20 Most Recent Presidential Pooches (& Other Pets)
They say dogs are man's best friend, but what about the most powerful man in the world? Believe it or not, United States Presidents have a long and storied history of owning dogs and keeping them by their side at the White House. And if you think your dog is an attention hound, wait 'till you meet these mutts! Beyond dogs, Presidents have also had a number of other, less conventional pets, including bears, lion cubs, and even hippos! Read on, and prepare to be amazed.
1) Spot (George W. Bush)
This lively pooch was an 11 year old English Springer Spaniel that sat by the President's side until her untimely death earlier this year. According to the White House, Spot is the daughter of another Presidential pup; Millie, the elder George Bush's dog. She was born in the White House in 1989, making her the only 2nd generation Presidential pet ever.
2) Buddy (Bill Clinton)
A lively chocolate Labrador, Buddy took his post at the White House in 1997, the fifth year of the Clinton Administration. Buddy was one of the more photogenic White House dogs in recent memory, and photos featuring him with the family can be found in great abundance. He would provide many laughs and warm memories until his life ended in a tragic car accident on a wintery Janurary day in 2002.
3) Millie (George Bush Sr.)
As mentioned in Spot's description, Millie is the first and only Presidential dog to give birth to another. As the trusted canine companion of President Bush Sr. Millie had an eventful few years in the White House, including becoming the first dog to write a book, and giving birth to puppies that all went to good homes.
4) Lucky the Bouvier des Flandres (Ronald Reagan)
You might imagine that it would take a pretty charismatic dog to keep Ronald Reagan entertained, and sure enough, Lucky the Bouvier des Flandres did not dissapoint! Lucky was known for chasing newsmen around the White House, playing hide and seek with the Reagans, and accompanying the President for strategy sessions and conferences in the Oval Office during his Presidency. It'd be tough to find a more comical and loveable Presidential dog than this one!
5) Grits (Jimmy Carter)
While little is known about Grits, it is said that he was a gift to Jimmy Carter's daughter, Amy, by a teacher. The dog was eventually given back to the teacher, but Grits' stay in the White House was a memorable one indeed!
6) Liberty (Gerald Ford)
Liberty was Gerald Ford's golden retreiver, an energetic pup who was fond of swimming at Camp David and accompanying the President during meetings. He was also known to make unapproved, late-night excursions outside of the White House to "do his business" without the Secret Service knowing.
7) Checkers (Richard Nixon
Checkers is the only dog to save his owner's political neck by becoming the subject of a speech. In his now-famous "Checkers speech", Nixon deflected criticism that he was taking illegal campaign donations by proving that the only thing anyone gave him was a Cocker Spaniel, which his daughter named as "Checkers."
8) Him and Her (Lyndon Johnson)
Some people like to keep it simple, which was clearly the case when it came time for Lyndon Johnson to name his two beagles. Named "Him and Her" for obvious reasons, the two beagles were often seen and photographed in public with Johnson, taking walks and using any opportunity to look cute in front of a camera.
9) Pushinka (John F. Kennedy)
Pushinka ("Fluffy" in Russian) has the dubious distinction of being a gift from former Soviet Union premier Nikita Khrushchev. Despite the unsavory source, however, all indications were that Pushinka was a good dog, and he gave birth to several puppies who hung around with the Kennedys for a number of years.
10) Heidi (Dwight Eisenhower)
A tiny dog, Heidi was Dwight Eisenhower's trusty Weimaraner, shown here accompanying the President back to the White House after a March 11, 1959 press conference at the Executive Office Building, now named in Eisenhower's honor. The President and his dog were photographed together often during his time in office and similar ones can be found in books or documentaries.
11) Feller (Harry Truman)
Truman's Cocker Spaniel, Feller, has a slightly different story than the other dogs. After being given to the family as an unsolicited Christmas gift in 1947, the family opted to give the pop to a White House physician rather than keep it. But before long, the press began to deride the physician for taking the dog, causing him to hand Feller off to a Naval Admiral. After several more hand-offs, Feller ultimately wound up living on a family farm outside Greenfield, Ohio, where he stayed happily until dying of old age.
12) Fala (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
Fala was much more loved and embraced than Feller. As FDR's pooch of choice, Fala had a bone brought to him each morning on the President's own, personal breakfast tray. He got a full meal each night (just like the rest of the family), and was known for begging for scraps from the White House staff as well. It was also said that Fala slept on a special chair positioned at the foot of Roosevelt's bed.
13) King Tut (Herbert Hoover)
It might seem surprising that we've gotten this far in the list without mentioning a President who owned a bona-fide guard dog, but the buck stops here. Nicknamed "King Tut", this stately pup was Herbert Hoover's best friend and bodyguard, having been trained as an actual police dog before his stay at the White House.
14) Duke (Rutherford Hayes)
A cute Spaniel, Duke accompanied President Rutherford Hayes alongside a number of other, less conventional pets, such as pedigreed cows, goats, canaries, and a number of Carriage horses.
15) Laddie Boy (Warren Harding)
Shown here with Warren Harding's wife, Florence, Laddie Boy was the family Airedale from 1921-1923. Potential Airedale owners might want to be caerful however, as Harding is best known as one of the most corrupt Presidents ever to take office. There might have been a not-so-savory reason for picking the dog that he did!
16) Tige (Calvin Cooledge)
The first non-dog Presidential pet on our list is Tiger (or "Tige"), Calvin Coolidge's alley cat. Tige was but one ode to Coolidge's eccentric personality; others included lion cubs, canaries, geese, mockingbirds, a bear, and even a pigmy hippopotamus! It appears that the Coolidge family just never knew how to say "no" when it came to taking new animals in!
17) Old Ike (Woodrow Wilson)
Possibly the most odd pet to be featured in this list (the hippo obviously takes the cake overall) is Old Ike, the tobacco-chewing ram who prowled the White House grounds in search of new crops to chew on. The fact that a President would let himself be seen with such a pet speaks volumes about the difference in political correctness levels in 1921 vs. where they are today.
18) Pauline Wayne (Howard Taft)
Pauline Wayne has the distinction of being the last ever cow to live at the White House, as well as the last cow to provide milk directly to a U.S. President. What a difference 100 years makes! Apparently White House security staff was a lot more lax about what could go on there in 1909 than they are in 2008!
19) Algonquin (Theodore Roosevelt)
Algonquin (named after the Indian tribe) belonged to Archie Roosevelt, Theodore's son. One of the more fond memories of Algonquin's time in the White House came when Archie was just a boy, and his brother Quentin took the pony into the White House elevator to make Archie laugh and feel better while he's sick. Suffice it to say that Presidential children would have a tough time pulling stunts like that today!
20) Old Whiskers (Benjamin Harrison)
Old Whiskers was a pet goat who belonged to Benjamin Harrison's son, Russel. He had a reputation for being extremely ornery, so much so that the President himself was once forced to chase him down Pennsylvania Avenue when the goat ran away with his grandkids being pulled on a sled from behind! The open-minded observer might wonder if Old Whiskers was a kindred spirit with Lucky the Bouvier des Flandres, due to their shared penchant for tom foolery.