Most American presidents have kept pets at the White House. The American public has always been enamored with presidential pets, but none more so than the dog. This guide covers some of the history of the White House pets, and some of the most popular presidential dogs.
Fun Facts About Presidential Pets
There is a wonderfully rich history of pets at the White House, and 43 out of 46 presidents have had pets.
And these White House pets are a goldmine for trivia night. Although George Washington kept many dogs, and is credited with breeding the first American Fox Hounds, it was John Adams that kept the first dogs at the current White House. Adam’s dogs were mutts named Juno, Mark, and Satan. The latest dogs have been President Biden’s German Shepherds, including Major, the first-ever shelter dog at the White House.
Most of the pets kept at the White House have been typical pets, like cats and dogs. However, there have been plenty of strange pets, too. Calbina and Grace Coolidge had a pet racoon that could be walked on a leash. Andrew Jackson had a parrot that had to be escorted from his owner’s funeral for swearing too much. Thomas Jefferson was gifted two grizzly bear cubs. Theodore Roosevelt and his family had more pets than any other First Family, and their menagerie included animals like ponies, snakes, a pig, and a turkey!
There have been all kinds of animals kept as presidential pets. Here is a list of some of the White House pets:
- Horses; ponies
- Fighting cocks
Most Popular Breeds Among Presidential Dogs
Among all of the pets kept at the White House, the most popular have been dogs. There have been many different breeds of dogs at the White House, including everything from Mastiffs to toy breeds like Scottish Terriers and Yorkshires. Some of the most popular breeds among US presidents have been Terriers, Collies, Spaniels, and Setters. Terrier breeds have won out as the most popular of all, although that may be thanks in part to just how many types of terriers there are! A total of 15 different kinds of Terriers have lived at the White House.
10 Popular Dogs of Presidents
We love all of the presidential dogs both past and present, so narrowing down our list to only 10 was challenging. The following section covers 10 popular presidential dogs. These dogs were all loved by their owners, and many of them won the hearts and minds of the American public, as well.
President Lincoln’s dog Fido
President Lincoln had a yellow-colored mixed-breed dog named Fido. Fido was a most beloved family pet, and would be seen following Lincoln around Springfield, Illinois before the presidency.
Fido was a much-loved presidential pet, despite never living at the White House. Fido was unable to accompany the Lincolns to the White House because of his fear of crowds and strangers, and was sent to live with a close friend along with his own personal couch.
President Theodore Roosevelt’s dog Pete
President Theordore Roosevelt had more pets than any other president, but his feisty dog Pete was his favorite. The dog was reportedly a Bull Terrier, but some said it was a Bulldog or a Boston Bull Terrier. The dog often misbehaved and bit people, and once ripped the pants off of the French Ambassador. He dog was sent to live out his days on the family estate.
Harding’s dog Laddie Boy
Laddie Boy was the beloved Airedale Terrier belonging to Warren G. Harding and Florence Harding. Laddie boy is known as the first “First Dog”, and was the first White House dog to get regular press. Laddie Boy even had birthday parties at the White House, and other dogs attended as guests.
The Coolidges’ Dog, Rob Roy
The Coolidges had a white Collie named Rob Roy. Rob Roy loved to ride in the boat with Coolidge while fishing. The dog was so loved by his owners that he was in First Lady Grace Coolidge’s official portrait.
FDR’s dog Fala
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s favorite dog was his Scottish Terrier, Fala. Fala could do tricks, and was often mentioned in the media and by FDR and his wife, Eleanor. Fala has been immortalized with a statue as part of the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. and has been the only one out of all the presidents’ dogs with that honor.
LBJ’s dog Yuki
Lyndon B. Johnson’s favorite dog was a small rescued stray named Yuki. President Johnson and Yuki would howl, or “sing” often to entertain guests. Yuki went everywhere with Johnson, including swimming and to Cabinet meetings.
President Nixon’s dog Checkers
Nixon’s Cocker Spaniel Checkers became a celebrity when he mentioned her in a speech that became known as “Checkers’ Speech.” The mention of the dog endeared Nixon to the public, and endeared Checkers to them, as well.
George H.W. Bush’s dog Millie
George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara had a beloved dog named Millie. She was the first White House dog to “write” a book. The book was titled “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush”, and made it to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Millie also had a litter of 6 puppies while at the White House, much to the delight of the public.
George W. Bush’s dog Barney
Barney was a Scottish Terrier who was owned by George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. Barney was much-loved by the public, and was the first White House pet to become a web star. Barney had his own web page, and people could follow his shenanigans with the “Barneycam”. These videos featured Barney and Miss Beazley, the Bush’s other Scottish Terrier.
President Obama’s dogs Bo & Sunny
After President Obama moved into the White House, he got his daughters the dog he’d promised them. They chose a Portuguese Water Dog because his daughters had allergies, and this breed is hypoallergenic. The girls named the dog Bo, and there was much press coverage of the family with the new pet. The Obamas later attained another Portuguese Water Dog named Sunny.
Whether a dog is famous and lives in the White House, or has more humble surroundings, the most important thing is that he or she is happy and healthy. If you need products to help you look after your dog, visit Pet Releaf and shop our products online today!