Commander and Pooch: Dogs of the White House
They say dogs are man’s best friend, but what about the most powerful man in the nation? United States presidents have a long history of owning dogs and keeping them at the White House. If you think your dog is an attention hound, wait until you meet these pooches!
Washington never lived in the White House, but he bred and maintained American Foxhounds during his time as president. He had upwards of 30 hounds at one time, including ones named Drunkard, Tipler, and Tipsy.
Fun fact: Washington is responsible for the modern American Foxhound!
Lincoln lived with a rough-coated, floppy-eared dog of mixed ancestry named Fido. When he became president, he decided to leave Fido in Illinois with family.
(Not so) fun fact: When Lincoln’s body was returned to Springfield, Illinois, Fido was brought out to greet his mourners.
Warren G. Harding
President Harding owned an Airedale Terrier named Laddie Boy during his presidency. The president had a hand-carved cabinet chair made for Laddie boy so he could sit in on high level cabinet meetings!
Fun fact: Laddie Boy had a birthday party at the White House and all of the neighborhood dogs were invited, where they ate a dog biscuit birthday cake!
President Coolidge had two white Collies named Rob Roy and Prudence Prim.
Fun fact: The Coolidges had a menagerie of animals at White House that included a raccoon, a donkey, canaries, a bobcat, a goose and a mockingbird.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
FDR had a Scottish Terrier named Fala. Fala was a big part of FDRs image and often accompanied Roosevelt to many important events.
Fun fact: Fala is the only presidential pet to be honored with a statue in Washington, DC.
John F. Kennedy
The Kennedys had four dogs named Shannon, Wolf, Charlie and Clipper. They built a special play area near the West Wing so the president could visit them throughout the day.
Fun fact: JFK was the first president to request that his dogs meet him at the presidential helicopter when he arrived at the White House.
Johnson’s beagle mix, Yuki, was found at a Texas gas station on Thanksgiving 1966. She became the presidents’ most faithful companion and never left his side.
Fun fact: Yuki used to ‘perform’ for guests of the president, with the president howling right next to her.
Nixon had three dogs while he was in office: a Poodle named Vicky, a terrier named Pasha, and an Irish Setter named King Timahoe.
Fun fact: Nixon originally had a Cocker Spaniel named Checkers before he reached the White House.
President Ford had a Golden Retriever named Liberty. When he wanted to cut meetings short, he would give her a special sign. This sign would have Liberty get up and distract the guests, giving President Ford his out.
Fun fact: One night, the president went to let Liberty out, and he accidentally locked himself out of the White House.
George H. W. Bush
The Bush family had a Springer Spaniel named Millie during their time in the White House.
Fun fact: Millie had her own biography, called Millie’s Book, and it outsold George H.W. Bush’s own biography.
Clinton adopted a chocolate Labrador during his presidency, and after a write in campaign to choose the dog’s name, Clinton settled on Buddy.
Fun fact: Buddy had a well known feud with the other Clinton pet, Socks, their adopted cat.
George W. Bush
Bush received a Scottish terrier, named Barney, as a gift during the beginning of his first term in office. At the start of his second term, he got another Scottish terrier named Miss Beazley.
Fun fact: During the Bush administration, his dog Barney became a popular internet star in online videos.
Due to allergies, the Obama’s wanted to get a dog that was hypoallergenic and didn’t shed. After searching for a dog that would fit the bill, Senator Ted Kennedy gave Obama a Portuguese water dog, named Bo, as a gift.
Fun fact: Bo has caused some mischief in the White House, including chewing up the President’s gym shoes.