Today is Presidents’ Day in the U.S., and we think the White House pets deserve some attention, too! Here are some fun facts about pets owned by U.S. presidents:
George Washington #1 owned many horses and hounds, including some coonhounds named “Drunkard”, “Taster”, “Tipler”, and “Tipsy”. I think maybe George liked his wine…
Mrs. Martha Washington had a parrot named “Snipe”.
John Quincy Adams #6 had an ALLIGATOR, and Mrs. Louisa Adams owned silkworms and spun their silk!
Abraham Lincoln #16 owned several dogs, goats, and a turkey! He also had two cats, “Tabby” and “Dixie”, and he once stated that Dixie is “smarter than my whole cabinet”!
Rutherford B. Hayes #19 owned MANY pets, including the first Siamese cat in the United States.
James A. Garfield #20 had a dog named “Veto”!
Theodore Roosevelt #26 had several dogs, cats, and horses, as well as a lizard, “Bill”, and a macaw, “Eli Yale”. His daughter Alice had a garter snake, “Emily Spinach”, named because “it was as green as spinach and as thin as my Aunt Emily”. Below is his son, Archie, riding his pony “Algonquin”.
Franklin D. Roosevelt #32 owned a number of dogs, including a German Shepherd, “Major”, who was a retired New York State Police dog. He bit several people at the White House, and from that point forward lived at Roosevelt’s private home in Hyde Park.
John F. Kennedy #35 owned dogs, ponies, and birds, and his daughter Caroline had a cat named “Tom Kitten”, and raised ducks.
Jimmy Carter’s #39 daughter, Amy, was gifted a Border collie mix pup, “Grits”, by her school teacher, because the puppy was born on the day her father was elected. However, the dog snapped at several White House visitors, ruined a photo op for Heartworm Awareness Week (he wouldn’t take the pill!), and picked on Amy’s cat “Misty Malarky Ying Yang”, so “Grits” was returned to the previous owner.
Ronald Reagan #40 had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named “Rex”, and his beloved horse, “El Alamein”.
George H.W. Bush #41 and his wife, Barbara, had Millie, a Springer Spaniel who gave birth to 6 puppies while in the White House!
Bill Clinton’s #42 daughter, Chelsea, had a cat, “Socks”, who did not get along with the President’s dog, “Buddy”. According to Pres. Clinton, ” “I did better with the Palestinians and the Israelis than I’ve done with Socks and Buddy.”
Barack Obama #44 had two Portuguese Water Dogs, named “Bo” and “Sunny”.
Joe Biden’s #46 German Shepherd, “Major”, had to move to his private residence after several White House biting incidents. He now has “Commander”, another German Shepherd, who is reportedly much more well-behaved!
Only two presidents had no pets: James Polk #11 and Donald Trump #45. Andrew Johnson #17 had no official pets, but reportedly took care of some mice he found in his bedroom!