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From 2021 to 1961: Pet Days in the White House

Pets in White House

As anyone knows, the most famous pet lives with the Commander-in-Chief. Most of the Presidents in the White House have or have had adorable dogs or cats. It is seen as a guaranteed right for the highest office to house an adorable pet. We take a look back in history at some of the most adorable members of the Cabinet.

2021: Champ and Major

Presidential Pet Champ and Major
Image by Instagram Joe Biden via Tatler

The newest German Shepard friends make it to the White House this January. Champ has been with the family since the Obama Administration in 2008 at 16-weeks (Three Months).

Major was brought into the Biden family after he was fostered with the family for a couple of months. They could not resist his puppy charms, so they adopted him in 2018 from the Delaware Human Association. Our next four years will be filled with cute dog moments in the White House!

2009-2017: Bo and Sunny

Presidential Puppy Bo and Sunny
Image by Pete Souza via Official White House Photo

This double trouble duo of Bo and Sunny first came into the White House after Barack Obama won the election in 2008. Bo entered the picture in 2009 and Sunny followed in 2013. Both are Portuguese Water Dogs. This breed is energetic and active, so if you are considering following the 44th President’s steps in getting a Portuguese Water Dog, you should consider how active you may want to be.

2001-2009: Freddy, Bob, Bernadette, Barley, and Miss Beazley Bush

Bush and Barney
Image by Alex Wang at Getty Images

The Bush family are fanatics when it comes to pets! They brought along Barney the Scottish Terrier to the White House in the 2000s, and he becomes a sensation with his Barney Cam web show. Sadly, both Barney and Miss Beazley Bush, the Scottish Terrier friends, died. However, Bob and Bernadette, both cute cats, are living in the Bush’s Ranch. While Freddy, a puppy from the SPCA, is the newest member. The ranch must be lively with all the cute critters.

1993-2001: Socks and Buddy

Clinton and Socks
Image by the Clinton Library via Facebook

Socks, the tuxedo cat, came to the Clintons in an usual way. When Chelsea Clinton was a child, she used to attend piano lessons. At her piano teacher’s house, two cats were living under the porch. During one of Chelsea’s piano classes, she went to the yard to play with the kittens. Socks immediately jumped up into her arms and the rest is history.

Buddy, a sweet chocolate Labrador came into the White House in 1997. The Clintons now have two new dogs named Maisie and Tally, so they can also be counted as animal lovers.

1989-1993: Sully, Spot, and Millie

H.W. Bush and Spot
Image by J. Scott Applewhite via AP Photo

Everyone that knew George H.W. Bush knew of his affection for dogs. His dog Millie, a Springer Spaniel, rose to stardom through her best-selling book, Millie’s Book. Millie’s son, Spot, also lived in the White House and later lived in the White House again when George W. Bush was president.

Sully, another famous pet, was with H.W. Bush during his life after the presidency. He was a yellow Labrador and a service dog that helped injured veterans. Sully is a Hospital Corpsman First Class and a statue in Sully’s honor is on display outside the America’s VetDog building in New York. Sully loved H.W. Bush so much that she would not leave his casket when he died. H.W. Bush knew about the loyalty of a canine!

1981-1989: Lucky and Rex

Ronald Reagan did not move into the White House with a dog, but he got one as soon as a poster girl for the March of Dimes handed him a Bouvier des Flandres in 1985. They named him Lucky, and he began causing havoc all through the White House with his giant paws. His favorite place to visit was Camp David. Reagan realized the dog needed more space to expel all his energy, so he moved him out of the White House and into Reagan Ranch.

But soon after, Reagan bought an adorable King Charles Spaniel for Christmas and called him Rex. Both Nancy and Ronald Reagan loved their pets and mourned for them when they died. Reagan held funeral services for each pet. Pets were important in the lives of the Reagans.

1977-1981: Grits, Lewis Brown, and Misty Malarky Ying Yang

Like many presidents before him, Jimmy Carter did not move to the White House with a dog. However, his daughter’s schoolteacher bestowed a Border Collie mix on the family, and they called him Grits because of Carter being born in Georgia.  Finally, they gave Grits back to the schoolteacher because of behavioral problems.

They needed to deal with Misty Malarky Ying Yang, the Siamese Cat. The cat moved in with them to the White House, but he supposedly did not get along swimmingly with Grits. Misty was so famous that Gabor Szabo created a song for the adorable cat. Lewis Brown, the Afgan Hound, lived quietly in the White House while Misty Malarky Ying Yang and Grits got all the attention. Carter sure lived an eventful life!

1974-1977: Liberty and Shan

In President Ford’s memoir, A Time to Heal, he tells the hilarious story of how he acquired his cute Golden Retriever. His photographer, David, called a breeder, but he did not want to reveal that the dog was going into the White House. The breeder asked if Ford owned or rented the house. David replies, “I guess you might call it public housing.” However, finally, the breeder understood that it was someone in the oval office and the dog was transported to Washington. Liberty also had a litter of puppies in the White House, so she got the royal treatment.

Shan, a seal point Siamese, moved in with the family into the White House. She spent all her time with Ford’s daughter and was very close to her. The Fords loved their pets, and Gerald Ford spent time in the morning walking Liberty every day.

1969-1974: Checkers, Pasha, Vicky, and King Timahoe

Checkers, the cocker spaniel, is the most famous dog in presidential history. On September 23, 1952, Nixon gave what people consider his “Checker’s Speech.” It was one of the first speeches given to appeal to television viewers. Nixon defends his supposed “corruption” in the speech as a vice-presidential candidate alongside presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower. He briefly talked about the puppy his daughters’ received as a gift. Nixon declares, “we’re gonna keep [the dog].” And he did just that! Eisenhower won the election thanks to the help of a little Cocker Spaniel. Talk about puppy power!

Pasha, Vicky, and King Timahoe all joined the White House after 1969. All the dogs got along well, and they had a great time in the White House. King Timahoe was an Irish Settler, Pasha was a Yorkshire Terrier, and Vicky was a French Poodle. Nixon loved all the dogs, and they loved him back!

1963-1969: Him and Her

Him and Her at the White House
Image by Ghost of Cities via The White House

Another dog lover, Lyndon B. Johnson, had two beagles named Him and Her. Johnson made national headlines when a photo surfaced of him pulling on Him’s ears. He quickly issued an apology stating that he played with Him like that all the time, and he did not mind it. Despite this, a 1964 Life article shared how Him and Her could swim in the White House pool and sleep in the Oval Office. It was obvious Johnson only wanted the best for the dogs. As dog owners, sometimes unfortunate slip-ups are made when dealing with animals, but these are learning experiences to consider.

1961-1963: Debbie, Billie, Tom Kitten, Robin, Macaroni, Tex, Pushinka, Charley, Clipper, Shannon, Maybelle, Blueball, and Wolf

John F. Kennedy definitely wins the prize for most pets in the White House. Kennedy did not mind animals roaming all around while he was working. In Kennedy’s White House he had:

  • Two Hamsters (Billie and Debbie)
  • The Gray Cat (Tom Kitten)
  • They had three Ponies named Macaroni, Tex, and Pushinka
  • A lively Welsh Terrier named Charley; A German Sheppard named Clipper; a Cocker Spaniel named Shannon; and the last dog, an Irish Wolfhound named Wolf.
  • Two colorful parakeets named Maybelle and Bluebell, and a Canary named Robin  

         As you can see, Kennedy’s family refused to live without their pets, and we also agree your pets should go with you wherever your next career move may be.

Your own Presidential Pet!

We hope you enjoyed taking a walk-through history by viewing some of the presidents’ favorite pets. If you are planning on moving into Washington and want a puppy, contact as at MyNextPup. We will help you adopt an adorable dog and transport them. You’ll be sure to have the best pup!