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Pets Who Have Called The White House Home

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The role of President of the United States is a very serious one. With so much responsibility, one might not think of our Presidents are pet owners, however almost every US president has owned a pet of some kind. In a few cases, our former presidents have owned more than one animal! The most common Presidential pet has been dogs, but other animals have also occupied the White House including James Madison's macaw, Teddy Roosevelt's rat, and even Calvin Coolidge's lion cubs! Having an animal around can be a great stress reliever as well as comic relief. Surely our presidents knew this, and loved and appreciated their feathered or furry friends.


GEORGE WASHINGTON – The first President of the United States, George Washington had over 36 hounds throughout his lifetime. American staghounds and coonhounds were the dogs of choice during this era. They were often used as hunting companions, but also made great pets. Some of Washington's staghounds included Sweet Lips, Scentwell, and Vulcan. Some of his coonhounds were Drunkard, Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy, to name a few.

JOHN ADAMS – John Adams enjoyed his horses, and built the fist stables at the White House. He also had two dogs with unusual names, Juno and Satan. The dogs actually belonged to his wife Abigail, who named both of them out of her sheer sense of humor. Satan had an outrageous personality and was full of energy, while Abigail claimed that her dog Juno won her heart.

THOMAS JEFFERSON – The great intellectual President Thomas Jefferson owned a Mockingbird named Dick. He also owned a Briard (a fuzzy breed of dog) named Buzzy, who was a gift to him from General Lafayette.

JAMES MADISON – James Madison had a green parrot, although his name is not known. The parrot was Dolley Madison's, and she was the bird's caretaker.

James Monroe had a black spaniel that belonged to his granddaughter.

President Jackson's parrot Pol was quite a character. When Jackson died, the parrot yelled loud obscenities once his body was brought into the main white house parlor.

Given to him by the consul of Naples, a beautiful Italian Greyhound named Le Beau added grace to the white house lawn. The president also had a canary name after him called Johnny Ty.

President Franklin Pierce had a total of seven miniature oriental dogs as well as two exotic birds from Japan.

This president had many exotic animals including elephants and an eagle! He was also owner to Lara, a Newfoundland and Punch, a toy terrier.

Abe Lincoln named his dog Fido after the Latin word for loyal. He also had another dog named Jip. His dogs were very beloved to him, and he even had them photographed.

– President Grant's son Jesse had a beautiful Newfoundland named Faithful. The president also had a dog named Rosie.

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES – President Hayes had many different dogs in the white house including a cocker spaniel named Dot, a Newfoundland named Hector, an English Mastiff named Duke, a greyhound named Grim, and several hunting dogs. He also is known for having the first Siamese cats in the United States. The famous cats were named Siam and Miss Pussy.

JAMES GARFIELD – An ironic and humorous name for a dog, president James Garfield named his pooch Veto.

GROVER CLEVELAND – President Grover Cleveland had a poodle, and was also owner to a few mockingbirds.

BENJAMIN HARRISON – This president had a beautiful collie named Dash. A very unusual choice for a pet, he also owned two opossums named Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection. There are actual photographs with the president sitting with the opossums perched on his shoulder.

WILLIAM MCKINLEY – Named after a well-known newspaper, this president had a yellow-headed Mexican parrot named Washington Post, as well as two beautiful long haired angora kittens named Valeriano Weyler and Enrique DeLome.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT - President Teddy Roosevelt was an animal lover, and this was evident by the sheer number of pets he had, and by the types of animals that lived in the white house. He was a big fan of terriers and had several. Some of his terriers included Pete, Skip, Jack, and Blackjack. He also had other dogs including a St. Bernard named Rollo. He was also the owner of cats, a garter snake named Emily Spinach, a badger named Josiah, a rat named Jonathan, a macaw, and several guinea pigs.

WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT – While he may not have been known for his love of animals as much as other US Presidents, William Howard Taft was the owner of a dog named Caruso.

WOODROW WILSON – Woodrow Wilson owned two terriers, Davie and Bruce. He also had a cat named Puffins and a greyhound named Mountain Boy.

WARREN G HARDING – Harding was the owner of two dogs. Laddie Boy an Airedale Terrier, and Old Boy, a bulldog, both occupied the white house during his presidency.

CALVIN COOLIDGE – Much like Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge was an animal lover. He owned two white collies named Roy Roy and Prudence Prim. Several other dog breeds lived with Coolidge including two terriers, a Shetland sheepdog named Calamity Jane, two chow chows, a collie named Ruby Rouch, a bulldog named Boston Beans, and a German shepherd named King Cole. He also had a bird dog named Palo Alto and two raccoons named Rebecca and Horace. His sense of humor showed when he named his two canaries Nip and Tuck. More exotic animals included Smoky the bobcat, and two lion cubs named Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau.

HERBERT HOOVER – Herbert Hoover owned many different breeds of dog. Strangely, he also owned two crocodiles. His Eskimo dog was named Yukonian, and he also owned a Belgian shepherd named King Tut. Other dogs included Pat the German shepherd, Big Ben and Sonnie, two fox terriers, Glen the Scotch collie, and Patrick the Irish wolfhound.

FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT – Fala is one of the most famous of all presidential pets. This Scottish terrier was often seen in photographs with Franklin Roosevelt. He also had a German shepherd named Majora, a Great Dane, a bullmastiff, and a few terriers, but none grabbed the spotlight quite like Fala the terrier did.

HARRY S TRUMAN – The Truman family agreed to be a pet-free household, however that changed when they decided to have an Irish setter named Mike live at the white house. It was said that Mike would sometimes get sick because of all of the scraps he would be fed from white house dinners. The Trumans also had a cocker spaniel named Feller, although he was later given away to the family doctor.

DWIGHT D EISENHOWER – A beautiful brown Weimeraner named Heidi was owned by president Dwight D. Eisenhower, and there are a few photos that can be seen today that captured him smiling next to his dog.

JOHN F KENNEDY – JFK and his family were true animal lovers. They had several dogs including a mutt named Pushinka, who was a gift from a Russian premier, and the dog was the puppy of the famous Soviet space dog Strelka. The Kennedys also had a poodle named Gaullie, a Welsh terrier named Charlie, a cat named Tom Kitten, a canary named Robin, two parakeets, three ponies, and two hamsters named Debbie and Billie. JFK also owned a rabbit named Zsa Zsa.

LYNDON B JOHNSON – Lyndon Johnson was a big beagle lover, and owned several different beagles while President. Their names were Him, Her, Edgar, Freckles, and Edgar. He also had a white collie named Blanco, as well as some hamsters and lovebirds.

RICHARD NIXON – Richard Nixon owned a poodle named Vicki, an Irish setter, and a terrier. However, the most famous pet he owned was Checkers the cocker spaniel that helped him to get elected. He used Checkers in a famous speech, which would later help give him credit for his election. Sadly, Checkers died before he actually became president officially.

GERALD FORD – President Ford named his classic golden retriever a patriotic name: Liberty. Her puppy Misty was born in the white house. He also had a Siamese cat named Shan.

JIMMY CARTER – President Jimmy Carter's daughter was given a border collie named Grits by her teacher, but the dog was soon returned to its original owner. Amy did own a Siamese cat named Misty Malarky Ying Yang. Carter also owned an Afghan hound named Lewis Brown.

RONALD REAGAN – The Reagans were serious dog owners. Ronald Reagan had six different dogs while in the white house. Lucky, a Bouvier des Flandres, was given her name because of Nancy's Reagan's mother's nickname, which was also Lucky. They also had Rex, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Victory, a large Golden Retriever, Peggy the Irish setter, Taca, a Siberian husky, and Fuzzy, a Belgian sheepdog.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH – George Bush senior owned two dogs while president. The first was Millie, a Springer Spaniel. Later Bush senior had Ranger, who was one of Millie's puppies, also occupy the white hours.

BILL CLINTON – A widely recognizable presidential pet, Chelsea Clinton had Socks the cat. The president himself also had a chocolate brown Labrador retriever named Buddy.

GEORGE W. BUSH – George Bush, junior had many dogs while president including Spot "Spotty" Fetcher, a female English springer spaniel named after Scott Fletcher. This dog was a puppy of Millie, his father's dog. The Bushes also had Barney, a Scottish terrier who starred in an annual Christmas video. Before his presidency was over, he also owned Miss Beazley, which was a 2005 birthday gift from George to his wife and a cat named India "Willie".

The Obamas debated for quite a while before deciding on a pet to occupy the white house. They knew they wanted a dog, but hadn’t yet decided on a breed. Finally, they chose Bo, a large black Portuguese water dog that can often be seen spending time with Barack Obama's daughters Sasha and Malia.

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