Dogs of the White House

The Eight Most Memorable Presidential Pets

By Erik Ryken

dogs of the white house

Who are the dogs who have trotted through the White House? What First Companions have watched Presidents make history from the fluffy carpets of the oval office?

Thanks to the scholar of presidential pets, these questions are now answered. Very conveniently, there is an aptly named website as well as a book devoted to documenting the pets of every president: The Presidential Pet Museum and First Pet by Claire McLean.

Remarkably, every presidential household since Benjamin Harrison, whose term lasted from 1889-1893, has had at least one dog. Like any home or office worth visiting, the White House has welcomed plenty of dogs and other animals to roam as pets. It’s surprising how TV fiction hasn’t added any dogs to the casts of shows like Designated Survivor, Scandal, and House of Cards to make them more realistic!

Even more curiously, it appears one of the candidates this year may not even have a pet, prompting the question: if you can’t take care of a pet, how can you take care of a country??? Jokes aside, a Trump victory would mean a pet-less White House for the first time in over a century, while a Clinton win would see a couple of canines taking residence. Ah, the suspense.

Let’s have a look at some of the First Pets who’ve sat and stayed in the White House…

presidential-pets-laddie-boy

Photo: Presidential Pets Museum

1. Laddie Boy – Dog of Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)

Nothing says presidential like an official portrait, and here’s old Laddie Boy looking proud of his sitting. This well mannered Airedale terrier was commemorated as a life-size statue presented to the Smithsonian Institution in 1927. It was made from 19,134 pennies which were donated by newspaper delivery boys, who shared Harding’s first job.

presidential-pets-prudence-prim

Photo: Presidential Pets Museum

2. Prudence Prim –  Dog of Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)

One of the most ridiculous collections of animals in the White House was that of Grace and Calvin Coolidge. They had plenty of dogs and birds, two raccoons, cats, a donkey, and even a bobcat. Perhaps the fanciest member of this zoo was the fashion-conscious collie, Prudence Prim, a white collie. Just look at this bonnet!

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