There's the economy, the war, energy problems. So what decision facing the upcoming administration seems to have caught the nation's attention? Finding the First Dog.

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There’s the economy, the war, energy problems. So what decision facing the upcoming administration seems to have caught the nation’s attention?

Finding the First Dog.

Obama promised his daughters a puppy after the election, but finding one is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

“This is a major issue,” Obama told reporters at his Chicago news conference on Friday. It’s generated more interest on his Web site than any other topic, he joked.

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But 10-year-old daughter Malia has allergies, so the family is looking for a low-allergy dog, but also want to adopt a “rescue dog.”

“We have two criteria that have to be reconciled,” Obama said.

Unfortunately, there is really no such thing as an allergy-free furry animal, doctors say. Dogs, cats and other critters all shed dander, some more than others, though.

Still, the American Kennel Club says there is a good selection of low-allergy dogs. Poodles, for example.

Obama said the family would prefer to adopt a puppy from an animal shelter.

“But obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me,” said Obama, in an apparent self-deprecating reference to his mixed-race heritage.

John Polis of Best Friends, an animal-rescue group headquartered in Utah, said that a surprising number of shelter dogs are purebreds, and there are also animal-rescue societies devoted to particular breeds.

Malia reportedly wants a “goldendoodle,” a golden retriever-poodle hybrid that isn’t recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club.

According to his staff, the Obamas will wait until spring to adopt a pet, according to his transition staff. When he and his wife, Michelle, first agreed to let Malia and Sasha, 7, have a dog, it was always on the condition that the adoption take place in the spring so they wouldn’t be housebreaking the puppy in the winter.

A new dog can be a daunting choice, especially when made in the spotlight. But it’s worth it — and for more than just the kids.

“When he has a bad day, what’s better than having a dog walk over and say ‘Hey, things aren’t so bad?’ ” said Stephen Zawistowski, an executive vice president for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Compiled from The Associated Press, Cox News Services and the Chicago Tribune

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