27 of the Most Famous Presidential Pets Since 1900s

27 of the Most Famous Presidential Pets Since 1900s

Americans have often been fascinated with the families taking up residence at the White House. Oftentimes — at least since President Theodore Roosevelt, a famous animal lover, and with the emergence of photographs in newspapers — presidential pets have been under the same scrutiny as their distinguished masters.

President Joe Biden’s two German shepherds made the news even before Biden’s inauguration because one of them, Major, was set to be the first shelter dog at the White House. The dogs received a lot of attention also because they were to be the first pets at the White House in four years. President Donald Trump was the first president to have not had a dog since President William McKinley in 1897.

24/7 Tempo reviewed several sources on presidential history, including the White House Historical Association, presidential libraries, and museums of the National Archives to compile a list of 27 of the most famous pets who lived in the White House.

Most presidential pets since the 1900s were dogs. Before Theodore Roosevelt, many presidents and their families owned horses, birds, goats, and the occasional rabbit. Three alligators were also residents at the Executive Mansion during John Q. Adams and Benjamin Harrison’s administrations.

One of the most famous presidential dogs belonged to President Abraham Lincoln. The dog’s name was Fido. Fido was so famous, his name became a generic term for a dog. Here are the most famous dogs of all time.

Source: smu_cul_digitalcollections / Flickr

> Breed: Black and tan mongrel terrier
> Owner: President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)

No American president had more animals than Theodore Roosevelt, who was known to be an animal lover. The White House during his term was comparable to a zoo. There were horses, snakes, a rabbit, several kinds of rodents, birds, cats, and dogs. One of the dogs who lived in the White House was Skip. The dog was a short-legged black and tan mongrel terrier that Roosevelt had brought to the White House from a bear hunt in Colorado.

Source: FPG / Archive Photos via Getty Images

> Breed: Airedale terrier
> Owner: President Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)

Laddie, an Airedale terrier, was the White House’s first celebrity dog, according to a 2009 Smithsonian Magazine article. Owned by President Harding and his wife, Florence, Laddie even had an official portrait of his own. Laddie was present in many daily events at the White House, including greeting official delegations and cabinet meetings.

Source: Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Rob Roy
> Breed: White collie
> Owner: President Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)

The Coolidge family had many pets, including cats, birds, and dogs. First lady Grace Coolidge was particularly fond of collies. She often included their two white collies Rob Roy and Prudence Prim in White House official photos. Rob Roy is the one painted next to the first lady in the 1924 White House watercolor portrait.

Source: Library of Congress / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Prudence Prim
> Breed: White collie
> Owner: President Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)

Prudence Prim, the second white collie in the White House during Coolidge’s term, came to live with the Coolidges in 1925. She was the first lady’s favorite pet and even slept by her bed at night. Coolidge wrote in his autobiography that the two white collies were his favorite dogs. Prudence Prim ate from his cereal every morning.

Source: Library of Congress / Archive Photos via Getty Images

King Tut
> Breed: Belgian Malinois
> Owner: President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)

King Tut was a Belgian shepherd and a police dog that President Hoover had had since before taking office. Hoover’s favorite dog, King Tut was credited with fixing the public image of the president, who was perceived as cold and uncaring during the presidential campaign, according to the White House Historical Association.

Source: Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

> Breed: Scottish terrier
> Owner: President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)

Fala was originally named Big Boy. Given to the president as a Christmas gift by his cousin Margaret, the Scottish terrier was renamed by Roosevelt to Murray the Outlaw of Falahill after a Scottish ancestor, or Fala in short. He accompanied the president on many trips, and slept next to his bed.

Source: Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston via JFKlibrary.org

> Breed: Mixed-breed
> Owner: President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)

Pushinka, which means “fluffy” in Russian, was a gift from Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev to the Kennedy family. Pushinka’s mother was Strelka, the famous first dog in space who was flown into orbit in 1960. Pushinka and Charlie, the Kennedys’ Welsh terrier, had four puppies together.

Source: John F. Kennedy Library / Archive Photos via Getty Images

> Breed: Welsh terrier
> Owner: President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)

The Welsh Terrier, who was a gift to John F. Kennedy from his wife, Jackie, during the presidential campaign, moved into the White House with the Kennedy family. Charlie was the president’s favorite and even swam in the pool with him. Charlie — and later the family’s other dogs — was an integral part of family events and outings.

Source: Hulton Archive / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Him and Her
> Breed: Beagles
> Owner: President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)

Beagles Him and Her were the most famous dogs owned by LBJ, who was very often pictured with the pets. Perhaps the most famous interaction between the dogs and the president was him playfully lifting Him by the ears. LBJ was fiercely criticized by animal lovers for his actions, even though he did not lift the dog from the ground.

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

> Breed: Mixed
> Owner: President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)

Yuki, which means “snow” in Japanese, was an abandoned stray who LBJ’s daughter, Luci, found at a Texas gas station on Thanksgiving Day in 1966 and gifted her father for his birthday. The president and Yuki, his favorite dog, were known for singing together. The two were said to have been inseparable.

Source: Pictorial Parade / Archive Photos via Getty Images

King Timahoe
> Breed: Irish setter
> Owner: President Richard Nixon (1969-1974)

Nixon had a dog named Checker who did not live at the White House. The dog, who was later named King Timahoe after a hamlet in Ireland where Nixon’s ancestors were from, was a gift from White House staff in 1969.

Source: Bettmann / Bettmann via Getty Images

> Breed: Yorkie
> Owner: Tricia Nixon

Pasha was a Yorkshire terrier who belonged to one of Nixon’s daughters, Tricia. Pasha spent most of her time with Tricia, though she was photographed with Nixon on several occasions. Pash and King Timahoe were often playing together at the White House.

Source: Bob Gomel / Sygma via Getty Images

> Breed: Poodle
> Owner: Julie Nixon

Vicki was a gray miniature poodle that belonged to Nixon’s other daughter, Julie. Though Vicki was technically Julie’s dog, the poodle seemed particularly attached to the president and was often seen lying close to him.

Source: Pictorial Parade / Archive Photos via Getty Images

> Breed: Golden retriever
> Owner: President Gerald Ford (1974-1977)

Liberty was a golden retriever gifted to the president by a friend of White House official photographer David Kennerly and the president’s daughter Susan. Liberty was frequently photographed with Ford in the Oval Office. Liberty gave birth to nine puppies at the White House.

Source: Image: A1206-12A, Courtesy: Gerald R. Ford Library / Wikimedia Commons

> Breed: Siamese cat
> Owner: Susan Ford

Shan was a miniature seal point Siamese cat that already lived with the Ford family when they moved into the White House. Shan, which technically was first daughter Susan Ford’s cat, would often hide under the bed in the Lincoln room, mostly trying to avoid the Ford family’s golden retriever Liberty.

Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

> Breed: Springer spaniel
> Owner: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)

Grits was born on the same day Jimmy Carter was elected president. The springer spaniel was named Grits in honor of the Carter family’s Southern roots. The dog, who was a present from the first daughter’s teacher at school, was returned to his original owner because the Carter’s family cat did not get along with him.

Source: usembassyjakarta / Flickr

Misty Malarky Ying Yang
> Breed: Siamese cat
> Owner: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)

Carter’s daughter, Amy, had a Siamese cat named Misty Malarky Ying Yang. Misty, who was in fact a male cat, roamed the White House, but spent most of her time with Amy and was camera-shy.

Source: Pictorial Parade / Archive Photos via Getty Images

> Breed: King Charles spaniel
> Owner: President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)

The most famous White House pet during Reagan’s stay was a cavalier King Charles spaniel named Rex. Rex was a Christmas gift from the president to first lady Nancy Reagan. Rex, reportedly, did not like the Lincoln room, which had long been rumored to be haunted and used to bark outside the doorway.

Source: usembassyjakarta / Flickr

> Breed: Springer spaniel
> Owner: President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)

Springer spaniel Millie had several puppies while residing at the White House, one of whom would later live there as President George W. Bush’s dog. First lady Barbara Bush went on to dictate “Millie’s Book,” a New York Times best-seller, chronicling a typical day with the dog and the president.

Source: usnationalarchives / Flickr

> Breed: Labrador
> Owner: President Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

The Clinton family had cats before the chocolate-colored Labrador retriever named Buddy came to live with them in the White House in 1997. When the puppy arrived at the White House, the president’s spokesperson Mike McCurry told reporters that Clinton got the dog because “It’s the president’s desire to have one loyal friend in Washington.” Buddy accompanied the president almost everywhere at the White House and on trips to Camp David.

Source: usnationalarchives / Flickr

> Breed: Domestic short-haired cat
> Owner: President Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

Socks was the pet cat of Bill Clinton and his family while he was in the White House. A domestic short-haired cat, Socks was adopted by Chelsea Clinton while her father was governor of Arkansas. Socks was the subject of an episode on the popular TV comedy “Murphy Brown,” in which the star of the show unintentionally kidnaps the cat from the White House.

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

> Breed: Scottish terrier
> Owner: President George W. Bush (2001-2009)

Barney became famous in 2002 when the Scottish terrier wandered through the White House with a small video camera attached to his collar and recorded the dog’s eye view of the White House Christmas decorations. The video was so popular it became an annual Christmas tradition while Bush was in office.

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Miss Beazley
> Breed: Scottish terrier
> Owner: President George W. Bush (2001-2009)

Miss Beazley was a birthday gift from the president to first lady Laura Bush in 2005. She named the dog after a character from a children’s book by Oliver Butterworth, “The Enormous Egg.” The two Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, were best friends and were almost always seen together. Miss Beazley, too, was a video sensation and starred in the White House Christmas video “A Very Beazley Christmas.”

Source: obamawhitehouse / Flickr

> Breed: Portuguese water dog
> Owner: President Barack Obama (2009-2017)

Bo, a male Portuguese water dog, came to the White House in April 2009 as a gift for President Obama’s two daughters from Sen. Ted Kennedy and his wife, Vicki.

Source: Pool / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

> Breed: Portuguese water dog
> Owner: President Barack Obama (2009-2017)

Sunny joined the first family in 2013. Together with Bo, the two Portuguese water dogs were often seen around the White House. They often greeted visitors at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. The dogs even sported fancy collars and bows for a 2014 State Dinner for French President François Hollande.

Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Major and Champ
> Breed: German shepherds
> Owner: President Joe Biden (2021- )

The Bidens’ two German shepherds joined them in the White House a few days after the inauguration. Champ has been part of the family since 2008. Major was adopted in 2018. He is the first presidential dog who had previously been in a shelter.

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