Give me a random pet!

All the presidents’ pets: An illustrated guide

By Amy Roberts, Hayley Wilson, Sam Romano, Leanza Abucayan and Priya Krishnakumar
Published February 15, 2021

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

George Washington

In office 1789-1797

Vulcan, George Washington’s hound, once stole a ham from the kitchen right before a dinner party.

Multiple dogs

Drunkard, Mopsey, Taster, Cloe, Tipsy, Forester, Captain, Lady Rover, Vulcan, Sweet Lips, Searcher, Madam Moose and others.

Eight horses

Samson, Steady, Leonidas, Traveller, Magnolia, Nelson and Blueskin (one name unknown).

John Adams

In office 1797-1801

The two mixed-breed dogs that lived in the White House belonged to First Lady Abigail Adams.

Two horses

Cleopatra and Caesar

Two dogs

Juno and Satan

Thomas Jefferson

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.

One dog

Bergere

Birds

Dick and others

Two bear cubs

Names unknown

James Madison

In office 1809-1817

The parrot that lived in the White House actually belonged to First Lady Dolley Madison, not James.

One parrot

Polly

James Monroe

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.

One dog

A spaniel, name unknown

John Quincy Adams

In office 1825-1829

John Quincy Adams’ alligator was a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette.

One alligator and multiple silkworms

Names unknown

Andrew Jackson

In office 1829-1837

Andrew Jackson’s horse, Sam Patch, was named after the first famous American daredevil.

Five horses

Bolivia, Emily, Lady Nashville, Sam Patch and Thruxton.

One parrot

Poll

Martin Van Buren

In office 1837-1841

One of three presidents to not have any pets while in office.

William Henry Harrison

In office March-April 1841

William Henry Harrison served the shortest presidential term in history, dying 32 days after his March 4, 1841, inauguration.

One cow

Sukey

One goat

Name unknown

John Tyler

In office 1841-1845

John Tyler’s Italian greyhound, Le Beau, was gifted to him from the consul of Naples.

One canary

Johnny Ty

Three dogs

Le Beau (a greyhound), other names unknown

One horse

The General

James K. Polk

In office 1845-1849

One of three presidents to not have any pets while in office.

Which president had the most pets?

Zachary Taylor

In office 1849-1850

Old Whitey was a revered war horse while Apollo was reported to be a former circus pony.

Two horses

Old Whitey and Apollo

Millard Fillmore

In office 1850-1853

Millard Fillmore’s ponies were named after surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.

Two horses

Mason and Dixon

Franklin Pierce

In office 1853-1857

Commodore Matthew Perry gifted Franklin Pierce seven dogs, but he only kept one. The others were given away to friends.

One dog

A Japanese Chin, name unknown.

James Buchanan

In office 1857-1861

James Buchanan is the only President who never married. His large Newfoundland, Lara, kept him company in the White House.

One dog

Lara

Abraham Lincoln

In office 1861-1865

Fido, Abraham Lincoln’s dog, didn’t get to live in the White House. Instead, he stayed in Springfield, Illinois.

Two goats

Nanny and Nanko

Multiple horses

One named “Old Bob,” other names unknown

One dog

Fido

Two cats

Tabby and Dixie

Multiple rabbits

Names unknown

Andrew Johnson

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.

Mice

Names and quantity unknown.

Ulysses S. Grant

In office 1869-1877

Two dogs

Rosie and Faithful

Multiple horses

Names unknown

Rutherford B. Hayes

In office 1877-1881

Rutherford Hayes’ cat, Siam, was reported to be the first Siamese cat in America.

Eight dogs

Hector, Duke, Grim, Otis, Dot, Juno, Shep and Jet

Three cats

Siam, Miss Pussy and Piccolomini

One goat

Name unknown

Five birds

Names unknown

Four cows

Names unknown

Multiple horses

Names unknown

James A. Garfield

In office March-September 1881

One dog

Veto, a Newfoundland

One horse

Kit

Chester A. Arthur

In office 1881-1885

Horses

Names and quantity unknown

Which pets were the most common?

Grover Cleveland

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.

Six dogs

One poodle, Hector; Other names unknown

Two birds

Names unknown

One horse

Name unknown

Fish

Names unknown

Game chickens

Names unknown

Benjamin Harrison

In office 1889-1893

Dash, First Lady Caroline Harrison’s collie, had his own doghouse at the White House.

Two dogs

Dash and Jack

One goat

Old Whiskers

Two opossums

Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection

William McKinley

In office 1897-1901

William McKinley’s parrot could apparently whistle the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Roosters

Names unknown

Two cats

Enrique DeLome and Valeriano Weyler

One parrot

Loretta

Theodore Roosevelt

In office 1901-1909

Theodore Roosevelt began his presidency with more pets than any previous president.

Eleven horses

Bleistein, Renown, Algonquin, Roswell, Rusty, Jocko Root, Grey Dawn, Wyoming, Yagenka, General and Judge

Six dogs

Pete, Jack, Skip, Rollo, Manchu and Sailor Boy

Five guinea pigs

Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans and Father O’Grady

Two cats

Tom Quartz and Slippers

One pig

Maude

One badger

Josiah

One macaw

Eli Yale

One bear

Jonathan Edwards

One hen

Baron Spreckle

One rabbit

Peter

One lizard

Bill

One snake

Emily Spinach

One rat

Jonathan

Flying squirrels, one rooster, one hyena, one barn owl and two kangaroo rats

Names unknown

William H. Taft

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.

One dog

Caruso

Two cows

Mooly Wooly and Pauline Wayne

Woodrow Wilson

In office 1913-1921

Woodrow Wilson’s ram, Old Ike, was known for chewing tobacco and cigars.

Birds

Names unknown

Sheep

Names unknown

One cat

Puffins

Three dogs

Bruce, Mountain Boy and Davie

One ram

Old Ike

Warren G. Harding

In office 1921-1923

Laddie Boy, Warren G. Harding’s Airedale terrier, was the first White House pet to get regular coverage from newspapers.

Canaries

Names unknown

Squirrel

Pete

Two dogs

Old Boy and Laddie Boy

Calvin Coolidge

In office 1923-1929

First Lady Grace Coolidge included Rob Roy, a white collie, in her official White House portrait.

12 dogs

Prudence Prim, Rob Roy, Peter Pan, Paul Pry, Calamity Jane, Tiny Tim, Blackberry, Ruby Rouch, Bessie, Boston Beans, King Cole, Palo Alto

Seven birds

Nip, Tuck, Snowflake, Old Bill, Enoch (other names unknown)

Two cats

Tiger and Blacky

Two raccoons

Reuben and Rebecca

One donkey

Ebenezer

One bobcat

Smoky

Herbert Hoover

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.

15 dogs

Glen, Big Boy, Buckeye, Cragwood Padraic, Cragwood Padraic II, Cragwood Seamrog, Gillette, King Tut, Ole, Olay, Pat, Weegie, Mark, Whoopie and Yukon

One opossum

Billy Possum

One cat

Kitty

One bird

Caruso

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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.

One dog

Fala

Over 100 dogs have lived in the White House — but which President had the most?

Harry S. Truman

In office 1945-1953

Harry Truman wasn’t a dog person and reportedly gave Feller away to his doctor.

Two dogs

Feller and Mike

Dwight D. Eisenhower

In office 1953-1961

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Weimaraner, Heidi, was allowed to roam the White House grounds as she wished.

One dog

Heidi

One bird

Gabby

John F. Kennedy

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.

Five horses

Rufus, Sardar, Tex, Macaroni and Leprechaun

Seven dogs

Charlie, Pushinka, White Tips, Blackie, Shannon, Clipper and Wolf

One cat

Tom Kitten

Three birds

Robin, Bluebell and Maybelle

Two hamsters

Debbie and Billie

One rabbit

Zsa Zsa

Lyndon B. Johnson

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.

Seven dogs

Him, Her, Kim, Freckles, Edgar, Blanco and Yuki

Hamsters and birds

Names unknown

Richard M. Nixon

In office 1969-1974

Vicky once tried to snatch a goldfish from a pond on White House grounds.

Three dogs

Vicky, Pasha and King Timahoe

Gerald R. Ford

In office 1974-1977

Shan was named after a town Gerald Ford visited in China while a US congressman.

Two dogs

Liberty and Misty

One cat

Shan

Jimmy Carter

In office 1977-1981

Grits was born on the same day Jimmy Carter won the presidential election in 1976.

Two dogs

Grits and Lewis Brown

One cat

Misty Malarky Ying Yang

Ronald Reagan

In office 1981-1989

Rex Reagan had a dog house that was a replica of the White House.

Two dogs

Rex and Lucky

George H.W. Bush

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.

Two dogs

Ranger and Millie

Bill Clinton

In office 1993-2001

Buddy was named after a longtime Clinton family friend who died around the time they adopted the dog.

One dog

Buddy

One cat

Socks

George W. Bush

In office 2001-2009

Scottish terrier Barney had his own website and appeared in “Barney Cam” videos.

One cat

India

Three dogs

Spot Fetcher, Miss Beazley and Barney

Barack Obama

In office 2009-2017

Bo was a gift to the Obamas from Sen. Ted Kennedy and his wife.

Two dogs

Sunny and Bo

Donald J. Trump

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.

Joseph R. Biden

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.

Two dogs

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.