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Presidential Pets:
Pets in the White House

As far back as the very first President and with few exceptions, there have been pets sharing the White House. In some cases the animals represent gifts from foreign dignitaries, the most notable of which is the herd of elephants given to James Buchanan by the King of Siam.

You can see the evolution in our country by the selection of pets. Some were more necessity than luxury - such as the carriage horses and war mounts.

As the years went by there were less and less barnyard and functional animals and more and more animal members of the family.

Does the choice of pet reveal anything about the President? You be the judge.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

1789 -1797

Washington had many horses, specifically stallions. Their names included: Magnolia, Blueskin, Samson, Leonidas and Traveler. Also hounds with names including: Drunkard, Sweetlips, Tipsy, Cloe, Taster and Lady Rover. In addition there were a number of French Hounds and even a parrot.

JOHN ADAMS

1797-1801

The first stables were built at the White House during this term to accommodate Adams' horses. He and his wife are also reputed to have a number of hound dogs.

THOMAS JEFFERSON

1801-1809

Jefferson received two bear cubs as a gift from Lewis and Clark. He also had a mockingbird and two Briard breed dogs (also gifts)

JAMES MADISON

1809-1817

If it weren't for wife, Dolly, there may not have been an animal in the White House during Madison's term. She had a sole green parrot. No other pets have been documented, but there were sheep on the lawn used for landscaping.

JAMES MONROE

1817-1825

Only one nameless Spaniel has been documented.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS

1825-1829

Possibly the winner of the most "exotic" pets award, John Quincy Adams had an alligator that was given to him by the Marquis deLafayette. Mrs. Louisa Adams raised silkworms!

ANDREW JACKSON

1829-1837

Jackson had a number of horses and ponies. His wartime mount was Sam Patches but he also had racing horses Emily, Lady Nashville, Truxton and Bolivia.

MARTIN Van BUREN

1837-1841

In this case a gift by the Sultan of Oman was the subject of a Congressional directive. The gift was a pair of tiger cubs and Congress "suggested" the president donate them to a zoo. He did.

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON

1841

During his one year at the White House, Harrison was joined by a goat and a Durham cow.

JOHN TYLER

1841-1845

President Tyler had a horse with him, The General. His wife, Julia was given a Greyhound by the Consul of Naples. The dog, Le Beau, was sent to "grace the White House Lawn".

JAMES K. POLK

1845-1849

Polk had a number of horses at the White House, but no names have been recorded.

ZACHARY TYLER

1849-1850

In addition to his wartime mount, Old Whitey, Tyler had two Italian Wolfhounds and a canary.

MILLARD FILLMORE

1850-1853

As a founding member of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals you would think the White House would have been swarming with pets. None have been documented.

FRANKLIN PIERCE

1853-1857

Not a single animal resided in the White House with Franklin Pierce.

JAMES BUCHANAN

1857-1861

The King of Siam gave President Buchanan a herd of elephants which joined his pair of Bald Eagles and a Newfoundland dog named Lara. Congress did not request that he donate them to a Zoo.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

1861-1865

When the said there was a Pig in the White House it was not political satire, but a comment on the Presidents pet pig. Their dog, Fido also joined them, as did the children's pets, which included rabbits, goats, turkeys cats and other dogs.

ANDREW JOHNSON

1865-1869

President Johnson shared the White House with a family of mice, who he is said to have fed daily. Although they were not originally invited guests he made them feel welcome.

ULYSSES S. GRANT

1869-1877

Horses! Horses! Horses! His wartime mount, Jeff Davis as well as Cincinnatus, Egypt, St. Louis, Julia, Reb and Billy Button. He even had Shetland ponies not to mention gamecocks and a parrot. His dog was a large Newfoundland named Faithful.

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES

1877-1881

The very first Siamese kittens in the United States resided at the White House with President Hayes. But they weren't alone. There were also Jersey cows (pedigreed no less), Shepherd dogs, a goat, canaries, a spaniel mix named Duke, two hunting dogs, a mockingbird, four kittens and of course carriage horses.

JAMES GARFIELD

1881-1885

Garfield's wife, Molly, owned a mare by the name of Kit and Garfield himself owned a mixed breed by the name of Veto.

CHESTER A. ARTHUR

1881-1885

There is little information about the four years Arthur spent in the White House and no listing of pets at all.

GROVER CLEVELAND

1885-1889 and 1893-1897

In addition to canaries and mockingbirds, Mrs. Frances Cleveland had a Japanese Poodle to keep her company in the White House.

BENJAMIN HARRISON

1889-1893

President Harrison had a goat named Whiskers a dog-named Dash and an opossum, not to mention a number of other mixed breed dogs.

WILLIAM McKINLEY

1897-1901

Just one Mexican parrot and one Angora cat for this President.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT

1901-1909

His favorite horse was named Bleistein but it was not his only horse. He also had General and Judge (carriage horses) and Renown, Roswell, Rusty, Jocko, Grey, Root, Wyoming, Yangeka and countless others. Then there was Pete, the bull terrier, Sailor Boy, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Jack, the Terrier, Skip, a mongrel and, Manchu a spaniel.

Still not done there was Emily Spinach, the snake and a number of other snakes, Eli Yale, a Macaw, Josiah a badger, Tom Quartz and Slippers, both cats and at least five guinea pigs most of which were named after members of the Clergy!

Roosevelt also hosted a lion, a hyena, a wildcat, a coyote, a zebra, and owl, a raccoon and an assortment of lizards, rats and fowl.

WILLIAM TAFT

1909-1913

Taft holds the distinction of having the last (known) cow in the White House. The cow, Pauline Wayne, was a favorite pet.

WOODROW WILSON

1913-1921

Like James Madison, Wilson used sheep to cut down on landscaping costs. He had one special old ram by the name of Old Ike that liked to chew tobacco. He also had other barnyard animals, such as chickens and goats.

WARREN HARDING

1921-1923

Harding's Airedale, Laddie Boy became very famous, but he was not Harding's only pet. There was also Old Boy, who was an English Bulldog. His wife, Florence, raised canaries.

CALVIN COOLIDGE

1923-1929

Coolidge rivaled Roosevelt in his assortment of animals, and probably would win in the "most pets" category. He had a beautiful white collie named Rob Roy, a terrier named Peter Pan, an Airedale named Paul Pry, a sheepdog named Calamity Jane, one Chow named Tiny Tim and another named Blackberry, a brown Collie named Ruby Rough, a Bull Dog named Boston Beans and King Cole a German Shepherd. Still not done there was a yellow Collie named Bessie and a bird dog named Palo Alto.

But dogs weren't all President Coolidge brought to the White House. There were canaries named Nip and Tuck and one named Snowflake. Then there was Old Bill the thrush and Enoch the Goose. Tiger and Blacky were cats and Rebecca and Horace were raccoons. Ebenezer was a donkey and the bobcat was named Smokey.

Since they were well known for their love of animals, foreign diplomats and dignitaries often presented them with new ones representative of their country. These gifts included lion clubs, bears, an antelope, a pigmy hippo and an assortment of wild birds.

HERBERT HOOVER

1929-1933

Maybe you remember Hoover's famous dogs. They were King Tut and Pat, the German Shepherds, Big Ben and Sonnie the Fox Terriers, Glen the Scotch Collie, Yukon was a Malamute, Patrick an Irish wolfhound, Weejie was an elkhound and of course there was Eaglehurst Gillette, a setter. Oh yes, and there was an opossum, too.

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT

1933-1945

FDR's famous Scottish terrier, Fala, was joined by many other dogs and breeds. They were: Meggie, another Scottish Terrier, Major a German Shepherd, Winks a Llewellyn Setter, Tiny, an English Sheepdog, President, the Great Dane and Blaze a Mastiff, although some say Blaze belonged to Eleanor Roosevelt alone.

HARRY S. TRUMAN

1945-1953

Not everyone is an animal lover. Truman's daughter, Margaret had an Irish Setter named Mike, but he didn't stay at the White House long.

There was also a Cocker Spaniel named Feller that was given to the President from a woman in Missouri, his home state. He gave the dog away rather than raise it at the White House and dog lovers across the nation were upset. The dog was adopted by Truman's personal physician. The dog was often refered to as "Feller, the Unwanted Dog".

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

1953-1961

Just Heidi, the Weimaraner for this administration.

JOHN F. KENNEDY

1961-1963

Daughter Caroline Kennedy had a Welsh Terrier named Charlie and a pony named Macaroni. John Kennedy's wife, Jackie had a horse named Zsa Zsa. There were ponies named Tex and Leprechaun and an assortment of hamsters.

Then there was Tom Kitten a cat and Robin and Bluebell, both birds. There was Pushinka the dog who, along with Charlie, produced puppies Blackie, Butterfly, White Tips and Streaker.

Lyndon B. Johnson

1963-1969

LBJ was not famous for cleverly naming his dogs, but everybody knew them anyway. There was Beagle and Little Beagle and Him and Her. Freckles was Him's puppy and J. Edgar was a mixed breed.

He got a little fancier when naming his white Collie, Blanco and his mixed breed, Yuki. The Johnson Administration also house hamsters and lovebirds.

RICHARD NIXON

1969-1974

Another dog lover in the White House! President, Nixon had Checkers a Cocker Spaniel, Vicky the Poodle, Pasha the Terrier and King Timahoe an Irish Setter. For the first documented time, there were also fish in the White House!

GERALD FORD

1974-1977

Ford's Golden Retriever, Liberty had a littler of puppies while living at the White House, but they were adopted by good families and only Liberty stayed. Daughter Susan Ford had Shan, a Siamese Cat.

JIMMY CARTER

1977-1981

Daughter, Amy Carter, was given a dog they named Grits by her teacher, but the dog was later returned and replaced with Siamese Cat, Misty Malarky Yong Yang.

RONALD REAGAN

1981-1989

When Lucky, the Bouvier des Flandres Sheep Dog grew too big she was sent to the ranch and replaced at the White House with Rex, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Regan was an avid animal lover and kept many dogs as well as horses at his ranch.

GEORGE BUSH

1989-1993

Springer Spaniel, Millie and one of her puppies, Ranger joined the Bush's at the White House. Millie is the first dog known to have authored a book.

BILL CLINTON

1993-2001

Trouble in the White House? The two Clinton Administration pets, Socks the cat and Buddy, the chocolate Labrador Retriever had to be kept apart - they just couldn't get along.

GEORGE W. BUSH

2001 -

There's Spot, a Springer Spaniel and Barney a Scottish Terrier in the Bush White House. There's also a cat named India, but called Willie.

They were once joined by a cat called Ernie, but it was decided that he was a little too wild for proper White House etiquette and he has since moved to California.




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