This is our most accurate list of all the U.S. Presidents’ dogs throughout history. Most of these dogs also lived in the White House.
President-Elect Joe Biden’s Dogs – German shepherds
Joe Biden’s election generated a lot of excitement among animal rescue groups and shelters. Whatever people’s feelings were about the President-elect himself, they were enthused about Joe and Jill Biden’s two German shepherds, Major and Champ. Specifically, Major the “rescue dog.”
First rescue dog in the White House – not the first adopted dog
Major will be the first “rescue dog” to live in the White House. The Bidens fostered Major for the Delaware Humane Association in 2018 and adopted him later that year.
For people who work in the animal rescue sphere, the visibility and endorsement that comes from having a rescue dog as “First Dog” is invaluable.
However, the term “rescue dog” is relatively new. Major may be the first “rescue” dog in the White House but he is not the first adopted dog.
There have been lots and lots of presidential dogs—including mutts—over the years. These dogs joined the first family in many ways, including adoption.
Major was also mentioned in the news in November when President-Elect Joe Biden fractured his foot while playing with the dog.
What other pets have lived in the White House besides dogs?
In addition to dogs, cats, birds and pet rodents, other animals have lived in the White House or with the presidential families. Horses, livestock and working animals were common in early presidencies—and more recent presidents who had ranches.
Presidents have also been given exotic animals as gifts. Some of these have included:
- a hyena (Theodore Roosevelt)
- tigers (Martin Van Buren)
- an alligator (John Quincy Adams)
- a hippo (Calvin Coolidge)
- and bears (Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge)
Some of these exotic animals were kept as pets, but most were donated to a zoo.
List of all the presidents’ dogs
Here is a look at the history of the presidents’ dogs in the White House, going all the way back to George Washington.
To prevent the list from looking more cluttered than it already is, we listed our sources at the end of the article.
We’ll start with the most recent White House dogs:
Barack Obama’s dogs (44th President 2009-2017)
Bo and Sunny – Portuguese Water Dogs. Barack and Michelle Obama promised their daughters they could get a puppy when they moved to the White House. Bo, a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy, was the fulfillment of that promise.
George W. Bush’s dogs (43rd President 2001-2009)
Miss Beazley and Barney – Scottish Terriers
Spot Fetcher – Springer Spaniel. “Spotty,” a daughter of George H. W. Bush’s dog, Millie, was born at the White House. She returned to the White House with George W. Bush and became the first animal to live in the house under two different administrations.
Bill Clinton’s dog (42nd President 1993-2001)
Buddy – Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Bill Clinton famously compared Buddy’s relationship with the family’s cat, Socks, to Palestine and Israel.
George H. W. Bush’s White House dogs (41st President 1989-1993)
Millie and Ranger – Springer spaniels. Ranger was one of Millie’s puppies.
Presidents’ dogs throughout history
Ronald Reagan’s dogs (40th President 1981-1989)
Rex – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. In keeping with the style of the Reagan White House, Rex’s doghouse had portraits of Ronald and Nancy and window drapes–red ones, of course.
Lucky – Bouvier des Flandres. In a famous photo, Lucky is dragging President Reagan across the White House lawn. Margaret Thatcher is looking on and laughing.
Victory – Golden Retriever
Peggy – Irish Setter
Taca – Siberian Husky
Fuzzy – Belgian sheepdog
Jimmy Carter’s dogs (39th President 1977-1981)
Grits – Border Collie (mix). An article described Grits as “impeached” (aka rehomed) after he reportedly snapped at visitors.
Lewis Brown – Afghan Hound
Gerald Ford’s dogs (38th President 1974-1977)
Liberty and Misty – Golden Retrievers. When Ford wanted to end a conversation, he would signal Liberty and she would go to the guest wagging her tail and asking to be pet. Misty was one of Liberty’s puppies, born in the White House.
Lucky – Dog
Richard Nixon’s dogs (37th President 1969-1974)
Vicki – Poodle
Pasha – Terrier
King Timahoe – Irish Setter. “Tim” was from County Kildare, Ireland, where Nixon’s ancestors were from. Nixon’s staff gave the Setter as a gift to the President.
Checkers – Cocker Spaniel. Support for Nixon’s vice-presidential campaign increased after his televised “Checkers speech.” He denied he had a slush fund, but said, “there is one thing that I did get as a gift that I’m not going to give back.” The gift was Checkers (who actually never lived in the White House).
Lyndon B. Johnson’s dogs (36th President 1963-1969)
Him, Her, Edgar and Freckles – Beagles. Life magazine ran a famous photo of Johnson pulling Him up by his ears. After an outcry from angry dog lovers, LBJ eventually issued a public apology. Edgar was a gift from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
Blanco – White Collie
Yuki – Mongrel Dog. Yuki and President Johnson would howl together in duets for guests at the White House.
John F. Kennedy’s dogs (35th President 1961-1963)
Gaullie – French Poodle. Gaullie belonged to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. She named her poodle De Gaulle, after French President Charles de Gaulle. They shortened the name to Gaullie.
Charlie – Welsh Terrier. Charlie harassed the ducks JFK’s daughter, Caroline, raised at the White House, leading to the ducks’ relocation to Rock Creek Park.
Moe – Doberman Pinscher
Pushinka – Dog. Pushinka was a gift from Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Her mother was Strelka, a Soviet space dog.
Shannon – Cocker Spaniel. The black and white Shannon was a gift from Ireland’s President Éamon de Valera. Shannon had a gold shamrock collar.
Wolf – Irish Wolfhound and Schnauzer mix. Wolf did not get along with the Kennedy’s many other dogs. He was eventually rehomed.
Clipper – German Shepherd. Jackie Kennedy’s favorite amongst the Kennedy family’s many dogs.
Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie and Streaker – Offspring of Pushinka and Charlie
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s dog, a weim! (34th President 1953-1961)
Heidi – Weimaraner. President Eisenhower wrote:
“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.”
Harry S. Truman’s dogs (33rd President 1945-1953)
Feller – Cocker Spaniel. Harry Truman was not a dog person. He created a public outcry when he gave away Feller, a puppy sent to him as a gift.
Mike – Irish Setter. Mike, a gift to Harry’s daughter, Margaret, was also rehomed to a farmer in Virginia.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s dogs (32nd President 1933-1945)
Fala and Meggie – Scottish Terriers. Fala is included in a statue of Roosevelt at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C. She is the only one of all the presidents’ dogs to have a statue like this.
Major – German Shepherd. Major (not the namesake for Joe Biden’s dog) was a former police dog from the New York State Police.
Winks – Llewellyn Setter. Winks’ name came from the black ring around his left eye. The Pittsburgh Press in 1934 published a story about how Winks discovered an unattended breakfast table at the White House. The puppy ate 18 plates of bacon and eggs.
Tiny – Old English Sheepdog. Despite his name, Tiny was big and clumsy.
President – Great Dane. Out of all the presidents’ dogs, President was possibly the only Great Dane to live at the White House.
Herbert Hoover’s dogs (31st President 1929-1933)
King Tut – Belgian Shepherd. Called Herbert Hoover’s favorite dog, Tut was unhappy at the White House and returned to the Hoovers’ former S Street house where he died in 1929.
Pat – German Shepherd. The Hoovers kept Tut’s death a secret for several months to “avoid a deluge of donated dogs.” Pat was one of the “replacement” dogs they received as gifts.
Glen – Scotch Collie. According to the Hoover Presidential Library, “Glen did not get along with other dogs at the White House” and was given to Herbert Hoover’s secretary’s wife.
Yukon – Canadian Eskimo Dog. Yukon, a gift from Fairbanks, Alaska, didn’t adjust well to the warm Washington climate and spent summers in Canada. Friends of the Hoovers adopted Yukon. The friends lived in a cooler climate.
Gillette – Gordon Setter. Presented to Hoover on Inauguration Day, Gillette’s tenure at the White House was short, due to excessive barking.
Weegie – Norwegian Elkhound. Another gift to replace King Tut. Originally named “Norway” or “Norrie” for short, the Hoovers’ granddaughter, Peggy Ann, called him “Weegie” and it stuck.
Patrick I, Patrick II & Shamrock – Wirehaired Irish Wolfhounds. Patrick I passed away shortly after arrival at the White House. The second Patrick was too shy around strangers and was traded for Shamrock. Shamrock was aggressive around strangers and was rehomed.
Calvin Coolidge’s dogs in the White House (30th President 1923-1929)
Rob Roy and Prudence Prim – White Collies. Rob Roy was Coolidge’s favorite pet and led him to the Oval Office each morning. He is immortalized in a life-sized portrait with Grace Coolidge, which hangs in the White House China Room.
Peter Pan – Wirehair Fox Terrier. The Coolidges’ first White House dog found the activity of the house too busy and was rehomed.
Paul Pry – Airedale Terrier. Half-brother of Warren Harding’s Laddie Boy
Calamity Jane – Shetland Sheepdog
Tiny Tim and Blackberry – Chow Chows. Tiny Tim was a gift for the president’s birthday, but the two never bonded and Tim became known as Terrible Tim.
Ruby Ruff and Bessie – Collies
Boston Beans – Boston bulldog. This assertive dog was rehomed.
King Cole – Belgian Sheepdog
Palo Alto (“Palo”) – English Setter
Warren G. Harding’s dogs (29th President 1921-1923)
Laddie Boy– Airedale Terrier. The first “First Dog” to be regular covered by national media. Harding and his wife Florence shared a love of animals and the First Lady used Laddie to promote animal rights issues.
Old Boy – Bulldog
Woodrow Wilson’s dogs (28th President 1913-1921)
Davie – Airedale Terrier
Bruce – Bull Terrier. Bruce’s breeder took pains to match his disposition to Wilson’s. Bruce — known for his “plucky, but sweet, gentle disposition” — was a companion for Wilson as his health declined.
President William Howard Taft’s dog (27th President 1909-1913)
Caruso – Dog. The Tafts were famous for their pet cows. Opera singer Enrico Caruso, thinking that cows were not fun pets, brought a dog as a gift for Taft’s daughter Helen when he performed at the White House.
Theodore Roosevelt’s White House dogs (26th President 1901-1909)
Gem and Susan – Dogs
Jack and Peter – Terriers. Jack belonged to Kermit Roosevelt and is described as “the most loved of all.”
Manchu – Pekingese. TR’s daughter Alice received Manchu from the last empress of China during a trip to the Far East.
Pete – Bull Terrier. Pete bit too many White House visitors and was sent to the family’s home on Long Island.
Rollo – Saint Bernard. This big, friendly Saint Bernard “protected the president’s children as efficiently as the Secret Service.”
Skip – Rat Terrier. Skip belonged to Archie Roosevelt.
Sailor Boy – Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The President wrote of Sailor Boy, “He had a masterful temperament and a strong sense of both dignity and duty. He would never let the other dogs fight, and he himself never fought unless circumstances imperatively demanded it.”
Benjamin Harrison’s dog (23rd President 1889-1893)
Dash – Mixed-breed Collie. The President received Dash as a gift from his grandchildren, but Dash preferred to be with the President. Harrison had a fancy doghouse built on the White House grounds for Dash.
Grover Cleveland’s dogs (22nd President 1885-1889 & 24th President 1893-1897)
Hector – Japanese poodle
James A. Garfield’s dog (20th President 1881)
Veto – Dog. According to First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Best Friends, Garfield chose the name Veto to “remind the rambunctious Congress of 1881 that he might not sign all of the bills it passed.” Veto reportedly held onto the reins of a rampaging horse until help arrived and on another occasion barking to alert people that the barn was on fire.
Rutherford B. Hayes’ dogs (19th President 1877-1881)
Dot – Cocker Spaniel
Hector – Newfoundland
Duke – English Mastiff
Grim – Greyhound. When the First Lady sang the national anthem, Grim howled along with her.
Otis – Miniature Schnauzer
Juno and Shep – Hunting Dogs
Jet – Dog
Some of the earliest presidents’ dogs
Ulysses S. Grant’s dogs (18th President 1869-1877)
Faithful – Newfoundland. Faithful belonged to Grant’s son Jesse.
Rosie – Dog. The Presidential Pet Museum writes that “Grant would often take dinner in the stables and talk to both the horses and to Rosie while he ate.”
Abraham Lincoln’s dogs (16th President 1861-1865)
Fido – Dog. The bustle of Washington frightened Fido so much that he actually never lived at the White House. Fido was adopted by another family in Springfield, Illinois. When he was stabbed by a drunken man, his death was billed an assassination, like Lincoln’s. “Fido” became a generic name for a dog because of Lincoln’s famous dog.
Jip – Dog. Jip was a small dog and often sat in Lincoln’s lap during mealtimes.
President James Buchanan’s dogs (15th President 1857-1861)
Lara – Newfoundland
Punch – Toy Terrier. Punch belonged to the President’s niece, Harriet Lane. Harriet assumed the duties of the First Lady for the unmarried Buchanan. Punch was reportedly so small that he could fit under a punch bowl.
Franklin Pierce’s dogs (14th President 1853-1857)
After Pierce successfully opened trade relations with Japan, Japan sent seven miniature teacup size dogs—likely the Chin breed—as gifts for the President. In the 1800s this size dog was called a “sleeve” dog because they could fit in the sleeve of a kimono. Pierce kept one and gave the others as gifts.
John Tyler’s dog (10th President 1841-1845)
Le Beau – Italian Greyhound. Le Beau was a gift from the President to his wife. Tyler ordered the greyhound from the consul of Naples.
James Monroe’s dog (5th President 1817-1825)
Spaniel – Belonged to the President’s youngest daughter, Maria Monroe
Thomas Jefferson’s White House dogs (3rd President 1801-1809)
Bergère and Grizzle – Shepherd dogs from France, possibly Briards. In 1789 Jefferson recorded a payment of thirty-six livres ($6) for “a chienne bergere big with pup.” Bergère, as she was called, was the founder of the American branch of her breed. The shepherd was on Jefferson’s list of Old World animal species worthy of “colonizing” to the United States. Grizzle, a second sheepdog, was sent to Monticello from Normandy in 1790.
John Adams’ dogs (2nd President 1797-1801)
Juno, Mark, and Satan – Dogs
The first U.S. president’s dogs
George Washington’s dogs (1st President 1789-1797)
Sweetlips, Scentwell and Vulcan (among others) – American Foxhounds. Washington’s papers at the Library of Congress reveal that he wanted to breed a new American hunting dog. By mixing dogs from France with his own coonhounds, Washington created the American foxhound.
Drunkard, Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy – Black and Tan Coonhounds
Cornwallis – Greyhound. Named for General Cornwallis, a British general in the American Revolutionary War.
What memories do you have of the various presidents’ dogs?
Let us know in the comments!
We organized this list of all the presidents’ dogs based on the following resources. We tried to use our best judgment but there may be some dogs missing from the list or some included that actually never lived at the White House.
- Historic photos used are public domain images
Julia Preston writes for That Mutt about dog behavior and training, working dogs and life on her farm in Ontario, Canada. She has a sweet, laid-back boxer mix named Baxter. She is also a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating.
Sunday 17th of January 2021
Oh wow, nice job getting that list together - that must have taken quite some time. I remember Bo & Sunny, the Obama dogs! I had no clue that the Clintons had a dog and a cat, too!
Wednesday 20th of January 2021
Yes, Julia had her work cut out for her on this one!