When George Washington moved into the President’s House, he brought his horses and hounds in tow, beginning a long tradition of presidents welcoming all sorts of furry — and feathered and scaly — friends into the residences.
Champ and Major, the Biden family’s German shepherds, mark a return of pets to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after a four-year hiatus, as former President Donald Trump and his family did not have any pets.
While dogs are the most common pets in presidential history, some first family pets were a bit more … unconventional. Below, get to know some of the presidential pets of yore, including a snake named Emily Spinach and an opossum named Mr. Reciprocity.
Related gallery: Presidential pets through history
In office 1789-1797
Vulcan, George Washington’s hound, once stole a ham from the kitchen right before a dinner party.
Drunkard, Mopsey, Taster, Cloe, Tipsy, Forester, Captain, Lady Rover, Vulcan, Sweet Lips, Searcher, Madam Moose and others.
Samson, Steady, Leonidas, Traveller, Magnolia, Nelson and Blueskin (one name unknown).
In office 1797-1801
The two mixed-breed dogs that lived in the White House belonged to First Lady Abigail Adams.
Cleopatra and Caesar
Juno and Satan
In office 1801-1809
Thomas Jefferson bought his dog, Bergere, in France. She had two puppies onboard the ship heading back to the United States.
Dick and others
Two bear cubs
In office 1809-1817
The parrot that lived in the White House actually belonged to First Lady Dolley Madison, not James.
In office 1817-1825
The only known pet in the White House during James Monroe’s term was a spaniel belonging to his youngest daughter, Maria Monroe.
A spaniel, name unknown
In office 1825-1829
John Quincy Adams’ alligator was a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette.
One alligator and multiple silkworms
In office 1829-1837
Andrew Jackson’s horse, Sam Patch, was named after the first famous American daredevil.
Bolivia, Emily, Lady Nashville, Sam Patch and Thruxton.
In office 1837-1841
One of three presidents to not have any pets while in office.
In office March-April 1841
William Henry Harrison served the shortest presidential term in history, dying 32 days after his March 4, 1841, inauguration.
In office 1841-1845
John Tyler’s Italian greyhound, Le Beau, was gifted to him from the consul of Naples.
Le Beau (a greyhound), other names unknown
In office 1845-1849
One of three presidents to not have any pets while in office.
Which president had the most pets?
In office 1849-1850
Old Whitey was a revered war horse while Apollo was reported to be a former circus pony.
Old Whitey and Apollo
In office 1850-1853
Millard Fillmore’s ponies were named after surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.
Mason and Dixon
In office 1853-1857
Commodore Matthew Perry gifted Franklin Pierce seven dogs, but he only kept one. The others were given away to friends.
A Japanese Chin, name unknown.
In office 1857-1861
James Buchanan is the only President who never married. His large Newfoundland, Lara, kept him company in the White House.
In office 1861-1865
Fido, Abraham Lincoln’s dog, didn’t get to live in the White House. Instead, he stayed in Springfield, Illinois.
Nanny and Nanko
One named “Old Bob,” other names unknown
Tabby and Dixie
In office 1865-1869
While he did not have any official pets, Andrew Johnson reportedly left flour out at night for a family of mice.
Names and quantity unknown.
In office 1869-1877
Rosie and Faithful
In office 1877-1881
Rutherford Hayes’ cat, Siam, was reported to be the first Siamese cat in America.
Hector, Duke, Grim, Otis, Dot, Juno, Shep and Jet
Siam, Miss Pussy and Piccolomini
In office March-September 1881
Veto, a Newfoundland
In office 1881-1885
Names and quantity unknown
Which pets were the most common?
In office 1885-1889, 1893-1897
Grover Cleveland is the only president to leave the White House and then return four years later for a second term.
One poodle, Hector; Other names unknown
In office 1889-1893
Dash, First Lady Caroline Harrison’s collie, had his own doghouse at the White House.
Dash and Jack
Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection
In office 1897-1901
William McKinley’s parrot could apparently whistle the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
Enrique DeLome and Valeriano Weyler
In office 1901-1909
Theodore Roosevelt began his presidency with more pets than any previous president.
Bleistein, Renown, Algonquin, Roswell, Rusty, Jocko Root, Grey Dawn, Wyoming, Yagenka, General and Judge
Pete, Jack, Skip, Rollo, Manchu and Sailor Boy
Five guinea pigs
Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans and Father O’Grady
Tom Quartz and Slippers
Flying squirrels, one rooster, one hyena, one barn owl and two kangaroo rats
In office 1909-1913
Opera singer Enrico Caruso gifted William Taft a dog because he didn’t think cows were fun pets for Taft’s daughter, Helen.
Mooly Wooly and Pauline Wayne
In office 1913-1921
Woodrow Wilson’s ram, Old Ike, was known for chewing tobacco and cigars.
Bruce, Mountain Boy and Davie
In office 1921-1923
Laddie Boy, Warren G. Harding’s Airedale terrier, was the first White House pet to get regular coverage from newspapers.
Old Boy and Laddie Boy
In office 1923-1929
First Lady Grace Coolidge included Rob Roy, a white collie, in her official White House portrait.
Prudence Prim, Rob Roy, Peter Pan, Paul Pry, Calamity Jane, Tiny Tim, Blackberry, Ruby Rouch, Bessie, Boston Beans, King Cole, Palo Alto
Nip, Tuck, Snowflake, Old Bill, Enoch (other names unknown)
Tiger and Blacky
Reuben and Rebecca
In office 1929-1933
Herbert Hoover’s wirehaired Irish wolfhound, Cragwood Seamrog, became too aggressive around strangers and even bit one of the Marine guards at Camp Rapidan. A soldier at Fort Myer volunteered to take him.
Glen, Big Boy, Buckeye, Cragwood Padraic, Cragwood Padraic II, Cragwood Seamrog, Gillette, King Tut, Ole, Olay, Pat, Weegie, Mark, Whoopie and Yukon
In office 1933-1945
Franklin Roosevelt’s 1944 trip to Alaska was subject to Republican criticism — and Fala, his Scottish terrier, was in the center of the dispute. Critics accused Roosevelt of leaving Fala behind in the Aleutian Islands during his six-day fishing trip, a story Roosevelt vehemently denied.
Over 100 dogs have lived in the White House — but which President had the most?
In office 1945-1953
Harry Truman wasn’t a dog person and reportedly gave Feller away to his doctor.
Feller and Mike
In office 1953-1961
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Weimaraner, Heidi, was allowed to roam the White House grounds as she wished.
In office 1961-1963
Pushinka was a gift from Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Pushinka and Charlie’s puppies were gifted to kids who had written letters to the White House.
Rufus, Sardar, Tex, Macaroni and Leprechaun
Charlie, Pushinka, White Tips, Blackie, Shannon, Clipper and Wolf
Robin, Bluebell and Maybelle
Debbie and Billie
In office 1963-1969
Johnson caused a stir when he lifted up “Him” by the ears for a White House photo. He was also the last president to have a pet that was not a dog or cat.
Him, Her, Kim, Freckles, Edgar, Blanco and Yuki
Hamsters and birds
In office 1969-1974
Vicky once tried to snatch a goldfish from a pond on White House grounds.
Vicky, Pasha and King Timahoe
In office 1974-1977
Shan was named after a town Gerald Ford visited in China while a US congressman.
Liberty and Misty
In office 1977-1981
Grits was born on the same day Jimmy Carter won the presidential election in 1976.
Grits and Lewis Brown
Misty Malarky Ying Yang
In office 1981-1989
Rex Reagan had a dog house that was a replica of the White House.
Rex and Lucky
In office 1989-1993
Millie is the only first pet to “write” a book, “Millie’s Book.” Her puppy, Spot, lived in the White House with George W. Bush and his family.
Ranger and Millie
In office 1993-2001
Buddy was named after a longtime Clinton family friend who died around the time they adopted the dog.
In office 2001-2009
Scottish terrier Barney had his own website and appeared in “Barney Cam” videos.
Spot Fetcher, Miss Beazley and Barney
In office 2009-2017
Bo was a gift to the Obamas from Sen. Ted Kennedy and his wife.
Sunny and Bo
In office 2017-2021
The Trump family didn’t have a pet, but in 2019, Donald Trump gave honors at the White House to Conan, a US military dog injured during a raid on ISIS.
In office 2021-
Major Biden is the first shelter dog to live in the White House. He had his own “indoguration” via Zoom a few days before the real inauguration on January 20.
Champ and Major
Animations by Melody Shih. Presidential portraits from White House Historical Association and Getty Images. Pet count and names are based on reports by presidential libraries.