Happy Presidents Day!
While we all may be familiar with famous US Presidents of our country's past, what about their presidential companions while in office? Here are some fun facts about furry friends who had the privilege of living it up in the White House.
- George Washington is widely known for his fondness of dogs, having owned as many as 50 throughout his lifetime! 17 lucky dogs shared their home with the president during his two terms in office; however, since the White House was still being built, the dogs did not actually live in the White House.
- In the year 1800, with construction of the White House nearly complete, our second president, John Adams and First Lady Abigail, moved in along with Abigail’s two mixed-breed pups, Juno and Satan.
- President Franklin Pierce, often labeled as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history, did have one great trait – his love for dogs! The un-favored president moved 7 small dogs into the White House during his term.
- One of the most recognizable and memorable presidents in history, Abraham Lincoln, moved into the White House with a slew of unusual pets including a turkey, a couple of ponies, some goats, a few cats, a white rabbit, and his two dogs: Jip and Fido!
- James A. Garfield spent his days in the White House alongside his Newfoundland, which he’d cleverly named Veto. Veto was much more than just a pet, though; He was a hero! Once, when one of the White House stables caught fire, it was Veto that barked and alerted staff and got people out to safety.
- During Theodore Roosevelt's presidency, the White House was home to close to 40 pets at any given time! Among Roosevelt’s canine companions were Pete the Bull terrier, Rollo the St. Bernard, Sailor Boy the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Blackjack the Manchester terrier, Skip the mutt, and Manchu, Alice Roosevelt’s beloved Pekingese.
- In 1923, when 30th president, Calvin Coolidge took office, he brought with him 13 dogs in total.
- Our 31st President Herbert Hoover moved into the White House with 9 dogs and 2 alligators...yikes!
- In total, the Roosevelt family had 11 dogs during their 12 years at the White House. There’s now doubt these dogs were a huge comfort in times of great stress during the Great Depression.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower welcomed a Weimaraner puppy named Heidi back in 1955; however, after multiple mishaps involving the young pup’s bladder, Heidi was sent to live at the Eisenhower’s farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
- Although President John F. Kennedy was allergic to pet hair, he had an entire pack of pups during his time in office including: Charlie, a Welsh terrier, Gaullie the Poodle, Pushinka the mutt, Shannon the Cocker Spaniel, Wolf the Irish Wolfhound mix, Clipper the German Shepherd, and mixed breed puppies: Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie, and Streaker.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson was a huge dog lover, but was especially fond of Beagles.
- Richard Nixon shared the Oval Office with Vicky the Poodle, Pasha the Yorkshire Terrier, and King Timahoe, an Irish Setter.
- After Nixon’s resignation, Gerald Ford adopted Liberty, a Golden Retriever from a Minnesota breeder when the pup was just 8-months old. President Ford met Liberty for the very first time in the Oval Office where, it’s been reported, he got down on all fours to greet the gorgeous girl. Eventually, the Fords decided to breed Liberty. She gave birth to 9 puppies – 4 girls and 5 boys – right there in the White House! Watch President Ford play with the puppies in this video from November 1975.
- President Ronald Reagan was gifted with a dog named Lucky who eventually grew too large to stay at the White House. She was permanently moved to their spacious California ranch where she remained a favorite of the president’s pets. Check out just how big Lucky was by checking out these photos!
- Millie, the English Springer Spaniel, was the beloved pup of George H.W. Bush. During her time in office, First Dog Millie became quite the celebrity, publishing a best-selling book, appearing on several tv shows, and even becoming animated for a cameo in The Simpsons.
- Bill Clinton had Buddy the Chocolate Lab during his second term in office.
- President George W. Bush brought Spot back to the White House where he had been born years before and had a Scottish Terrier named Barney while in office.
- When Barack Obama was running for the presidency, he promised his daughters, Sasha and Malia, that if he won, he’d get a dog for the girls. As fate would have it, a pair of Portuguese Water Dog breeders in Texas had named one of their prized pups, born during Obama’s campaign, “New Hope” in honor of the candidate they supported. Senator Ted Kennedy, upon Obama’s election into office, gifted “New Hope” to the family. The Obamas changed his name to Bo. 4 years later, they got another dog named Sunny.
- Dogs have been the most popular pet for a president to have during his time in the White House — 30 of the 44 presidents have had at least one dog in the West Wing. Dogs have remained the most popular “First Pet” with 68% of U.S. presidents sharing the Oval Office with a four-legged best friend.
If you were a U.S. President, what type of dog would you bring with you to Washington D.C.?