Presidents Day, the First Dogs
Welcome to the February 2007 issue of Pet Lovers Tips and Trends
"If you want a friend in Washington," Harry Truman once said, "get a dog." Indeed, from George Washington, who bred foxhounds, to George Bush, whose Springer Spaniel, named Millie’s book outsold even his own autobiography, our countries leaders have found great friendship and solace in there “first dogs”. The story of these Presidential companions has been told in a book titled First Dogs, by Roy Rowan and Brooke Janis. The cast of characters includes every breed from wolfhounds to beagles, Airedales to poodles, plus a generous helping of affectionate mutts.
Of course, there has been a downside — a spot of urine on the White House carpet, the occasional nip at a diplomat's trousers, and the tendency of Jefferson's Briards to dine on his sheep — but on the whole, dogs have burnished the image of the Presidency, suggesting that the incumbent, who holds such awesome power, is just a regular guy at heart.
An astounding 25 of our 42 Presidents have owned Dogs as their pets while occupying the White House. Our interest in the Presidents dogs is not surprising - 1 in every 3 Americans own dogs and are often interested in the pets belonging to the first family. The details of the Presidents dogs, their breeds, some anecdotes and their names follow in chronological order.
1789 - 1797 George Washington
Our first President George Washington owned 10 Hounds named Mopsey, Taster, Cloe, Tipler, Forester, Captain, Lady Rover, Vulcan, Sweetlips and Searcher
1801 - 1809 Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson owned a sheep dog and is the President who first instituted the dog license. He actually hung a dog for attacking his sheep.
1817 - 1825 James Monroe
James Monroe had his beloved Spaniel
1861 - 1865 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln owned at least 2 dogs they were named Fido and Jip. Fido, suffered a violent death much like his master. He was knifed to death in the street by a drunken man who became angry when the dog jumped on him with muddy paws.
1869 - 1877 Ulysses S Grant
Ulysses S. Grant brought a Newfoundland dog called Faithful into the White House. Faithful belonged to Jesse Grant, who was the son of President Grant.
1877 - 1881 Rutherford Hayes
Rutherford Hayes owned an English Mastiff named Duke, two German Shepherd dogs who he called Hector and Nellie and a Greyhound named Grim.
1885 - 1889 Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland was said to have owned a Poodle.
1889 - 1893 Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison owned a dog of an unknown breed named Dash
1901 - 1909 Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt owned a Pitbull Terrier named (Pete), a Chesapeake Retriever named (Sailor Boy), a Terrier named (Jack), a mongrel named (Skip) and a Spaniel named Manchu. Teddy Roosevelt’s bull terrier, Pete, almost caused an international scandal when he tore off the French ambassador’s trousers during a White House get together.
1921 - 1923 Warren Harding
Warren Harding owned an Airedale named Laddie Boy and a Bulldog named Oh Boy. Laddie Boy enjoyed his own chair to sit on at presidential cabinet meetings.
1923 - 1929 Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge owned at least 12 dogs:
Terrier named (Peter Pan)
Airedale named (Laddie Buck/Paul Pry)
2 White Collies named (Oshkosh/Rob Roy and Prudence Primm)
Shetland Sheepdog named (Calamity Jane)
2 Chows named (Tiny Tim and Blackberry)
Brown Collie named (Ruby Rough)
Yellow Collie named (Bessie)
Bulldog named (Boston Beans)
Police Dog named (King Kole)
Bird Dog named (Palo Alto),
1929 - 1933 Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover owned at least 9 dogs
2 Police Dogs named (King Tut and Pat)
2 Fox Terriers named (Big Ben and Sonnie)
Scotch Collie named (Glen)
Eskimo Dog named (Yukon)
Wolfhound named (Patrick)
Setter named (Eaglehurst Gillette)
Elkhound named (Weejie)
1933 - 1945 Franklin D Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt owned at least 7 dogs:
German Shepherd named (Major)
2 Scotch Terriers named (Meggie and Fala)
Llewellyn Setter named (Winks)
English Sheepdog named (Tiny)
Great Dane named (President)
Mastiff named (Blaze)
Fala was given to the President by his cousin, Margaret Suckley. Fala was the star of an MGM Hollywood movie about the typical day of a dog in the White House. Fala also became an honorary private in the army. He received this honor by contributing one dollar to the war effort setting a trend for the rest of the US to follow. Fala is also depicted in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Meggie, the other Terrier, was infamous for biting a senator! Manchu was owned by Alice Roosevelt and was a small black Pekingese which she received as a gift from the last Empress of China.
1945 - 1953 Harry S Truman
Harry S. Truman owned a mixed breed or mutt named Feller and an Irish Setter named Mike. President Harry S. Truman is attributed with the following two quotes:
"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."
"Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads."
1953 - 1961 Dwight D Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner he called Heidi.
1961 - 1963 John F Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy owned the following dogs:
Welsh Terrier – named Charlie and Pushinka
German Shepherd - named Clipper
Irish Cocker Spaniel - named Shannon
Irish Wolfhound - named Wolf
Terrier - named White Tips, Blackie and Streaker
John F. Kennedy was the first president to request that his dogs come out to meet the presidential helicopter when the president arrived at the White House.
Soviet Premier Kruschev gave him a dog named Pushinka who was the offspring of the Russian space dog Strelka. Pushinka had 4 puppies of her own who JFK called “pupniks”! Pushinka often made the President laugh by climbing up a ladder to Caroline's tree house. The Prime Minister of Ireland gave JFK the Irish cocker spaniel, Shannon.
1963 - 1969 Lyndon B Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson owned 7 dogs:
Mongrel - named (Yuki)
5 Beagles - named Beagle, Little Beagle, Him and Her and J. Edgar
White Collie - named (Blanco)
As president he received as a gift the white collie, Blanco. It was said he always shook hands with his dog whenever he left or returned to the White House
His favorite dog, the beagle called Him, was sadly run over and killed on the White House grounds. Edgar Hoover soon gave him a dog to replace Him which he named J. Edgar. His mongrel dog, Yuki, was famous for disgracing everyone present in the oval office including the Shah of Iran. His next escapade occurred when he bit a White House police officer in the groin. Despite these indiscretions Yuki was honored by his picture appearing on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
1969 - 1974 Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon owned 4 dogs
Spaniel named (Checkers)
Irish Setter named (King Timahoe)
Terrier named (Pasha)
Poodle named (Vicky)
When he entered the White House a member of his staff gave him the Irish setter as a present, he chose the name King Timahoe, which he named for the little village in Ireland where his mother’s ancestors came from. Richard Nixon.
1974 - 1977 Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford owned a Golden Retriever named Liberty who gave birth to nine puppies at the White House.
1977 - 1981 Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter gave a dog as a gift to his daughter Amy. The dog was a mutt who was named Grits.
1981 - 1989 Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan owned two dogs, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Rex and a Bouvier des Flandres named Lucky. The President was photographed being dragged across the White House lawn by Lucky in the presence of Margaret Thatcher. A very undignified image for the President of the USA. Lucky was sent to live in California leaving Rex by himself, the little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the White House.
1989 - 1993 George H W Bush
George H W Bush owned a Springer Spaniel named Millie and her puppy named Ranger. "Millie", the Springer Spaniel, was the subject of a book which has sold more copies than the autobiography of George Bush himself.
1993 - 2001 President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton owned a chocolate Labrador named Buddy
The TV cameras once caught him relieving himself on the carpet! Buddy was barely in the White House a month before Newsweek proclaimed, “At last, a friend who can’t testify against him.”
2000 - 2008 President George W Bush
President George W Bush's dogs include a Scottish terrier named Barney and an English Springer spaniel called Spot. Spot was named after Scott Fletcher, a former Texas Rangers baseball player. President Bush's dog Spot has the distinction of being the only dog to live in the White House during two administrations. Spot was born to Millie, George H.W. Bush's dog, when George H.W. Bush was President. Spot was given to his son George W. Bush who returned the Terrier to the White House for his term in office.
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