15 Popular Presidents and Their Dogs – American Kennel Club

From Washington’s Foxhounds to Obama’s famous Portuguese Water Dogs, presidential dogs are as traditional as baseball and apple pie. Almost all of our presidents have shared the White House with a dog, and often more than one. These presidential dogs have become as much a staple of the capital as the rest of the First Family and have “spoken” more than words could about the nature of our leaders.

In January 2021, Joe Biden’s two German Shepherd Dog champions and majors restored the tradition of presidential puppies at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. To celebrate the life of First Pets, we’re taking a look back at some of the most famous four-legged friends in American history.

george washington

GeorgeWashington, the father of our nation, is also the father of american foxhound. In 1770 Washington imported a number of dogs from England, and in 1785 the Marquis de Lafayette gave him French dogs. Washington carefully maintained and bred these dogs, and they became the ancestors of today’s American Foxhound. More than 30 dogs have been listed in Washington reviews, including Sweet Lips, Drunkard, Tipler, and Tipsy. Washington did not single-handedly invent American Foxhounds, but he was a key player in the development of the breed.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson took an interest in Briards while he was minister in France. He purchased a pregnant female, named Buzzy, and began his breeding program. Lafayette also sent Jefferson two other Briards to help protect the sheep at Monticello. There is no record of them living in the White House.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt owned a Saint Bernard named Rollo, a Pekingese named Manchu (belonging to the President’s daughter Alice), a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Sailor Boy, her son Kermit Manchester Terrier called Blackjack, and a bull terrier named Pete, who tore the pants of a French ambassador.

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover owned a Wire Fox Terrier named Big Boy, a Norwegian Elkhound called Weejie, a irish greyhound named Patrick, and a Belgian malinois named King Tut.

Herbert Hoover with Belgian Malinois

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt The Scottish Terrier “Fala” is said to have received more fan mail than many presidents. FDR also had a Bullmastiff named “Blaze”, two Irish Setters named “Jack” and “Jill”, a Bulldog named “Pal”, an English Setter named “Winks”, another Scottish Terrier named “Meggie”, a German Shepherd named “Major” and a Great Dane named “President”, which confused things at the White House.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt with Fala the Scottish Terrier

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower owned two Scottish Terriers named Caacie and Telek, and a Weimaraner named Heidi.

Dwight D. Eisenhower with Weimaraner

John F Kennedy

John F Kennedy owned a Welsh Terrier named Charlie, an aptly named Irish Wolfhound, a German Shepherd named Clipper, and a cocker spaniel named Shannon. Jacqueline Kennedy had a standard poodle named Gaullie. The family also owned Pushinka, a mixed-breed dog that was a gift from Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon owned a Cocker Spaniel named Checkers, a Yorkshire Terrier named Pasha, a Poodle named Vicky and an Irish Setter named King Timahoe.

Richard Nixon's Dogs at the White House

Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford owned a Golden Retriever named Liberty and her puppy, Misty.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan owned a Bouvier des Flandres named Lucky, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Rex. He also had four other dogs that lived on his ranch. — a Golden Retriever, an Irish Setter, a Belgian Shepherd Dog and a Siberian Husky.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

george bush

george bush owned an English Springer Spaniel named Millie, who is the author of a dog biography called “Millie’s Book”, and Ranger, one of Millie’s puppies.

George Bush with Millie the English Springer Spaniel and her puppies

bill clinton

bill clinton owned a Labrador Retrievers named buddy.

Bill Clinton with Labrador Retriever

George W. Bush

George W. Bush owned an English Springer Spaniel named Spot (daughter of Millie) and two Scottish Terriers named Miss Beazley and Barney.

Laura and George W. Bush with Scottish Terrier

barack obama

barack obama welcomed two Portuguese Water Dogs, Bo and Sunny, into his family after his inauguration.

Bo and Sunny, the Portuguese water dogs of the Obama family

Joe Biden

Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, restored the tradition of presidential pets at the White House on January 20, 2021 with their two German Shepherds: Champ, 12, and Major, 2. Joe Biden promised Jill that he would have a dog after the 2008 election if Barack Obama won. Jill Biden then attached pictures of different dogs to the seats of Biden’s campaign plane for him to see. He acquired the pup from a breeder in Pennsylvania, and he was named Champ (born October 2008) by his granddaughters. Major (born January 2018) is the first rescue dog to reside at the White House. Champ passed away peacefully at the age of 13 in June 2021.

Thanks to the Library of Congress and White House websites for many of these wonderful photographs.

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