Obama's First Press Conference Turns To Dog Talk: "This Is A Major Issue"

CHICAGO -- President-elect 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 news conference Friday. It's generated more interest on his Web site than any other topic. But 10-year-old daughter Malia has allergies, so the family is looking for a low-allergy dog.

"We have two criteria that need to be reconciled," said Obama. "One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic."

Unfortunately, there is really no such thing as an allergy-free furry animal. They all shed some skin cells. And proteins found in their saliva or urine can also trigger allergic reactions in people.

Still, there is a good selection of low-allergy dogs. Some are short-hair breeds, but not all. And not all are little dogs.

It's the family's second criteria that may be the more difficult one to fulfill. Obama said the family would prefer to adopt a puppy from an animal rescue shelter.

"But obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me," said Obama in a self-deprecating reference to his father from Kenya and mother from Kansas. "So whether we're going to be able to balance those two thing, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household."