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 WASHINGTON1789 -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.
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.
Jefferson received two bear cubs as a gift from Lewis and Clark. He also had a mockingbird and two Briard breed dogs (also gifts)
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.
Only one nameless Spaniel has been documented.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
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!
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
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
During his one year at the White House, Harrison was joined by a goat and a Durham cow.
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
Polk had a number of horses at the White House, but no names have been recorded.
In addition to his wartime mount, Old Whitey, Tyler had two Italian Wolfhounds and a canary.
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.
Not a single animal resided in the White House with Franklin Pierce.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
There is little information about the four years Arthur spent in the White House and no listing of pets at all.
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.
President Harrison had a goat named Whiskers a dog-named Dash and an opossum, not to mention a number of other mixed breed dogs.
Just one Mexican parrot and one Angora cat for this President.
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.
Taft holds the distinction of having the last (known) cow in the White House. The cow, Pauline Wayne, was a favorite pet.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Just Heidi, the Weimaraner for this administration.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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