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Presidential Pups and Pussy Cats: White House Pets – Part II

Despite the decidedly odd and even bizarre taste in 19th century pets at the White House, President Theodore Roosevelt raised the bar on unusual pets as 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. In a mansion full of life, there were even two pets named Bill—the laughing hyena, a gift from Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia, and Bill, the horned lizard from California. There was a White House hen named Baron Spreckels after the entrepreneurial industrialist, and there were guinea pigs too, imaginatively personified as Admiral Dewey, Bishop Doane, Dr. Johnson, Father O’Grady, and Fighting Bob Evans.

Related: Presidential Pups and Pussy Cats: White House Pets—Part I

Teddy Roosevelt (illustrated right with Slippers, the White House cat) did not fall short in the domesticated cat and dog category. Rollo was a beloved Saint Bernard; Sailor Boy was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever; Jack and Peter were the first family’s terriers; Blackjack was a Manchester terrier; Pete was a bull terrier; Manchu was a Pekingese; Skip, Gem, and Susan were mutts; Tom Quartz and Slippers were the household cats.

Helen, the daughter of President William Howard Taft, was given a dog named Caruso as a gift from the opera singer Enrico Caruso following his White House performance. President Woodrow Wilson had Puffins the cat, Bruce the bull terrier, and Davie the Airedale terrier (in addition to 48 sheep grazing on the White House lawn). Prior to his sudden death after only two years in office, President Warren G. Harding palled around with Laddie Boy, an Airedale terrier, and Old Boy, the bulldog.

For much of the Roaring 20s, the White House of President Calvin Coolidge was packed with pets. Inappropriate ones were destined for the zoo: a small antelope, a black bear, lion cubs, a wallaby, a pygmy hippopotamus, and 13 ducklings. First Lady Grace Coolidge was also an animal lover, choosing Rob Roy to appear in her official portrait, one of her two white collies along with Prudence Prim. The Coolidges were also the pet parents to Peter Pan, a wirehair fox terrier; Paul Pry, a half-brother Airedale terrier to President Harding’s dog; Calamity Jane, a Shetland sheepdog; King Cole, a Belgian sheepdog; Tiny Tim and Blackberry, the Chow Chows; Ruby Rouch and Bessy, two collies; Boston Beans, the Boston bulldog; Palo Alto, a black and white English setter; plus Blackie and Tiger, the cats.

Along with his Belgian shepherd, King Tut (seen on the right), President Herbert Hoover led the nation through the Great Depression of the 1930s. This handsome dog shared the residence with Pat, a German shepherd; Big Ben and Sonnie, fox terriers; Glen, a Scotch collie; Patrick, an Irish wolfhound; Weegie, a Norwegian elkhound; Eaglehurst Gillette, a setter; and Yukonan, a Canadian Eskimo dog.

Fala was the famous Scottish terrier companion to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who shared access to the Oval Office and accompanied the president on many business trips. The only presidential pet to be memorialized by a statue, Fala’s grave is marked at Springwood, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and FDR were also fond of President, a Great Dane; Major, a former New York State police dog; Tiny, an Old English sheepdog; Meggie, a Scottish terrier; Winks, a Llewelyn setter; and Blaze, a bullmastiff.

When four-term leader FDR, an international figure during World War II, died in 1945, the office was next occupied by former vice president Harry S. Truman.

The Truman White House had only two dogs: Feller, the cocker spaniel, and Mike, the Irish setter. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had just one: a silvery gray Weimaraner called Heidi.

Related: Choosing a Name For Your New Puppy

However, things changed dramatically in January 1961 when President John F. Kennedy and his young family moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Of course, there was five-year-old Caroline’s pony, Macaroni, and a host of ducks, parakeets, rabbits, hamsters, and a canary. Perhaps best known was Pushinka (“Fluffy” in Russian), a gift from the Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The mixed-breed offspring of the Russian space dog Strelka had puppies of her own with Welsh terrier Charlie, who were named Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie, and Streaker. Moe was the Kennedy’s Doberman, Gaullie the French poodle, Shannon the cocker spaniel, Clipper the German shepherd, and Wolf the mix of Irish wolfhound and schnauzer.

When “Camelot,” the Kennedy White House, came to a shockingly abrupt end in November 1963, former vice president Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird moved in with beagles Him and Her. Two more beagles, Edgar and Freckles, came along as well as Blanco, a white collie, and Yuki, a mongrel.

President Richard Nixon‘s dogs were named Vicki, Pasha, and King Timahoe—a poodle, terrier, and Irish setter, respectively. But it was Checkers, the cocker spaniel, that gained notoriety for an emotionally charged speech named after the pet.

After Nixon’s resignation, President Gerald Ford was photographed with Liberty, the golden retriever at his side by the Resolute Desk. Her puppy, Misty, was born in residence and shared the premises with dog Lucky and Shan, a Siamese cat. President Jimmy Carter‘s daughter Amy was fond of Misty Malarky Ying Yang, another Siamese cat who lived in the White House with Lewis Brown, an Afghan hound.

President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy kept Cleo and Sara, tortoiseshell cats, at the Western White House while the dogs came to the nation’s capital. Lucky and Fuzzy were Belgian herding dogs, Victory a golden retriever, Peggy an Irish setter, Taca a Siberian husky, and Rex a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara moved in with Millie, a springer spaniel, and kept Ranger, one of her puppies.

President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary had Buddy, a chocolate Labrador retriever, and Socks, the tuxedo-colored cat who was a fixture on White House tours.

President George W. Bush had Spot “Spotty” Fetcher, an English springer spaniel named after a major league baseball player, and two Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, the latter a gift from First Lady Laura. India, nicknamed Willie, became the White House cat.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle had Bo and Sunny, two Portuguese water dogs, who frolicked on the White House lawn. President Donald J. Trump is not a pet parent, the first occupant of the White House without a dog in more than 120 years.

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