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U.S. President Barack Obama and wife Michelle join their daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, in taking the new White House pooch for a walk on the South Lawn Tuesday. The girls have named the dog Bo. ((Charles Dharapak/Associated Press))

Bo the Portuguese water dog officially became the first dog on Tuesday, completing his move into the White House.

U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the six-month-old, neutered puppy to the White House on Tuesday by showing him around the grounds and walking along the fence of the South Lawn.

"He's got star quality," Obama told reporters and photographers.

The president told reporters that the whole family will be taking turns walking and caring for the dog.

He said the puppy will be allowed in the Oval Office but that Bo won't be getting into his bed or near his wife's newly planted vegetable garden.

The president's wife, Michelle Obama, did most of the walking of the leashed pet. When daughter Malia took hold of the leash, the puppy took off running.

Bo was given as a gift to the president's daughters, Malia and Sasha, by Senator Edward Kennedy.

Obama promised his daughters a puppy during the presidential campaign and repeated his pledge on the night he won.

The White House is the fourth home for the puppy, which was born in Texas.

Bo was given up by his first owner in Washington, D.C., because things weren't working out with the family's other dog, officials said.

Kennedy and his wife Victoria, who had two Portuguese water dogs from Bo's breeder and acquired a third from Bo's litter, thought the puppy would make a good pet for the Obamas and sent him to Virginia for a month of training before his move on Tuesday.

Bo's official American Kennel Club-registered name is Amigo's New Hope. His first owner called him Charlie.

Bo is still very much a "goofy puppy" and like many Portuguese water dogs, may still be that way for up to four years, said Stu Freeman, president of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America.

"A puppy is a puppy and these are very active puppies," Freeman said. "The dogs are intelligent, they need to work and be kept busy. If you can't keep them active and amused, they will find something to do."

A challenge for the first family may also be the dog's name, said American Kennel Club spokeswoman Daisy Okas. "Since 'Bo' sounds like 'no' we would recommend that they work with a trainer to consult on the best commands to give the dog."

Okas said the Obamas may need to use hand signals or a different word to indicate the dog should stop doing something.

"The dog could become very confused if it thinks its name is being called when it's actually being told to stop a certain behaviour," Okas said.

The Obamas have not officially released how they choose the name for the presidential pooch. But the Washington Post reported Monday the girls chose the name Bo because their mother's father was nicknamed Diddley. The dog's name is an apparent reference to legendary rock 'n' roll singer Bo Diddley.

The Obamas have said their choice for the family pet came down to either a Portuguese water dog or a Labradoodle — a cross between a poodle and a Labrador retriever — because they are considered good pets for children like Malia who has allergies.

With files from the Associated Press