L'Atelier Robert Coane


ou want a friend in Washington? Get a dog."

total of 25 of America's 44 Presidents have owned Dogs as their pets.
One in every three Americans own Dogs and are interested in the pets belonging to the First Family.

This page is dedicated to the Dogs of American Presidents








There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--
But...you've given your heart for a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart for the dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.

Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long--
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

1789 - 1797 George Washington

The first US President George Washington owned 10 Hounds called Mopsey, Taster, Cloe, Tipler, Forester, Captain, Lady Rover, Vulcan, Sweetlips and Searcher.

America's first president was not only the father of his country but the father of the American Foxhound. He carefully bred and maintained his Dogs, listing more than 30 hounds in his journals, including hounds named Drunkard, Tipler and Tipsy.

American Foxhound
1801 - 1809 Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson owned a Sheep Dog and is the President who instituted the first dog license. He actually had a Dog hanged once for attacking his sheep.
1817 - 1825 James Monroe

James Monroe owned a Spaniel.
1861 - 1865 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln owned at least 2 Dogs called Fido and Jip. Fido, suffered a violent death much like his master. Fido was knifed to death in the street by a drunk who became angry when the Dog jumped on him with muddy paws.
1869 - 1877 Ulysses S Grant

Ulysses S. Grant brought a Newfoundland Dog named Faithful to the White House. Faithful belonged to Jesse Grant, the son of President Grant.
1877 - 1881 Rutherford Hayes

Rutherford Hayes owned an English Mastiff called Duke, two German Shepherd Dogs named Hector and Nellie and a Greyhound called Grim.
1885 - 1889 Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland was believed to have owned a Poodle.
1889 - 1893 Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison owned a Dog called Dash.


1901 - 1909 Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt owned a Pitbull Terrier (Pete), a Chesapeake Retriever (Sailor Boy), a Terrier (Jack), a Mix (Skip) and a Spaniel called Manchu. Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Terrier, Pete, almost caused an international scandal when he ripped off the French ambassador’s pants during a White House function.

Gen. George Custer took his Chesapeake Retrievers into battle with him. Legend holds that President Teddy Roosevelt’s own Chessie, Sailor Boy, right, was descended from Custer’s own Dogs.

With Sailor Boy
1913 - 1921 - Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson did not own a Dog while he was President. He was the first to shake hands with a Dog which was a war hero. Woodrow Wilson. The dog was Stubby, a Bull Terrier, who captured a German spy in World War I. Woodrow Wilson made the following quote, "If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience."
1921 - 1923 Warren Harding

Warren Harding owned an Airedale called Laddie Boy and a Bulldog called Oh Boy. Laddie Boy who had his own chair to sit on at cabinet meetings.

Laddie Boy
1923 - 1929 Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge owned at least 12 Dogs:
Terrier (Peter Pan)
Airedale (Laddie Buck/Paul Pry)
2 White Collies (Oshkosh/Rob Roy and Prudence Primm)
Shetland Sheepdog (Calamity Jane)
2 Chows (Tiny Tim and Blackberry)
Brown Collie (Ruby Rough)
Yellow Collie (Bessie)
Bulldog (Boston Beans)
Police Dog (King Kole)
Bird Dog (Palo Alto),

Rob Roy
1929 - 1933 Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover owned at least 9 Dogs
2 Police Dogs (King Tut and Pat)
2 Fox Terriers (Big Ben and Sonnie)
Scotch Collie (Glen)
Eskimo Dog (Yukon)
Wolfhound (Patrick)
Setter (Eaglehurst Gillette)
Elkhound (Weejie)

King Tut
1933 - 1945 Franklin D Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt owned at least 7 Dogs:
German Shepherd (Major)
2 Scotch Terriers (Meggie and Fala)
Llewellyn Setter (Winks)
English Sheepdog (Tiny)
Great Dane (President)
Mastiff (Blaze)

Pekingese (Manchu)

was given to the President by his cousin, Margaret Suckley. Fala the star of an MGM Hollywood movie about the typical day of a Dog in the White House. Fala also became an honorary army private. He received this honor by contributing one dollar to the war effort setting a trend for the rest of the US. Fala is depicted in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Meggie, the other Terrier, was infamous as she once bit a senator! Manchu was owned by Alice Roosevelt and was a small black Pekingese which she received as a gift from the last Empress of China.


1945 - 1953 Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman owned a Mix called Feller and an Irish Setter named Mike.

Irish Setter
1953 - 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner named Heidi.


1961 - 1963 John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy owned the following Dogs:
Welsh Terrier - Charlie
Russian Mongrel - Pushinka
German Shepherd - Clipper
Irish Cocker Spaniel - Shannon
Irish Wolfhound - Wolf
Terrier - White Tips, Blackie and Streaker

John F. Kennedy was the first president to request that his Dogs meet the presidential helicopter when the president arrived at the White House.

Soviet Premier Kruschev gave him a Dog named Pushinka who was the offspring of the Russian space Dog Strelka. Pushinka had 4 puppies of her own puppies who JFK called “pupniks”. Pushinka often made the President laugh by climbing up the ladder to Caroline's tree house.

The Prime Minister of Ireland gave JFK the Irish Cocker Spaniel, Shannon.

Charlie & Pushinka
1963 - 1969 Lyndon B Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson owned 7 Dogs:
Mix - Yuki
5 Beagles - Beagle, Little Beagle, Him and Her and J. Edgar
White Collie - Blanco

As president he received as a gift the white Collie, Blanco. He always shook hands with the Dog whenever he left or returned to the White House.

His favorite Dog, the Beagle called Him, was run over and killed on the White House grounds. Edgar Hoover gave him a Dog to replace Him which he named J. Edgar. His Mongrel Dog, Yuki, was famous for disgracing everyone present in the oval office including the Shah of Iran. His next escapade occurred when he bit a White House police officer in the groin. Despite these indiscretions Yuki was honoured by his picture appearing on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Him & Her


1969 - 1974 Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon owned 4 Dogs
Spaniel - Checkers
Irish Setter - King Timahoe
Terrier - Pasha
Poodle - Vicky

When he entered the White House a member of his staff gave him the Irish Setter, King Timahoe, which he named for the little village in Ireland where his mother’s ancestors came from.

1974 - 1977 Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford owned a Golden Retriever called Liberty who gave birth to nine puppies at the White House.
1977 - 1981 Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter gave a Dog as a gift to his daughter Amy. The Dog was a Mix who was called Grits.

Grits with Amy

1981 - 1989 Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan owned two Dogs, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Rex and a Bouvier des Flandres called Lucky. The President was photographed being dragged across the White House lawn by Lucky in the presence of Margaret Thatcher. An undignified image for the President of the USA. Lucky was sent to live in California leaving just Rex, the little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the White House.

Rex with Nancy Reagan

With Ranger
1989 - 1993 George H. W. Bush

George H. W. Bush owned a Springer Spaniel called Millie and her puppy named Ranger. "Millie", the Springer Spaniel, has been the subject of a book which has sold more copies than the autobiography of George Bush himself.

1993 - 2001  President Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton owned a chocolate Labrador called Buddy.

The TV cameras caught him relieving himself on the carpet! Buddy was barely in the White House a month before Newsweek proclaimed, “At last, a friend who can’t testify against him.”


With Barney

2000 - 2008 President George W. Bush

President George W Bush
's Dogs include a Scottish Terrier named Barney and an English Springer Spaniel named Spot. Spot was named after Scott Fletcher, a former Texas Rangers baseball player. President Bush's Dog Spot is the only Dog to live in the White House during two administrations. Spot was born to Millie, George H.W. Bush's Dog, when George H.W. Bush was President. Spot was given to his son George W. Bush who returned the Terrier to the White House for his term of office.

Miss Beasley, Barney's companion Scottie, is Laura Bush's Dog.


Barney & Miss Beasley

2009 - President Barack Hussein Obama

Portuguese Water Dog

We have two criteria that have to be reconciled. One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter Dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter Dogs are Mutts like me. So — so whether we’re going to be able to balance those two things, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household.”


Malia & Sasha Obama

Lessons Learned From Presidential Dogs

In the White House, they play howl to the chief. They are presidential dogs -- the most common presidential pets.

Throughout history, U.S. presidents have had faithful companions living with them at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. White House dogs have comforted their owners in times of great national stress, entertained the American public with their antics and done all of the things a normal dog will do -- often in the media spotlight.

“Every president that has a pet seems to be better-liked by the public,” says Claire McLean, founder of the Presidential Pet Museum, which contains a collection of photographs and memorabilia located at Presidents Park in Williamsburg, Va. “The dog-loving public seems to feel that they are much more real and down-to-earth if they have the same type of behavior as the average family.” That includes having to take the dog for a walk.

While most presidential dogs have been deemed a political asset, others have left a legacy of misbehavior. Pet owners nationwide may take comfort in knowing that even first families sometimes have pets with behavior problems, or unknowingly pick the wrong breed for their lifestyle. Some presidential dogs have even been put out to pasture, by being returned to their previous owners or sent to spend the waning days of the administration on the presidential ranch.

Here are some stories about presidential pet misdeeds and what experts advise if you encounter similar behavior:

Grits: The Dog That Snapped at People When Jimmy Carter moved his family from Georgia to Washington, D.C., after his election in 1976, his young daughter Amy was given a mixed breed dog by her former teacher. Amy named the dog Grits, after her father’s campaign slogan, referring to himself and Vice President Walter “Fritz” Mondale as “Grits and Fritz.” “It was a very belligerent dog,” McLean says. “It snapped at people and wasn’t very friendly.” Grits followed a long line of biting dogs in the White House, which included one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s terriers, Meggie, who once bit a senator. Pete, a bull terrier belonging to the other Roosevelt who occupied the White House -- Teddy -- nearly caused an international incident when he ripped off the French ambassador’s slacks during a function. Grits ended up in the doghouse, too, figuratively speaking, and was returned. The Carters then adopted a cat.

What You Can Do:
Aggressive behavior, such as snapping, biting or snarling, is hard for dog owners to tolerate. There are many reasons why canines exhibit such aggressive behavior -- in response to fear, to protect territory or as a result of a change in the dog’s social status. The Humane Society of the U.S. advises that pet owners get help from an animal behavior specialist to deal with aggression. Socialization is also key. “The best thing to do is start early. A lot of these dogs are received as puppies,” says Trish McMillan, director of animal behavior. “You only have the first four months of a puppy’s life, for the window of socialization, to introduce them to new things. I’m betting that some of these presidents’ dogs were not socialized enough as puppies.”

The Dog That Pulled After Ronald Reagan’s first term as president, a March of Dimes poster girl gave his wife, Nancy, a small puppy. The first lady named the dog -- which was a Bouvier des Flanders, or Belgian Cattle dog -- Lucky. “She was just a little bundle of fur when I got her,” Mrs. Reagan wrote in her autobiography, “but she grew to be the size of a pony.” Lucky developed poor leash walking habits. The dog “used to pull them both around the White House,” McLean says. The final straw came after a White House visit by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, when President Reagan was photographed being pulled across the White House lawn -- an undignified image for the leader of the free world. Lucky was sent to live on the Reagan ranch in California, leaving Rex, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as the only pup in the White House.

What You Can Do: Pulling on the leash may be indicative of other problems, such as a dog that is not getting enough exercise. That is especially true of dogs that are bred for herding, farm work, or other activities. The Reagans may have erred in thinking that Lucky could adapt to the more sedate lifestyle in the White House, but clearly found a better environment for the dog on a ranch later in life. If you don’t have a spare ranch, experts advise two options. First, you can train the dog. “The easiest way is to feed the dog meals on the walk,” McMillan says. “Have a bag of kibble in your pocket. Every time they pull on the leash, turn to your left when they’re on your right. But every time they walk nicely, keep the kibble coming.” Another option is to try one of a variety of new training devices, such as harnesses or halter apparatuses that will prevent the dog from pulling.

Buddy: The Dog That Chased Cats After the start of his second term as president, Bill Clinton decided to get a puppy. Buddy, a chocolate Labrador retriever, moved into the White House to join the Clintons’ other pet, a cat named Socks. But Buddy and Socks didn’t see eye to eye. “They never got along,” McLean says. “A lot of times you’d see them sparing on the lawn or running through the White House. The media loved to write about that.” The two pets were eventually kept in separate rooms in the presidential residence, and after the Clintons moved to Chappaqua, N.Y., Buddy went with them, but Socks moved in with Clinton’s secretary, Betty Currie.

What You Can Do: The key to getting two or more pets to make nice under the same roof -- even if that roof is that of the White House -- is socialization. McMillan says that critical socialization period is when pups should be introduced not only to people, but to cats, dogs and other animals as well. If you’re introducing more mature pets, “The most important thing is to do a slow introduction,” says McMillan. “Have your dog on a leash, then bring the cat into the room.” Associate good things with the cat, such as treats. If the dog starts to chase, give it a “time out,” restraining it on the leash in a room by itself.

One thing that presidents have learned over the years is that a canine companion can help soften their image. President Herbert Hoover, who presided over the federal government during the Great Depression, had a German shepherd that was noted to be sullen and was often sulking around the White House. McLean says, “When they took a picture of Hoover with the dog, it made Hoover seem like a nice guy, when he actually had a cold demeanor.”



back at the Palace...



1932 - 2009


ROBERT COANE 2010 © All rights reserved