Dogs are man’s best friend, and presidents are no exception. They might be running the country, but they are still just humans, and love toward animals, doesn’t change with higher function.
Running a country is rewarding, but the yet stressful role and even presidents need some enjoyment and stress reliever to help them cope with everyday decisions.
And is there a better way to relax than to have a dog jumping on your lap? Check 23 most popular presidents who were real dog lovers.
23. George Washington
George Washington loved to ride and hunt, so he went often fox hunting. Of course, he never went hunting without his dogs. Washington was also a huge fan of foxhounds.
Did you know that Washington had 12 hounds?
He loved hounds so much that he wanted to breed a new American hunting dog. Interestingly, he did it. The American foxhound is Washington’s creation, or as he would put it ‘a perfect foxhound’.
George Washington’s Dogs:
Drunkard, Mopsey, Taster, Cloe, Tipsy, Tipler, Forester, Captain, Lady Rover, Vulcan, Sweet Lips, and Searcher, all hounds.
22. Franklin Pierce
During the presidency of Franklin Pierce, the White House was a home for seven small dogs.
The dogs were a gift from Japan and highly valued in the East. These dogs were probably the breed that is today known as the Japanese Chin. This breed was also named ‘sleeve’ dog – they could easily fit into the sleeve of a kimono.
Pierce was ecstatic once he saw the dogs. He decided to keep one dog and give the others to his friends, including his Secretary Davis, who named the dog Bonin.
Little is known about these dogs, but one thing is for sure – they triumphed over some very important men.
Franklin Pierce’s Dogs:
- Seven tea-cup sized dogs. One kept.
21. John Tyler
John Tyler and his wife Julia had pets during John’s presidency. They were especially fond of Wolfhounds.
John imported for his wife a pair of Irish wolfhounds, who are known as tall and heavy dogs.
Regardless of their size, their nature is soft and the breed is known as ‘gentle giants’. This name goes with them as they are a non-aggressive breed.
This Irish pair was quite interesting to historians and they received a lot of attention from the media. However, it’s still impossible to learn much about them.
Franklin Pierce’s Dogs:
A pair of Irish Wolfhounds. Names are unknown.
20. James Monroe
James Monroes didn’t have many pets running inside the White House. There was only one dog, who’s name is still unknown.
Spaniel was a pet of James’ daughter Maria and he was small and black.
Little is known about this dog, although some sources claim that the name of the dog was ‘Buddy’.
The gender of the dog is also unknown. Another rumored pet is a Siberian husky, possible named Sebastion. Again, it’s just a rumor.
James Monroe’s Dogs:
- Buddy, Spaniel
- Sebastian, Siberian Husky
19. James Buchanan
Lifelong bachelor James Buchanan – like so many other presidents before and after him – had pets with him. So, he shared his presidency hours with his pets, Lara and Punch. His Lara was a Newfoundland.
Buchanan was unmarried, so his niece Harriet Lane took the duties of the First Lady, and Punch was gifted to her by the U.S. Consul residing in South Hampton, England.
According to records from that period, Punch was so tiny that he could fit under a punch bowl. It surely must have been fun to see Lara, Buchanan’s Newfoundland, with a toy terrier, Punch.
James Buchanan’s Dogs:
- Lara, Newfoundland
- Punch, Toy Terrier
18. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln will forever be remembered as a compassionate and gracious man. He had many pets during his life, including dogs. Two of his most famous dogs were Fido and Jip, while the other dogs’ names have been lost to history.
Lincoln’s love for animals was seen at an early age. Moreover, there was a true story of Lincoln’s heroic action when his family together with his father, was confronted by an icy river.
Once the wagon had boarded the flatboat and it had begun the crossing, the family noticed that their dog has been left behind.
Lincoln’s father decided to leave the dog, but Lincoln jumped into the icy river and rescued the forgotten dog.
He told his father: “The dog feels better, and except for cold feet, so do I.”
Fido was a yellowish, mixed-breed dog with floppy ears who loved following Lincoln and his son around.
He is known as the dog who accompanied Lincoln on his walks in town. He was often seen waiting for Lincoln outside the barbershop or visiting the market with him. This changed when Lincoln won the Presidency.
Fido was scared of sudden routine changes and new sounds that were often around the White House, including the firework, which is why Lincoln’s family decided to re-home him for his well-being.
As result, Fido left Washington to live in Springfield with a family that Lincoln was close with.
The Lincolns gave them strict instructions:
- Fido was never to be tied up outdoors alone.
- Never to be punished for coming into the house with muddy paws.
- He must be allowed to come indoors (he will scratch the door).
- He must be allowed to wander freely around the table as the family eats.
Unfortunately, shortly after Lincoln was assassinated, Fido met the same tragic end.
Fido put his dirty paws upon a drunken man sitting in the street curbing and – in his drunken rage – the man stabbed the dog with a knife. Even today ‘Fido’ is one of the most popular dog names in the States.
On the other hand, Jip was fine with life in Washington and he loved all the sounds and White House life. Moreover, he loved spending his time in Lincoln’s lap.
Jip was always next to Lincoln for every lunch and in every room – he was allowed to walk freely.
Lincoln’s family also had ponies, rabbits, goats, a pig, and cats.
Abraham Lincoln’s Dogs:
- Fido, mix-breed
- Jip, small breed
17. Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was passionate about horses and riding, but that didn’t stop him to welcome a furry and big Newfoundland, named Faithful.
Faithful was a gift to his son, Jesse. Faithful loved performing tricks and spending his time running around with children.
The other pet who joined the family was a black-and-tan dog, Rosie. Grant would often take dinner in the stables and talk both to Rosie and the horses.
Ulysses S. Grant’s Dogs:
- Faithful, Newfoundland
- Rosie, mixed-breed
16. Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland had to travel a lot with his family, so every time they would have a new pet with them, from dogs to ponies. However, the dogs were the majority.
During Grover’s presidency, the White House was open to the public and he was worried about his wife’s safety, therefore having a big dog around helped them both feel more protected. Plus, Cleveland’s family loved animals.
Grover Cleveland’s Dogs:
- Gallagher, Cocker Spaniel
- Collie, name unknown
- Kay, Saint Bernard
- Hector, Dachshund
- Foxhounds, names unknown
15. Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt had a soft spot for his horses, but it didn’t stop him from having some space for canines as well.
Roosevelt’s family had pretty much a nice number of canines. Six, to be exact.
Roosevelt’s favorite pet was Pete, a Bulldog. Pete loved his family members, but he wasn’t so fond of other people.
He loved to chase squirrels and then kill them. Soon after, he started attacking people and even took a bite out of some cabinet ministers and naval officers.
Little is known, but once he was chasing the French Ambassador, Jules Jusserand, down the corridors and tore the bottom of his pants.
The French government formally complained about the incident. Pete had to be exiled.
The family’s first indoor pet was Jack, who loved to eat book covers. He loved sleeping with Ted and was a true family pet. Initially, he was buried next to the White House.
Theodore Roosevelt’s Dogs:
- Pete, Bulldog
- Rollo, Saint Bernard
- Sailor Boy, Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Blackjack (Jack), Manchester terrier
- Skip, Mixed-Breed dog
- Manchu, Pekingese
14. Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover was a real dog person. He loved canines so much that he shared the White House with nine different breeds.
It wasn’t strange to see Belgian Shepherds or a Weejie patrolling freely around the White House.
One dog spent more time with Hoover than others. King Tut was a Belgian shepherd and Hoover’s favorite.
He even helped Hoover get the presidential role. In days before TV, having the perfect poster was everything, so Hoover’s campaign officials decided that a photo of Hoover with his dog might make him more approachable and personable. And the photo worked!
Everyone loved smiling Hoover holding up the paws of King Tut.
Herbert Hoover’s Dogs:
- Glen, Collie
- Yukon, Malamute
- Patrick, Irish wolfhound
- Eaglehurst Gillette, Setter
- Weejie, Norwegian Elkhound
- Big Ben and Sonnie, Fox Terriers
- King Tut and Pat, Belgian Shepherds
13. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt loved dogs and had seven of them. Some were children’s pets, while Fala (Scottish Terrier) was Franklin’s favorite.
Fala traveled with the president all the time, who insisted on feeding his best furry friend dinner every night. These two were so close that Fala walked beside his remains at the funeral.
Fala is also the only dog immortalized in a presidential memorial. Fala was so popular that he even received fan letters. Also, White House staff found him adorable and they were giving to pooch the treats during the entire day (Fala used to eat at night) when he got sick.
From that moment on it was forbidden to feed Fala unless you are Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Roosevelt’s family members were huge dog lovers, and they had a fair amount of tolerance for all of their adventures and mischiefs. Probably more than White House staff had.
Major, the German Shepherd was known for chasing the White House maids to the point that they had to use their dust mops and brooms to keep him steady.
He also once jumped on British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Dogs:
- Major, German Shepherd
- Meggie, Scottish Terrier
- Winks, Llewellyn Setter
- Tiny, Old English Sheepdog
- President, Great Dane
- Fala, famed Scottish Terrier
- Blaze, Elliott Roosevelt’s English Bullmastiff
12. Harry S. Truman
Truman was many things, but being a dog lover wasn’t one of them. Mike was the first dog of the Truman family, who lived with Truman’s family shortly.
It was an Irish setter puppy, a gift. Mike got sick and had to be sent away.
Truman’s family preferred to be a pet-free family. This was a big shock for dog lovers after the Franklin D. Roosevelt family which was all about dogs.
Truman got a Cocker Spaniel puppy named Feller from his supporter, but he gave it away to his physician. This transit really upset Americans.
Luckily, Feller eventually wound up at a farm in Ohio, where he lived happily for many years until he died of old age.
Harry S. Truman’s Dogs:
- Feller, Cocker Spaniel
- Mike, Irish Setter
11. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower had one dog, Heidi.
Interestingly, the press had no idea that Eisenhower had the dog for nearly a year.
At first, Mamie Eisenhower disliked the idea of having a dog, but the two soon after become close friends. However, Heidi had a weak bladder that had gotten her into trouble more than once.
Heidi had an accident on an expensive rug in the diplomatic reception room. At the time the value of the rug was $20,000.
After the rug incident, Heidi was sent to their farm in Gettysburg where she enjoyed every moment.
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Dog:
- Heidi, Weimaraner
10. John F. Kennedy
The White House was full of puppies during Kennedy’s presidency. Actually, it was more like a mini zoo.
There were horses, hamsters, rabbits, and 10 dogs, including a mutt named Pushinka, a gift from Nikita Khrushchev. Pushinka was the daughter of Strelka, one of the first dogs in space.
The first dogs to put their paw into the White House were a French poodle, Gaullie, the First Lady’s dog, and Charlie, a Welsh terrier.
With time they welcomed the other dogs. There was even a canine romance between Pushinka and Charlie that ended with a litter of puppies.
John F. Kennedy’s Dogs:
- Charlie, Welsh Terrier
- Gaullie, French Poodle
- Pushinka, mixed-breed dog
- Shannon, Cocker Spaniel
- Wolf, Irish Wolfhound
- Clipper, German Shepherd
- Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie, Streaker — Pushinka and Charlie’s puppies
9. Lyndon B. Johnson
Yuki, a mixed-breed dog was deeply loved by President Johnson. These two were always together. They slept together, swim together, and even spent hours singing together. Furthermore, they even danced at his daughter Lynda’s wedding.
They had so much fun that First Lady had to convince Johnson that the dog did not need to be in the wedding pictures. Next to Yuki, there were five other dogs, including Blanco.
Blanco was a gift from a 9-year-old girl from Illinois. The president accepted the gift at the time, but he said that he would not be accepting any other dogs.
Blanco wasn’t the best-behaved dog and he was prone to biting other dogs. In the end, Johnson gave the dog to a Kentucky doctor and his wife.
Lyndon B. Johnson’s Dogs:
- Him and Her, Beagles
- Edgar and Freckles, Beagles
- Blanco, Collie
- Yuki, Mixed-breed dog
8. Richard Nixon
Nixon kept a drawer full of dog biscuits in his desk to have on-hand traits for his dogs.
Richard Nixon had three dogs during his presidency. However, he had one more dog, probably the most known, Checkers while he was working as a Vice President.
Checkers is a dog who saved Nixon’s career. Moreover, Checkers was the first dog to be mentioned on TV by a politician.
Sadly, this dog never lived in the White House. Checkers lived with Nixon until he died at the age of 13 in 1964, just four years before Nixon was elected president.
Richard Nixon’s Dogs:
- Checkers, Nixon’s dog while vice president
- Vicky, Poodle
- Pasha, Terrier
- King Timahoe, Irish Setter
7. Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford arrived at the White House with one of the most lovable presidential dogs ever, Liberty.
Liberty ended up stealing many hearts, just as a true Golden Retriever would do. Liberty was a gift from Ford’s daughter Susan.
When a breeder asked in what kind of a house do they live in, they responded: ‘A big white house with a fence around it.’ However, the breeder eventually learned that the dog will be going to the White House.
Ford and Liberty hit it off right away. Ford himself took her for her walks. Liberty was bred with a champion golden retriever from a breeder in Medford, Oregon.
She got nine puppies – four females and five males – at the White House. Yes, Liberty had her private little hospital. Ford kept one blond puppy and named her Misty.
Gerald Ford’s Dogs:
- Liberty, Golden Retriever
- Misty, one of Liberty’s puppies
- Lucky, Mixed-breed og
When Jimmy Carter and his family moved to the White House they had no dogs with them. However, it all changed when Carter’s daughter Amy got a border collie mix. The dog was named Grits and he wasn’t known for his good behavior.
It seems that they loved the dog (according to public photos), but Grits loved to do his business on the White House carpet. Also, he refused to swallow a pill for Heartworm Awareness Week, and he just couldn’t get along well with Carter’s cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang.
Grits was a gift from Amy’s teacher Verona Meeder, and when her dog died – who was Grits’ mother – Amy gave Grits back to her teacher.
Jimmy Carter’s Dogs:
- Grits, Border Collie
- Lewis Brown, Afghan Hound
5. Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, were serious dog lovers. Not all of their dogs could be seen in the White House. They simply couldn’t have their whole herd in the White House.
So, they had to leave several dogs on Reagan’s ranch, Rancho del Cielo. Although they had many dogs, the most popular dog who actually loved living in the White House was Rex, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Rex was trained to throw the power switch to light the national Christmas tree in 1985.
Interestingly, although Rex was an action-packed dog who loved exploring the White House rooms, he refused to set a paw in Lincoln’s room.
He would just stand in front and bark. Rex got a dog house, a replica of the real White House, at the end of Reagan’s presidency.
Ronald Reagan’s Dogs:
- Lucky, Bouvier des Flandres
- Rex, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Victory, Golden Retriever
- Peggy, Irish Setter
- Taca, Siberian Husky
- Fuzzy, Belgian Sheepdog
4. George H.W. Bush
Bush’s family is known for being huge animal lovers. Their love for dogs could easily be seen in every public photo, in their interaction with dogs, and in how they talked about their favorite breeds. Their emotions toward their dogs were honest and full of love.
George H.W.Bush had Millie, one of the most famous presidential dogs, an English Springer Spaniels Millie was so popular that there was even a book called ‘Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush’, that showed a first pup’s view into White House life.
Millie had only one male puppy, Ranger, who become the president’s favorite dog.
Ranger was named in honor of the Texas Rangers baseball team. The nature of this Spaniel was so lovable that Ranger gained an extra pound, so the president had to send out a memo requesting people not to feed Ranger.
Unfortunately, Ranger lived only four years. Bush’s family had to put him to sleep after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1994.
George H.W. Bush’s Dogs:
- Millie, English springer spaniel
- Ranger, one of Millie’s puppies
3. Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton grew up with dogs, but when he entered the White House he had no pets with him. But, during his second term, he got a 3-month-old chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy, and the two became fast friends. He was named Buddy, after his great-uncle.
Clinton said that it was time to have a loyal friend. No better than a dog in that case, right?
Clinton’s family also had a cat, Socks, and the two had a love-hate kind of relationship.
Unfortunately, Buddy died in 2002 after playfully chasing a contractor into the street. Buddy was hit by a passing car.
Bill got another chocolate lab, Seamus, in 2002.
Bill Clinton’s Dogs:
- Buddy, Labrador Retriever
2. George W. Bush
Just like each Bush family member, George W. Bush was no exception when it comes to dog lovers.
He had two Scottish Terriers, and an English Springer Spaniel named Spot. Actually, Spot was the offspring of the elder President Bush’s popular dog Millie. Barney was the most popular George’s dog.
He even had an official website that featured ‘Barneycam’ videos that were filmed from a camera hung around his neck. Some videos are available even today.
George W. Bush’s Dogs:
- Miss Beazley, Scottish Terrier
- Spot, English Springer Spaniel, offspring of Millie
- Barney, Scottish Terrier
1. Barack Obama
Barack Obama made a promise to his daughters, Sasha and Malia, that they could get a dog after the election for the presidency – regardless of the results.
Malia suffers from allergies, so they got a dog that won’t disturb her health. That’s how Bo came to the Obama family.
Actually, Bo was a gift and the first dog. Just after Bo got used to the presidential routine, the White House welcomed another dog, also a Portuguese Water Dog, adopted, named Sunny.
Puppies were an instant hit and they had a busy schedule filled with photoshoots.
Dogs were so popular that Michelle had to plan their appearance a month ahead and approve it.
Barack Obama’s Dogs:
- Bo, Portuguese Water Dog
- Sunny, Portuguese Water Dog