10 photos of adorable presidential dogs and their owners-in-chief (2023)

Forty-five presidents have lived in the White House since John Adams moved in in 1800 — and at least 31 dogs have called 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home.

In the book “All-American Dogs: A History of Presidential Pets from Every Era” (Harper Collins), out Aug. 9, Andrew Hager — historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum in Williamsburg, Va. — offers a master class on the White House’s most adorable residents.

Here are 10 photos of the world’s most powerful leaders, and their families, strolling, snuggling and even dancing with their patriotic pups.

Ronald Reagan and Lucky

It was First Lady Nancy Reagan’s press secretary Sheila Tate who convinced the 40th president, in office from 1981-1989, to get a dog. However, she wasn’t the one who gave the Reagan’s their pooch, a black Bouvier des Flandres called Lucky.

The dog was the gift of Kristen Ellis, a 6-year-old victim of spina bifida and March of Dimes poster child. Mrs. Reagan named the new pooch in honor of her mother, Edith Luckett “Lucky” Davis.

Though Lucky grew to weigh a whopping 70 pounds, she still considered herself a lap dog, often hopping on the Republican president’s legs during rides aboard Marine One. In fact, after only a few trips on board, she started to associate the presidential helicopter with trips to Camp David, her favorite place. Every time the pup saw the chopper, she ran towards it with excitement.

Calvin Coolidge and Rob Roy

According to Hager, Republican president Calvin Coolidge, who was in the White House from 1923 until 1929, had more pets during his tenure than any other American president —including Peter Pan, a white Wire fox Terrier, who moved into the White House with Coolidge; Paul Pry, the First Lady’s’ Airedale Terrier who once bit a White House maid who got to close to her; and Tiny Tim and Blackberry, two badly behaved Chow Chows who howled nonstop. Blackberry annoyed the First Family so much that, after only a few years, they gave her to Coolidge’s daughter-in-law.

But white Collie Rob Roy was said to be a favorite and loyal companion to First Lady Grace Coolidge. In his autobiography, Coolidge described the pooch as “a stately gentleman of great courage and fidelity.”

Rob Roy is also the only dog to be featured in a White House portrait: a painting of Grace and the pooch, created by Howard Chandler Christy, before a State dinner in 1924. It currently hangs in the China Room.

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John F. Kennedy and Clipper

Though John F. Kennedy, the Democratic president from 1961 until 1963, was severely allergic to animals, he had several pets —including Clipper, the German Shepherd gifted to First Lady Jackie Kennedy by the president’s father, Joseph. Hager notes that, despite JFK’s allergies, he wanted his children to grow up with pets. (Among their menagerie was daughter Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni.)

Jackie reportedly took Clipper for walks daily around the White House grounds — though she was often in her classic disguise of large sunglasses with a silk scarf covering her hair.

Kennedy had a favorite, too: His Welsh Terrier Charlie, who swam laps with the president in the White House pool. JFK even requested that Charlie be waiting for Marine One when he landed from trips out of town.

Herbert Hoover and King Tut

Herbert Hoover’s Belgian Shepherd, King Tut, was extra special: He helped the Republican win the presidential election by melting voters’ hearts. When Hoover was running for office in 1928, he was perceived by the public as stiff and cold. So his campaign managers suggested a photo with his beloved dog, who had been a part of the candidate’s family since 1922.

The Hoover campaign widely circulated the photo, getting it into every publication they could, including The New York Times, which captioned the image, “one of the happiest pictures ever made.”

According to Hager, King Tut would fetch the daily newspaper while his master was in the White House from 1929 until 1933. After Hoover had finished reading a section, King Tut would use the paper as a pillow.

Unfortunately, the White House proved too stressful for such a vigilant breed and the anxiety of constant visitors led King Tut to stop eating and sleeping. Out of concern for his beloved pet, Hoover sent the canine to live in the family’s previous home, which was being rented by a friend. King Tut died only a few weeks later, in October 1929.

Richard Nixon and King Tamahoe

While Richard Nixon served as president from 1969 to 1974, the Republican and his family enjoyed the company of three dogs: a poodle, a Yorkshire terrier and an Irish setter named King Timahoe.

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Though King Timahoe was one of the Nixon family’s most beloved pets, the most famous was Checkers. In 1952, then-Senator Nixon found himself in the middle of a scandal from which the Cocker Spaniel helped save him.

Supporters had started a fund to help the senator in his political career, but Nixon was accused of taking several thousands of dollars for himself.

With Nixon fearful he’d be de-seated in Congress, the Republican National Committee arranged for him to have 30 minutes of TV airtime to speak directly to Americans — and Checker became the start of the speech.

“One other thing I probably should tell you because if we don’t, they’ll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something — a gift — after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog,” Nixon said.

“And believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was? It was a little Cocker Spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl — Tricia, the 6-year-old — named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.”

Afterward, Nixon supporters rang the RNC to share their love of the senator. According to Hager, they were 75 to 1 in favor of Nixon to stay on the Republican ticket for vice president.

Joe Biden and Major

Bo Obama wasn’t the only new pup roaming the halls of the White House in 2009. Champ Biden, a German Shepherd, was also a newcomer shortly after Joe Biden assumed the vice presidency. Sadly, Champ passed away in July 2021 at age 13.

Three days before Biden’s 2021 inauguration, the Delaware Humane Society hosted a virtual fundraising event — dubbed the “indoguration” — for the new president’s adoption of a German shepherd, Major. The animal rescue’s goal was to raise $10,000, but after Josh Groban performed a song and Today correspondent Jill Martin emceed, more than $200,000 was raised, and Major was set to head to his new home on Pennsylvania Avenue.

But things didn’t go as planned, as Major became known for jumping and charging at staff and security —and was involved in two biting incidents.

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After undergoing more extensive training, Major is now living with a family friend in a quieter and less stressful environment than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Bidens also added a new German Shepherd, Commander, to their brood.

Rutherford B. Hayes and Duke

The Hayes family had several dogs, but their most famous was Duke, who Hager suspects was an English mastiff.

Hayes had an odd presidency — the Republican vowed to serve only one term, from 1877-1881, and his wife refused to serve alcohol in the White House — but he was an outspoken animal rights activist through and through.

During his 1878 address to Congress, which is now called the State of the Union Address, Hayes said, “The abuse of animals in transit is widely attracting public attention. [I urge Congress to consider] the enactment of more efficient laws for the prevention of these abuses,” a radical statement in the mid-19th century.

Bill Clinton and Buddy

In 1991, two years before the Clintons moved into the White House, Democratic president Bill Clinton had a black and white cat named Socks. During Clinton’s first term, Socks became a famous fixture at the White House — especially during press conferences when reporters would lure him with catnip.

However, when the Clintons’ daughter Chelsea left for college in 1997, First Lady Hillary decided to bring home a chocolate Lab, Buddy. “President Clinton later joked that he’d had an easier time running negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians than he’d had trying to make peace between his two animals,” Hager writes.

Hillary later wrote a children’s book about her popular pets, “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets,” that included dozens of letters penned by children to the presidential pets. Proceeds were donated to the National Park Foundation.

George W. Bush and Miss Beazley and Barney

After George W. Bush’s 2001 to 2009 presidency was mired by the tragedy of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, the American people turned to one of his Scottish Terriers, Barney, as a source of levity and sweetness.

Back in the early 2000s, when Barney was the First Dog, he starred in annual videos that the White House posted on the Internet around the winter holidays, where millions of people watched Barney being cute on the White House lawn.

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Nevertheless, not everyone fell for Barney’s charms. Jenna Bush Hager, George W. Bush’s daughter, said on the “Today” show that “Barney was a real jerk … He was a little temperamental. I feel bad saying that, but he didn’t like strangers.” He even bit a reporter and family friend, she added.

The Bushes adopted another Scottish terrier, Miss Beazley, whose father was Barney’s half-brother, as a birthday gift from the president to First Lady Laura Bush, in 2005.

That year, Miss Beazley and Barney were the stars of the White House holiday video,“A Very Beazley Christmas.”

Barack Obama and Bo

During Democratic president Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech, he spoke directly to his young daughters about a very personal campaign promise: “I love you both more than you can imagine. You have earned the puppy that is coming with us!

That puppy was Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog who was a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy.

On a deeper level, Hager said, “The gift of Bo thus connected President Obama to the optimistic Kennedy era of the early 1960s, a torch passed to a new generation.”

Though Bo technically belonged to the Obama daughters, he was beloved by all members of the presidential family. First Lady Michelle Obama even brought the canine with her for a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at Children’s National Medical Center near the White House in 2011.

Sadly, Bo died at the age of 12 in 2011, but two years later, Michelle Obama announced the homecoming of a new furry family member, Portuguese Water Dog Sunny, in a 2013 tweet.

FAQs

Who was the first presidential dog? ›

George Washington, the country's first president, had several dogs including three American Foxhounds named Vulcan*, Scentwell, and Sweetlips and four Black and Tan Coonhounds with themed names: Drunkard, Tipsy, Taster, and Tipler.

What is the most famous presidential pet? ›

George and Barbara Bush's dog Millie, may have been the most famous presidential dog. Millie was an English Springer Spaniel that even had her own memoir.

What president had two dogs? ›

Two dogs, Lucky and Rex, lived at the White House during Ronald Reagan's Presidency.

Which president never had a dog? ›

Most United States presidents have kept pets while in office, or pets have been part of their families. Only James K. Polk, Andrew Johnson, and Donald Trump did not have any presidential pets while in office.

Which president had a pet lion? ›

President Theodore Roosevelt and family were prolific pet owners and animal lovers.

What president had a pet donkey? ›

A Zamorano-Leonés donkey, the same breed as Royal Gift. Royal Gift was the name George Washington chose for the Spanish jack that King Charles III of Spain gave to him in November 1784. The prized animal arrived at Mount Vernon one year later.

Which president had a pet tiger? ›

Tiger (Tige) – Blacky and I were the first of the Coolidge cats to live in the White House. President Coolidge liked to wear me around his neck. I loved to explore, and the first time that I escaped, I went all the way to the Lincoln memorial!

Which president had a pet chicken? ›

Theodore Roosevelt's pet one-legged rooster .

What is the funniest dog name? ›

Funny, Punny Dog Names
  • Groucho Barks.
  • Bark Twain.
  • Kanye Westie.
  • Mary Puppins.
  • Jimmy Chew.
  • Snoop Dog.
  • Dogzilla.
  • Pup Tart.
24 Aug 2020

What was first dog name? ›

The Egyptian dog Abuwtiyuw, also transcribed as Abutiu (died before 2280 BC), was one of the earliest documented domestic animals whose name is known.

What kind of dog is Rex? ›

Rex (dog)
SpeciesDog
BreedCavalier King Charles Spaniel
SexMale
BornDecember 16, 1984 Greenwich, Connecticut
DiedAugust 31, 1998 (aged 13) Santa Barbara, California
9 more rows

What was the first pet? ›

Dogs may have been domesticated and kept as pets since Paleolithic times, as can be surmised from the paintings and carvings that archaeologists have found in ancient campsites and tombs. It is likely that the dog was not only the first domesticated species but also the first animal kept as a pet.

Which president had the weirdest pets? ›

President Theodore Roosevelt had the most pets owned as a president at 48. He owned a few strange pets, including a black bear, a badger, a hyena, and even a three-legged rooster. That list of "pets" is just the tip of the iceberg!

Which president had a pet elephant? ›

Some of the more unusual U.S. presidential pets have been gifts from other world leaders. James Buchanan, the 15th president, received a herd of elephants from the King of Siam (now called Thailand).

Which president had a pet horse? ›

President Washington was well known for his devotion to animals. At his home, Mount Vernon, he had many traditional farm animals. However, his favorite animal was his beloved horse, Nelson.

What president had a cat named Socks? ›

President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) owned two pets, a cat named Socks and a dog named Buddy.

Which president had a pet alligator? ›

Did you know President John Quincy Adams had a pet alligator? He kept it in a bathtub in the East Room of the White House. But President Adams wasn't the only commander-in-chief with an unusual pet.

What president had a pet hippo? ›

Billy, or William Johnson Hippopotamus, (Before 1927 – October 11, 1955) was a pygmy hippopotamus given to U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. Captured in Liberia, he was given to Coolidge by Harvey Samuel Firestone in 1927.

What president had a pet hyena? ›

Theodore Roosevelt (26th President, 1901-1913) and his family also loved animals and had plenty of them at the White House, including a zebra, a parrot, bears, a lion, a hyena, a coyote, rats, and a one-legged rooster.

Which president had a pet goat? ›

President Benjamin Harrison (1889-93) gave his grandchildren a pet goat named His Whiskers. One day, while pulling the president's grandchildren around in a cart, His Whiskers took off through the White House gates.

What president had a pet squirrel? ›

Pete: Truman's White House Squirrel | Harry S. Truman.

What president had a pet tortoise? ›

On March 26th, the zoo became home to Teddy, a Brazilian giant tortoise, and the gift of Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy was originally found in Southern Brazil by Roosevelt and his companions during the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition of 1913-1914 (known for the infamous journey down the River of Doubt).

How many pets did John F Kennedy have? ›

The family of John F. Kennedy brought pet hamsters Debbie and Billie; a gray cat, Tom Kitten; and a canary, Robin, to the White House.

What president had two cats? ›

Among Calvin Coolidge's large menagerie were two mischievous cats, Blacky and Tiger. Tiger was the president's favorite; Coolidge sometimes would walk the halls with the cat draped around his neck.

What are sassy girl dog names? ›

Sassy Girl Dog Names
  • Lizzo.
  • Snookie.
  • Koko.
  • Queen.
  • Poppy.
  • Vixen.
  • Stormy.
  • Cha-Cha.
24 Mar 2022

What letters can dogs hear? ›

Canine experts have established that dogs are more responsive to hard consonant sounds than to soft consonant sounds. The letters "g" and "c" have hard and soft sounds. For example, the letter "g" is hard in the words "garden" or "go". The "g" is soft, with a "j" sound in words like "giraffe" or "gem".

Do dogs come wolf? ›

The dog, Canis familiaris, is a direct descendent of the gray wolf, Canis lupus: In other words, dogs as we know them are domesticated wolves. Not only their behavior changed; domestic dogs are different in form from wolves, mainly smaller and with shorter muzzles and smaller teeth.

Who named a dog a dog? ›

Taxonomy. In 1758, the Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus published in his Systema Naturae, the two-word naming of species (binomial nomenclature). Canis is the Latin word meaning "dog", and under this genus, he listed the domestic dog, the wolf, and the golden jackal.

Are Red dogs Real? ›

Red Dog (c. 1971 – 21 November 1979) was a kelpie/cattle dog cross that was well known for his travels through Western Australia's vast Pilbara region.
...
Red Dog (Pilbara)
Red Dog statue.
Other name(s)Bluey Dog of the Northwest
Died21 November 1979 (aged 7–8) Karratha, Western Australia
7 more rows

Who is the new PAW Patrol dog? ›

It all begins at the beach where the PAW Patrol pups are having fun before Ryder rallies them to the Lookout to meet a new PAW Patrol member, Rex.

What dog is rocky from PAW Patrol? ›

Rocky is a Schnauzer/Scottish Terrier mix who is the recycler pup of the PAW Patrol, one of the five tritagonists of the Canadian cartoon series PAW Patrol and one of the five tetartagonists of PAW Patrol: The Movie.

What animal is color blind? ›

Only one animal cannot see in colour

The only animal that has been confirmed to see only in black and white is a fish called a Skate. This is because it has no cones in its eyes.

What is the full meaning pet? ›

noun. any domesticated or tamed animal that is kept as a companion and cared for affectionately. a person especially cherished or indulged; favorite: He was the teacher's pet. a thing particularly cherished.

Which president had two pet alligators? ›

But this wasn't the last alligator to saunter into the White House. President Herbert Hoover's (1929-1933) younger son Allan had two pet gators in the early 1930s, which actually roamed on the White House grounds.

What is the President's favorite animal? ›

U.S. presidents and their families have typically liked animals. Creatures from mice to bears have made a home at the White House and its grounds.
...
Presidential Pets.
PresidentAnimals
George WashingtonPolly the parrot; 36 hounds; horses
John Adamshorses
Thomas Jeffersona mockingbird; two bear cubs, a gift from Lewis and Clark
40 more rows

Which US president was never married? ›

He remains the only President to be elected from Pennsylvania and to remain a lifelong bachelor. Tall, stately, stiffly formal in the high stock he wore around his jowls, James Buchanan was the only President who never married.

What pet did Bill Clinton have? ›

Buddy Clinton (August 7, 1997 – January 2, 2002), a male chocolate-colored Labrador Retriever, was one of two pets kept by the Clinton family while Bill Clinton was President of the United States. The Clintons' other pet was a cat named Socks.

What president had a cat instead of a dog? ›

Though Abraham Lincoln was the first president to keep cats as pets—Secretary of State William Seward gifted him two kittens he named Tabby and Dixie—Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum, believes that the first cats to pad through the White House were likely nameless.

Which president had the first rescue dog? ›

Franklin D. Roosevelt famously had a Scottish terrier named Fala, who is commemorated in bronze at the president's memorial in Washington, D.C. Lyndon B. Johnson owned the White House's first rescue dog (though not a shelter dog)—a terrier mix who his daughter found at a gas station.

What was the name of president Nixon's dog? ›

After a telegram exchange, he crated the puppy and shipped it by rail to the Nixons, and six-year-old Tricia Nixon named the dog "Checkers".

Did any president have a dog? ›

Dogs are the most popular presidential pets.

The Obamas had two Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny. The Bidens adopted a new puppy, Commander. Their dog Champ died in June, and Major was rehomed.

What president had a pet named Socks? ›

President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) owned two pets, a cat named Socks and a dog named Buddy.

What president had 2 beagles? ›

President Johnson would take his beagles on his walks with the press on the White House lawn. Him and Her: Him and Her, the most well known of the President Johnson's dogs, were registered beagles born on June 27, 1963.

Which president had a water dog? ›

President Barack Obama and his family were given the male Portuguese Water Dog as a gift after months of speculation about the breed and identity of their future pet.

Which president had two beagles named Him? ›

Presidential Pets (1959-2000) President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-68) receives a greeting from his beagles, Him and Her. Johnson's beagles made the cover of Life magazine.

What breed is Donald Trump's dog? ›

Conan (dog)
The declassified image of Conan tweeted by U.S. President Donald Trump
SpeciesDog
BreedBelgian Malinois
SexMale
Born2013 or 2014 (age 7–9) Netherlands
5 more rows

What kind of dog did president Hoover have? ›

Pat, a German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois, was a gift to the Hoovers from Captain Charles J. Mabbutt of Fort Benning, GA. Given to Hoover in May 1930 as a replacement for King Tut, Pat liked to patrol the White House grounds. He went to Palo Alto with the family after Hoover's presidency.

What kind of dog did President Eisenhower have at the White House? ›

Heidi, a Weimaraner breed, was a beloved family and national pet. She only lived at the White House for a short time before going to live on the Eisenhower farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where she had puppies.

What president had a pet bear? ›

Our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, began his Presidency in 1901, along with six children and more animals than the White House had ever seen. The Roosevelt children's family of pets included a small bear named Jonathan Edwards; a lizard named Bill; guinea pigs named Admiral Dewey, Dr.

Which president had a pet hyena? ›

Theodore Roosevelt (26th President, 1901-1913) and his family also loved animals and had plenty of them at the White House, including a zebra, a parrot, bears, a lion, a hyena, a coyote, rats, and a one-legged rooster.

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