog came along to collect him.

“We couldn’t be happier to see the joy that Bo is bringing to Malia and Sasha. We love our Portuguese water dogs and know that the girls — and their parents — will love theirs too,” the Kennedys were quoted as saying in a statement.