NEW CANAAN - Southwestern Connecticut has a strong link to the nation's new "first dog."

The Obama family recently became the owners of a Portuguese water dog named Bo. Experts say the breed's history runs right through New Canaan. The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America says the breed was saved from extinction by former New Canaan resident Deyonne Miller.

The club says in the late 1960s Miller learned that the breed numbered less than 50, and that all of the dogs were in Europe. They say Miller, who died in 1988, brought some of the dogs to the United States, started breeding them and convinced others to do the same. There are now more than 10,000 Portuguese water dogs worldwide.

Andrew Kalmanash breeds Portuguese water dogs in North Stamford.

?It's exciting for the breed to be recognized?that we can now offer a dog to the president,? says Kalmanash.