Ignoring the political issues - when shaking hands and kissing babies doesn't work, nothing makes the American public love a president more than seeing them interact with their lovable pets. The White House has literally been the home of almost any animal imaginable from alligators to zebras, and has at times resembled a zoo, but it seems that dogs are almost always the favorite. Calvin Coolidge once said, "Any man who does not like dogs and want them about does not deserve to be in the White House". You may look at some of these pet names and think, "The leaders of our country had no imagination! How could they name their cat 'Snowflake' or their parrot 'Polly'?" Just keep in mind that many pet names became popular because the presidential pets were given these names.

George Washington

Washington was said to have as many as 36 fox hounds, but his favorite animal was his trusty steed, Nelson. It was from Nelson that our first president accepted the surrender from General Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown. Washington also had a parrot named Polly; horses named Samson, Steady, Rozinatnte, Leonidas, Traveller, Magnolia, Blueskin, and some of his hounds were named Drunkard, Mopsey, Taster, Cloe, Tipsy, Tipler, Forester, Captain, Lady, Rover, Vulcan, Sweetlips, and Searcher.

John Adams

Adams owned numerous horses.

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson received two bear cubs from Lewis and Clark. He also had a mockingbird.

James Madison

Madison owned Macaw the parrot in addition to owning sheep.

James Monroe

Monroe owned a spaniel.

John Quincy Adams

Adams was said to have had an alligator, and he raised silkworms.

Andrew Jackson

Jackson had Truxton, Sam Patches, Emmily, Lady Nashville, and Bolivia - all horses. He also had Pol the parrot and several ponies.

Martin Van Buren

Van Buren kept two tiger cubs given to him by the Sultan of Oman. They later were sent to a zoo.

William Henry Harrison

Harrison had a billy goat and a Durham cow.

John Tyler

Tyler had Le Beau the greyhound and a horse named The General.

James K. Polk

Polk just had a horse.

Zachary Taylor

Taylor had a horse named Old Whitey, a pair of Italian wolfhounds, and a canary named Johnny Ty.

Millard Fillmore

Fillmore had no known pets, but was a founding member and president of the Buffalo chapter of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Franklin Pierce

No pets?

James Buchanan

Buchanan managed to have an eagle and some elephants. He also had Lara the Newfoundland.

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln was known for letting his sons keep nearly anything as pets. It is said that the White House held rabbits, turkeys, horses, and even two goats, Nanny and Nanko, who even rode in the Presidential carriage. Jack the turkey was scheduled for Thanksgiving dinner, but one of his sons pleaded for the bird's life, and it ended up being a pet as well. On a sadder note, one of Lincoln's more traditional pets, Fido (a dog) was murdered by a drunk a year after Lincoln's assassination.

Andrew Johnson

Johnson left out food for a family of white mice living in his room.

Ulysses S. Grant

Grant had several pets including Faithful the Newfoundland; Jeff, Davis, Julia, Jenny, Mary, Butcher Boy, Cincinnatus, Egypt, and St. Louis all horses; Reb and Billy Button the ponies; as well as pigs, dogs, a parrot, and some roosters.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Hayes owned Siam the Siamese cat (the first Siamese cat in America), Grim the greyhound, Duke the English mastiff, Hector the Newfoundland, Dot the terrier, as well as several canaries, pedigreed Jersey cows, horses, goats, and other dogs.

James A. Garfield

Garfield cared for Kit the horse, Veto (a president with a sense of humor) the dog, and some fish.

Chester A. Arthur

No pets?

Grover Cleveland

Cleveland had a Japanese poodle as well as some canaries and mockingbirds.

Benjamin Harrison

Harrison gave his grandchildren a pet goat named His Whiskers. It is said that Harrison once sprinted out into Pennsylvania Avenue in a top hat and cane chasing a runaway goat cart that his grandchildren were riding in. He also had Dash the dog, and an opossum.

William McKinley

McKinley owned a Mexican double-yellow-headed parrot, an Angora cat, and several of her kittens.

Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt had one of the strangest menageries the White House has ever seen. The family had Jonathan Edwards the bear; Bill the lizard; Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans, and Father O'Grady the guinea pigs; Maude the pig, Josiah the badger; Eli Yale the blue macaw; Baron Spreckle the chicken; Peter the rabbit; Algonquin the pony; Tom Quartz and Slippers the cats; Johnathan the piebald rat; Emily Spinach the garter snake; as well as a one-legged rooster; a hyena; a flying squirrel; a zebra; a raccoon; a coyote; and a barn owl. Among the more traditional pets were Sailor Boy the Chesapeake Retriever, Jack the terrier, Manchu the Pekingese (a gift from China), and Skip a mongrel. The most famous of the Roosevelt dogs was Pete the Bull Terrier who bit numerous Washington officials, and even ripped the pants of a French Ambassador !

William Howard Taft

Taft owned Pauline Wayne the cow.

Woodrow Wilson

Wilson kept Old Ike the ram in addition to several sheep, chickens, and cats.

Warren G. Harding

Harding had Laddie Boy the Airedale and Old Boy the bulldog, plus some canaries.

Calvin Coolidge

Rivaling Teddy Roosevelt, Coolidge was a known animal lover, and received gifts of animals from friends, foreign leaders, and the general public. Coolidge had cats, dogs, birds, a baby bear, a wallaby, a pair of lion cubs, an antelope, Enoch the goose, Ebeneezer the donkey, a pigmy hippo, and Smokey the bobcat. One of his favorite pets was Rebecca the raccoon who received at least one chauffeured ride in the Presidential Limo. He also had Peter Pan the terrier; Paul Pry (aka Laddie Buck) the Airedale; Calamity Jane the sheepdog; Boston Beans the bulldog; King Cole the shepherd; Palo Alto a bird dog; Rob Roy (aka Oshkosh), Prudence Prim, Bessie, and Ruby Rough the Collies; Blackberry and Tiny Tim the chows; Nip and Tuck and Snowflake the canaries; Bounder, Tiger, and Blacky the cats, another raccoon named Horace, Old Bill the thrush

Herbert Hoover

Hoover had Glen the collie, Yukon the Alaskan malamute, Patrick the Irish wolfhound, Eaglehurst Gillette the setter, Weejie an elkhound, Big Ben and Sonnie the fox terriers, King Tut and Pat the shepherds, plus an opossum.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Roosevelt's most trusted companion was his Scottish Terrier, Fala, who was given to him as a gift to help relieve some of his stress resulting from World War II. Once while traveling on a Naval Destroyer, his precious Fala was left behind, and Roosevelt ordered the ship to turn around to pick up his friend costing an estimated $15000 to the US taxpayers. A statue of Fala can be seen sitting next to the President at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. He also had another Scottie named Meggie, Major the German shepherd, Winks a Llewellyn setter, Tiny the English sheepdog, President the Great Dane, and Blaze the mastiff.

Harry S. Truman

Truman didn't seem to like animals. He had a dog named Feller who he got rid of. The only other known animal was Mike the Irish setter who was taken care of by Margaret Truman. Truman was also quoted as saying, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower had Heidi the Weimaraner.

John F. Kennedy

The Kennedys had a special area by the West Wing for their dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and ponies. One of the more famous Kennedy pets was Macaroni the pony (stuck a feather in his hat...) given as a gift by Vice President Johnson. The Kennedys received Pushinka (Fluffy in Russian, daughter of Strelka, one of the first dogs in space) from the Soviet Premier. Charlie the Welsh terrier and Pushinka had several puppies named Blackie, Butterfly, Streaker, and White Tips but referred to by JFK as Pupniks, and obvious play on the word Sputnik. Some of the other animals include Tom Kitten the cat, Robin the canary, Zsa Zsa the rabbit, Sardar the horse, more ponies named Tex and Leprechaun, Bluebell and Marybelle the parakeets, and Debbie and Billie the hamsters.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Johnson owned beagles, Him and Her (later a puppy named Freckles), Blanco the collie, Edgar (aka J. Edgar) and Yuki the mutts, plus hamsters and lovebirds. It is said that Johnson and Yuki used to sing for visiting dignitaries. The president caused a public outcry when he was photographed picking up one of his puppies by the ears - he later claimed ignorance, and said he though that's how you were supposed to pick up a puppy!

Richard M. Nixon

Nixon received Checkers, a cocker spaniel as a campaign gift (which he claimed was the only campaign gift that he kept). He also had Vicky the poodle, Pasha the terrier, King Timahoe the Irish Setter, and some fish.

Gerald R. Ford

Ford kept Liberty the golden retriever and Chan the Siamese cat.

Jimmy Carter

Carter had Grits the dog and Misty Malarky Ying Yang a Siamese cat.

Ronald Reagan

Reagan owned a King Charles spaniel named Rex and Lucky the Bouvier des Flandres sheepdog.

George Bush

The Bush family had Millie the Springer Spaniel and one of her puppies named Ranger.

Bill Clinton

Clinton had Socks the cat, who was found by Chelsea Clinton's piano teacher. They later got Buddy the Chocolate Lab. Socks and Buddy did not get along.

George W. Bush

Spot the Springer Spaniel (puppy of Millie {see George Bush above}) and Barney the Scottie. Cats: Ernie (named after Ernest Hemingway) and India (also called Willie). The family also had a cat Cowboy who died not long after Bush took office. Being a Texan you can't be surprised that Bush also owns a longhorn named Ofelia.

President Elect Barack Obama

Obama announced in his acceptance speech his plans to get his children a puppy.

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