Michelle Obama: White House Dog Coming Soon!

02/25/2009 at 08:30 AM EST

Michelle Obama: White House Dog Coming Soon!
Michelle and Barack Obama with daughters Malia, left, and Sasha
The whole world, it seems, wants to know: What kind of dog are the Obamas getting and, for goodness sake, when?

Speaking to PEOPLE at the White House recently, Michelle Obama leaned in and confided: "You're getting some scoops here."

So, when? In April, Mrs. Obama says – after she and the President take daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on a vacation for spring break.

Here's a sample of a typical family conversation on the matter: "So Sasha says, 'April 1st.' I said, 'April.' She says, 'April 1st.' It's, like, April!," Mrs. Obama recalls. "Got to do it after spring break. You can't get a new dog and then go away for a week."

And what kind of dog will soon be frolicking on the South Lawn? Mrs. Obama says she thinks she is going to look for a rescue Portuguese Water dog who is "old enough" and a "match" for the family dynamic.

"Temperamentally they're supposed to be pretty good," she says of the breed that Sen. Ted Kennedy has also lobbied for (he has two Water dogs of his own). "From the size perspective, they're sort of middle of the road – it's not small, but it's not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that's where we're leaning."

The Name Game

The only thing still up in the air is the name. And Mom's not feeling it with some of the names her girls have come up with.

"Oh, the names are really bad. I don't even want to mention it, because there are names floating around and they're bad," Mrs. Obama says with a laugh. "You listen and you go – like, I think, Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one of them. Moose. I said, well, what if the dog isn't a moose? Moose. I'm like, no, come on, let's work with the names a little bit."

Asked if she can believe the public interest in her family dog search, Mrs. Obama shakes her head. "Okay, that's surprising," she says. "One of the things I didn't anticipate is the level of the excitement about the dog. I knew my kids were excited. They've been excited for years. They've even calmed down, because they feel like, 'They said we're going to get one, so let's just shut up about it.' "

Diplomatically, and careful not to insult enthusiastic dog-lovers, she adds: "It's all great and gracious attention. People are just being as helpful as you can imagine. So I know that we will find the perfect breed. And we'll find people who are caring folks who will help us find the dog of our dreams."

For more from this interview, including Michelle Obama's views on fashion and her family's daily White House routine, pick up the new PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

• What should the Obamas name their new dog? Submit your suggestions on PEOPLE Pets!

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