Take a Look at Some of the White House’s Furriest Guests

These First Pets took their job very seriously.

April 20, 2018 12:52 pm
Calvin Coolidge's wife, Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, with her pet raccoon, Rebecca. (Wikipedia)
Calvin Coolidge's wife, Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, with her pet raccoon, Rebecca. (Wikipedia)

Loyalty may not be the first thing most of us think about when we think of Washington, D.C., but the pets of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave change that. Many presidents brought furry friends into the White House during their stint as president. George Washington had a collection of horses and dogs, while his wife, Martha Washington, had a parrot. Harry Truman kept it simple with dogs, while Calvin Coolidge was gifted a pygmy hippopotamus. Since John Adams moved into the White House in 1800, the residence has been home to more than 400 animals. We take a look at some of the notable beasts below.

George Washington 

George Washington and his horse. (Wikipedia)

George Washington had many dogs, a donkey, and multiple horses and stallions.

Martha Washington

Martha Washington is said to have a pet parrot. This picture is just for representation.

Martha Washington is said to have a pet parrot, Snipe.

Theodore Roosevelt

Son of Theodore Roosevelt’s son Quentin rides a pony on the White Grounds. (Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Teddy Roosevelt had a myriad of pets, including rabbits, a pig, multiple dogs and cats, a laughing hyena, a barn owl, a one-legged rooster, and this pony, Algonquin, who was a favorite among Roosevelt’s sons.

Franklin Roosevelt

President Franklin D. Roosevelt driving in his convertible with his dog Fala through Hyde Park. (George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Franklin D. Roosevelt had many dogs during his time as president, including the one pictured here, Fala.

Harry Truman

President Truman’s Dog, Feller on White House Lawn. (Thomas D. Mcavoy/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Miss Margaret Truman, daughter of the President and Mrs. Truman, takes her Irish setter puppy, “Mike,” for a stroll over White House grounds.
Bettmann Archive

Harry Truman had two dogs, Feller and Mike.

Warren G. Harding

Laddie Boy, Dog Looking at Framed Self-Portrait on Lawn, Washington DC, USA, National Photo Company, July 1922. (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
UIG via Getty Images

Warren G. Harding had two dogs and a canary.

Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge’s wife, Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, with her pet raccoon, Rebecca. (Wikipedia)
Calvin Coolidge with one of his dogs, Tiny Tim. (Wikipedia)
Billy, or William Johnson Hippopotamus, was a pygmy hippopotamus given as a pet to U.S. President Calvin Coolidge by Harvey Samuel Firestone. (Wikipedia)

Calvin Coolidge had a mini zoo during his time at the White House. He was gifted a pygmy hippopotamus by Harvey Samuel Firestone. His family had multiple dogs, birds, and ducks. His wife, Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, had a pet raccoon named Rebecca. Other animals included a goose, bobcat, lion cubs, a wallaby, a black bear (that was promptly sent to a zoo), and a donkey.

Herbert Hoover

President Hoover holding “Englehurst Gillett,” one of his prize hunting dogs.
Bettmann Archive

Herbert Hoover had nine dogs and two alligators.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson with dog, Him.

Lyndon B. Johnson had Him and Her, two beagles, as well as another two beagles, a white collie, a mongrel dog, hamsters and lovebirds. The picture shown above caused outrage by people who said he was mistreating his dog.

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon of California takes time out from the rigors of campaigning to relax with his family at their home in Washington, Sept. 28. It was the GOP Vice Presidential candidate’s first visit home since his nationwide broadcast about his expense fund. Left to right are: Julie, 4; Mrs. Pat Nixon; Patricia, 6; and Nixon, who holds the family Cocker Spaniel, “Checkers,” whom Nixon mentioned in his broadcast.
Bettmann Archive

Richard Nixon’s cocker spaniel became famous when Nixon gave a televised “Checkers speech.” He was accused of hiding a secret slush fund during his candidacy for vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. During the Checkers speech, he denied he had such a fund but admitted, “there is one thing that I did get as a gift that I’m not going to give back.” He was talking about the dog, who had been given to his daughters.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan on El Alamein

Reagan had multiple dogs and horses. Here is pictured with his horse, El Alamein.

Bill Clinton

A smiling President William Jefferson Clinton wearing taupe suit walks down a stone pathway on the White House grounds with Socks the Cat, with black fur, white face, and long string leash dangling, perched upon his shoulders, holding a packet labeled “Presidential Statement”, Washington, District of Columbia, March 7, 1995. Image courtesy National Archives. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
Getty Images

Socks the Cat, the First Pet of President Bill Clinton and First Wife Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).Bill Clinton had a cat Socks, that he was frequently pictured with. He also had a chocolate Labrador retriever.

Barack Obama

The White House- Washington DC First dogs Bo and Sunny Obama wait to go for a romp on the South Lawn of the White House. photos by: Christy Bowe- ImageCatcher News (ImageCatcher News Service/Corbis via Getty Images)
Corbis via Getty Images

Barack and Michelle Obama got Bo and Sunny, both of which are Portuguese water dogs, because their daughter, Malia, is allergic to most dogs.

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