When Barack Obama won his bid for the presidency, he promised his daughters that they could choose a puppy. One of the concerns is that Malia Obama has allergies. The family chose a hypoallergenic Portuguese Water Dog with encouragement from Senator Ted Kennedy, who presented the first family with the dog as a gift. The puppy received his current name from president Obama's two daughters, Malia and Sasha, in part after their cousin's cat and Michelle Obama's father's nickname Diddley; the dog is a manesake of deceased singer Bo Diddley.
In June, 2009, the White House released a baseball card for Bo with his new official portrait on one side and tongue-in-cheek statistics on the other; information included the facts that Bo's favorite food is tomatoes and that he does not yet know how to swim.