Presidential Dogs aka First Dogs

The New York Times recently published an article stating that Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin and likely 2016 Presidential candidate, was allergic to dogs.

Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with “worry,” perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own. But he is allergic to dog dander, an aide confirmed.

And in that, he is running against the long sweep of United States political history.

I promise you, this is not being posted to present any kind of political statement. It will simply give me a reason to post a long list of American Presidents who included dogs in their immediate family. All presidents, starting with the first President, George Washington, are included. Here is just a partial list of Presidential Dogs:

  1. George Washington – During his lifetime, according to, President Washington had almost every group of dog currently recognized by the AKC, including:
    • A Dalmatian named Madame Moose, used as his coach dog
    • French hounds named Tipsy, Mopsey, Truelove, and Ragman
    • Other Hounds named Drunkard, Taster, Cloe, Tipler, Forester, Captain, Lady Rover, Vulcan, Sweetlips, and Searcher
    • Greyhounds, Newfoundlands, Briards, and various types of spaniels, terriers, and toys
  2. John Adams – The first official white house pets (George Washington never lived in the White House) were mixed-breed dogs, Juno, Mark, and Satan
  3. Thomas Jefferson – President Jefferson had at least two Briards as presidential dogs, one of which was named Buzzy
  4. James Madison – No evidence James Madison had a presidential dog, only a parrot and some sheep
  5. James Monroe – President Monroe owned several dogs while in the white house, including a Spaniel named Buddy and a Siberian Husky called Sebastian
  6. John Quincy Adams – John Quincy evidently did not have any dogs, preferring to keep a pet alligator in the white house bath tub!
  7. Andrew Jackson – No dogs to be found, seems he kept mostly horses and ponies
  8. Martin Van Buren – Could not find any dogs here either, though he did keep two tigers for a short time, only to have Congress force him to send them to the zoo
  9. William Henry Harrison – No dogs here. Goats and a cow were all I could find.
  10. John Tyler – Finally some dogs come to the white house again! John Tyler had both an Italian greyhound named Le Beau and two wolfhounds whose names I could not find
  11. James K. Polk – No dogs, no pets!
  12. Zachary Taylor – Horses only
  13. Millard Fillmore – And ponies
  14. Franklin Pierce – Franklin had seven oriental dogs (unknown breed)
  15. James Buchanan – President Buchanan had two dogs, a toy terrier named Punch and a Newfoundland named Lara
  16. Abraham Lincoln – Though not officially a white house dog, since he was left in Springfield, Illinois while President Lincoln served, Fido was a yellow mixed-breed dog.
  17. Andrew Johnson – No dogs, just white mice found at the white house
  18. Ulysses S. Grant – President Grant’s youngest son had a Newfoundland named Faithful. President Grant told his staff “If this dog dies, every employee in the White House will be at once discharged.”
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes – Another great lover of dogs, President Hayes family included:
    • A Newfoundland dog named Hector
    • An English mastiff mix named Duke
    • A Greyhound named Grim
    • A Miniature Schnauzer named Otis
    • A Cocker Spaniel named Dog
    • Other non-specified dogs named Juno, Shep, and Jet
  20. James Garfield – President Garfield had a Newfoundland (Seems like we have a theme going!) named Veto as his Presidential dog
  21. Chester A. Arthur – Another horse man, no dogs
  22. Grover Cleveland – Other than Hector, a Japanese Poodle that was actually President Cleveland’s wife, Francis charge, the names of all the dogs in this white house are lost, though it is known that there were 3 Dachshunds, a Cocker Spaniel, a Collie, a St. Bernard, and several foxhounds.
  23. Benjamin Harrison – Several presidential dogs, including a Collie named Dash
  24. William McKinley – No dogs in the McKinley white house, but kittens, roosters and a Mexican Parrot
  25. Theodore Roosevelt – President Roosevelt had many pets, with many dogs in his white house, including:
    • A Manchester Terrier called Blackjack
    • Two Terriers named Jack and Peter
    • A Pekingese named Manchu
    • A Bull Terrier called Pete
    • A Saint Bernard named Rollo
    • A Rat Terrier mix with the name of Skip
    • A Chesapeake Bay Retriever called Sailor Boy
    • Two other unspecified dogs named Susan and Gem
  26. William Howard Taft – President Taft had two dogs, an unnamed Collie mix and a small white dog named Caruso, which had been given to his daughter by Enrico Caruso
  27. Woodrow Wilson – President Wilson had three dogs, and Airedale named Davie, a Greyhound named Mountain Boy, and a Bull Terrier called Bruce
  28. Warren G. Harding – This white house had two first dogs, an Airedale named Laddie Boy and a Bulldog called Old Boy
  29. Calvin Coolidge – Another President with a virtual zoo at the white house, the Coolidge family included the following dogs:
    • Two White Collies named Rob Roy and Prudence Prim
    • A Terrier called Peter Pan
    • An Airedale named Paul Pry
    • Calamity Jane, a Shetland Sheepdog
    • Tiny Tim and Blackberry, both Chow Chows
    • A Collie called Boston Beans, and another one called Bessie
    • A German Shepherd named King Cole
    • Palo Alto, a bird dog
  30. Herbert Hoover – Herbert Hoover also had a great deal of dogs in his white house family:
    • Belgian Shepherd (King Tut)
    • German Shepherd (Pat)
    • 2 Fox Terriers (Big Ben and Sonnie)
    • Norwegian Elkhound (Weejie)
    • Irish Wolfhound (Patrick)
    • Setter (Eaglehurst Gillette)
    • Eskimo Dog (Yukonan)
    • Scotch Collie (Glen)
  31. Franklin Delano Roosevelt – 7 dogs shared the white house with FDR in his 12 years:
    • 2 Scottish Terriers, Fala and Meggie
    • A Bullmastiff called Blaze
    • A Great Dane named President
    • A German Shepherd who was called Major
    • An Old English Sheepdog called Tiny
    • A Llewellyn Setter named Winks
  32. Harry S. Truman – Unlike his immediate predecessors, President Truman limited himself to two presidential dogs, a Cocker Spaniel called Feller and an Irish Setter called Mike
  33. Dwight D. Eisenhower – Just one dog for President Ike, a Weimaraner named Heidi
  34. John F. Kennedy – President Kennedy continued the tradition of many dogs and other animals in the white house, with a total of 10 dogs:
    • A Poodle named Gaullie
    • A Welsh Terrier called Charlie
    • An Irish Cocker Spaniel named Shannon
    • A German Shepherd called Clipper
    • A mixed breed, Pushinka, who was a puppy from Strelka, the Soviet space dog, and was given to the Kennedys by Nikita Khrushchev
    • Another mixed breed called Wolf
    • 4 puppies from Pushinka and Charlie, named Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie, and Streaker
  35. Lyndon B. Johnson – President Johnson had 4 Beagles, the most famous of which were Him and Her, but also Freckles and Edgar. He also had a white Collie called Blanco and a mixed breed called Yuki
  36. Richard Nixon – President Nixon had three dogs while President: Vicki, a Poodle, Pasha, a Terrier, and King Timahoe, and Irish Setter. Checkers, the Cocker Spaniel made famous in one of Nixon’s speeches earlier, had already passed before Richard Nixon became President
  37. Gerald Ford – President Ford had three dogs while President: a Golden Retriever called Liberty, a mixed breed dog called Lucky, and Liberty’s puppy, Misty
  38. Jimmy Carter – The Carter’s had two dogs, though one (a Border Collie called Grits) was quickly returned to the teacher who had given the dog to Amy. They also had an Afghan Hound called Lewis Brown
  39. Ronald Reagan – The Reagan family brought a total of 6 dogs into the white house:
    • A Bouvier des Flandres by the name of Lucky
    • A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Rex
    • A Belgian Sheepdog named Fuzzy
    • An Irish Setter called Peggy
    • A Golden Retriever named Victory
    • A Siberian Husky called Taca
  40. George H.W. Bush – Millie, a Springer Spaniel, and Ranger, one of her puppies, were part of the Bush Sr. Presidential house
  41. Bill Clinton – The Clinton white house had one dog, a chocolate Labrador Retriever named Buddy
  42. George W. Bush – Bush Jr. brought one of Millie’s offspring, Spot “Spotty” with him to the white house, as well as two Scottish Terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley
  43. Barack Obama – President Obama promised his children a puppy, and so brought a Portuguese Water Dog named Bo to the white house. In 2012, Sunny, another Portuguese Water Dog, was welcomed to the family.
Presidential Dog: King Tut with Herbert Hoover

Presidential Dog: King Tut with Herbert Hoover

So there you have it! While the first part of America’s history seemed to favor horses at the white house, every president from Teddy Roosevelt until today has had at least one Presidential dog. As far as Scott Walkers allergy to dog dander, perhaps he can do as the Obamas did, select a dog that does not shed as much. Apparently there are allergies in the Obama family as well.

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