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POTUS (Presidents of the United States) and Their Pets

President Obama with First Pet of the United States, Bo.
President Obama and First Dog of the United States, Bo, in the oval office.

socks-white-house-petIf I were to ask you to identify one common trend with all the Presidents of the United States, right from George Washington to Barack Obama, I am quite sure that you would struggle a fair deal. You may rack your brains towards finding out the educational backgrounds that most Presidents had or the states where they were born and brought up in or the professions that they were in before they chose a political career or even policies that they rang in; I am certain that all that effort will not be good enough. But I will still tell you that there is one common factor which the Presidents of the United States have in common and that is the fact that most of them have had pets!

A quick look at the pets that have lived at the White House will tell you that almost all of the US Presidents so far in history have brought in pets to live with them. Animals ranging from parrots to alligators have graced the White House with their presence. Yes, that’s right! Throw in horses, bears, silkworms, tiger cubs, cows and turkeys as well. I am sure you’re thinking what happened to ‘routine’ pets such as dogs and cats. Well, they are there too. Here is a lowdown of some of the most popular US Presidential pets to give you an idea of what I am saying.

President Barack Obama, 2009-present (bio)

Bo, Portuguese water dog
Sunny, also a Portuguese water dog

President Obama plays with his dog, Bo, aboard Air Force One.

President Barack Obama plays with Bo, the Obama family dog, aboard Air Force One during a flight to Hawaii, Dec. 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President George W. Bush, 2001-2009 (bio)

Miss Beazley, Scottish terrier
Spot, English springer spaniel, offspring of Millie
Barney, Scottish terrier
India “Willie,” cat
Ofelia, longhorn cow at ranch

George W. Bush with his Scottish Terrier Barney, who was once a resident of the White House.

George W. Bush pictured with his Scottish Terrier Barney, who recently passed away.

President Bill Clinton, 1993-2001 (bio)

Socks, cat
Buddy, Labrador retriever

Socks, the cat of former president Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton’s cat Socks, who was so famous he would be swarmed by the paparazzi. Socks even had a book written about him.

President George H.W. Bush, 1989-1993 (bio)

Millie, English springer spaniel
Ranger, one of Millie’s puppies

George Bush senior with his first pet of the United States, Millie.

George H.W. Bush out for a stroll with his English springer spaniel, Millie.

President Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989 (bio)

Lucky, Bouvier des Flandres
Rex, Cavalier King Charles spaniel
Victory, golden retriever
Peggy, Irish setter
Taca, Siberian husky
Fuzzy, Belgian sheepdog
Horses at ranch

Ronald Reagan had numerous dogs. Pictured is his Bouvier des Flandres, Lucky.

Ronald Reagan pictured with his Bouvier des Flandres, Lucky, taking a trip on Air Force One.

President Jimmy Carter, 1977-1981 (bio)

Grits, border collie
Lewis Brown, Afghan hound
Misty Malarky Ying Yang, Siamese cat

Jimmy Carter was an animal lover as well. Here he is pictured with his border collie, Grits.

Jimmy Carter pictured above with his border collie, former First Dog of the United States,Grits.

President Gerald Ford, 1974-1977 (bio)

Liberty, golden retriever
Misty, one of Liberty’s puppies
Lucky, dog
Shan, Siamese cat

Gerald Ford with his dog Liberty during just another day in the oval office.

Gerald Ford in the oval office with his aptly named Golden Retriever, Liberty. A perfect name for a very American dog.

President Richard Nixon, 1969-1974 (bio)

Checkers, Nixon’s dog while vice president
Vicky, poodle
Pasha, terrier
King Timahoe, Irish setter

Richard Nixon and Checkers, his cocker spaniel while he was vice president of the United States.

Richard Nixon with his cocker spaniel Checkers, one of the most famous dogs to ever grace the White House.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1969 (bio)

Him and Her, beagles
Edgar and Freckles, beagles
Blanco, collie
Yuki, mixed-breed dog

Lyndon B. Johnson with his beagles Him and Her.

Lyndon B. Johnson pictured on the White House lawn with his beagles, Him and Her.

President John F. Kennedy, 1961-1963 (bio)

John and Jackie Kennedy had an adorable black cat they affectionately referred to as "Tom Kitten."

Jackie Kennedy pictured with the First Cat of the United States, Tom Kitten.

Charlie, Welsh terrier
Gaullie, French poodle
Pushinka, mixed-breed dog (gift from Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev)
Shannon, cocker spaniel
Wolf, Irish wolfhound
Clipper, German shepherd
Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie, Streaker — Pushinka and Charlie’s puppies
Tom Kitten, cat
Robin, canary
Bluebell and Marybelle, parakeets
Macaroni, Caroline Kennedy’s pony
Tex and Leprechaun, ponies
Debbie and Billie, hamsters
Zsa Zsa, rabbit
Sardar, horse

John F. Kennedy was a major animal lover, among his numerous dogs, he also had several horses. Here he is with his pony Tex.

John F. Kennedy seen in this photo with one of the many ponies he had, Tex.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1961 (bio)

Heidi, Weimaraner

President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a dog lover. Here he is pictured in the White House with his Weimaraner Heidi.

Dwight D. Eisenhower pictured in the white house with his beloved Weimaraner, Heidi.

Other Notable Presidential Pets:

  • Franklin Roosevelt loved his dog, Fala so much that it is even depicted alongside his memorial in Washington DC.
  • George Washington bred and maintained more than 30 hounds during his tenure.
  • Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt are known to have had a ‘zoo’ of pets.
  • John Adams had the most unusual pets in an alligator and silkworms.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt with his Scottish Terrier Fala. Fala, at the time, was possibly the most famous dog in the world.

Franklin D. Roosevelt loved his Scottish Terrier, Fala, so much that he is immortalized sitting next to him at his memorial.

Now what is with this Presidents’ love for pets? Why do all Presidents love animals so much? Well, the answer is quite simple, really! Apart from their natural love for animals and keeping with the tradition of ‘First Pets’, as pets of Presidents are commonly called, the most important reason is that showing love for pets sends out a strong message to the masses. People who love pets are seen as kind, thoughtful and loving.

The US President is a role model for billions and through his own acts of love for animals promotes animal welfare and pet adoption all over the world. That’s it! When he/she shows  kindness to their pet, the whole world is watching.

What About the New President of the United States?

What do you think? Which pet will live in the White House next year? Be sure and leave us a comment below. We want to hear from you. Like reading about famous pets? Click here to check out these NFL players who love their pets!



  1. Pingback: These NFL Players Love Their Pets – I Love Pet Stories

  2. Jasmine | About Pet Rats

    November 6, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    What a fun post! I didn’t know George Washington bred dogs. Not mentioned in detail above, other than saying he had a “zoo”, I love that Theodore had a pet rat named Jonathan. I love the photo of First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, pictured with First Cat, Tom Kitten.

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