Throughout history, many U.S. presidents have owned dogs and have often brought them into the White House with them. These presidential pups have played important roles in the lives of their owners and have even become famous in their own right. In this video, we’ll take a look at some of the most well-known presidential dogs and learn a little bit about their lives and their legacies. So sit back, relax, and get ready to meet some of the most adorable and interesting presidential dogs in history!
America’s first President was not only the father of his country but also the father of the American foxhound. He carefully bred and maintained his dogs, listing more than 30 hounds in his journals, including ones named Drunkard, Tipler and Tipsy.
Abraham Lincoln and his family had a dog named Fido while they lived in Springfield, Illinois. Fido was born around 1855 and lived with the Lincolns for 5 years. Fido followed Lincoln in the streets of his town, carrying stuff like the newspaper for his owner. The dog’s breed is not certain, but with it’s mustard color it resembles a retriever/shepherd mix. It was a full fledged member of the family being an inside dog, even claiming the horsehair sofa for his own. FIdo didn’t go to Washington with Abraham Lincoln after his election to the presidency. Lincoln noticed that Fido was afraid of the canon blasts and trains. With great sorrow he gave Fido to a local family with the stipulation that it be an indoor dog, given special treats etc, because he thought Fido wouldn’t survive the trip.
The Harrison’s had a mixed breed Collie named Dash. The dog belonged to the President’s wife, Caroline Harrison. He was probably their favorite dog, because unlike their other dogs, Dash had a private doghouse next to the White House. The President thought people would think less of him if they saw him show affection for his dog, so he rarely played with his pets. The President had another dog named Jack, but there isn’t much info about this dog. What was known is that he didn’t have a kennel next to the White House like Dash.
Theodore “Teddy“ Roosevelt had two terriers by the names of Skip and Jack. Skip is the most known of the two, he was mentioned several times in Teddy Roosevelt’s letters to his children. Roosevelt wrote that the dog was good for hunting, but that it all he wants to do now is sleep all day. Skip passed away during Roosevelt’s time at the White House and he was buried on the grounds, but was reburried on his family’s estate when his term was up.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, Harding’s beloved Airdale terrier, Laddie Boy, was the first presidential dog to receive regular press in the country’s newspapers. The dog even attended cabinet meetings in his own custom-made chair and held faux press conferences. After Harding passed away while in office in 1923, a life-size statue of Laddie Boy was created.
Growing up on a farm Calvin Coolidge was an animal lover. He once said, “Any man who does not like dogs and want them about does not deserve to be in the White House.” He had a white collie called Rob Roy. They wanted it to be seen by the nation as part of their family. The dog posed in a picture with the First Family on the South Portico steps. This was the first time a dog was included in an official First Family photo portrait.
The German Shepherd dog named King Tut helped to get Hoover elected. A picture of Hoover and his dog was sent to thousands of voters, which made the candidate seem warm and friendly. King Tut came with him in the White House and remained visible to the public eye, every night patrolling the White House fences.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a Scottish Terrier named Fala. Fala was given to him as a present by Mrs. August G. Kellog of Westport, CT. This dog was loved, he had a bone brought to him each morning on the President’s own breakfast tray. The dog is also said to have had a special chair at the foot of President Roosevelt’s bed. In 1944 when he was running for his fourth term he accidentally left Fala behind on the Aleutian Islands. Roosevelt allegedly sent back ships to get the dog.
In December 1947, Feller was given to the Truman family as a unsolicited gift. They named the dog Feller, but President Truman wasn’t thrilled with his gift. The Truman’s gave the unsolicited gift to the WHite House physician. After press started deriding the physician he gave the dog to a Naval Admiral. Anyway, Feller was destined to remain at Camp David and became known as The Unwanted Dog
President Eisenhower had a Weimaraner named Heidi. The dog was a gift to him from Arthur Summerfield. In a letter to Summerfield, President Eisenhower said “Heidi is definitely an asset to life in the White House. She cavorts on the South Lawn at a great rate, with such important projects as chasing squirrels and investigating what might be under bushes. She is beautiful and well-behaved (occasionally she tends toward stubbornness but is then immediately apologetic about it). And she is extremely affectionate and seemingly happy. I am constantly indebted to you both for giving her to me . . .”