If the pet-keeping habits of American presidents are any indication, owning a dog is as American as apple pie. In fact, forefathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson not only kept dogs but bred them as well (it breaks the tedium of running a developing nation, we suppose). Many early presidential pets tended to err on the more agrarian side — horses, cows, roosters, donkeys, goats — while other presidents opted to keep decidedly more unusual animals — John Quincy Adam’s alligator that briefly lived in the East Room’s bathroom, Benjamin Harrison’s possums named Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection, the veritable menageries belonging to Calvin Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt. But most commanders in chief have also kept pooches of various breeds during their presidencies. Not every president has kept a pet, canine or otherwise, at the White House. The Presidential Pet Museum lists Franklin Pierce, Chester A. Arthur and James K. Polk as three pet-less presidents. (And we don’t think that Andrew Johnson's feeding of the white mice that lived in his bedroom exactly qualifies him as pet owner, but whatever.)
From Millie, George H.W. Bush’s book-writing springer spaniel to Him and Her, Lyndon B. Johnson's beloved pair of beagles (pictured at left), here’s a look at a handful of America’s most famous first dogs. Do you have a personal favorite pooch that has taken up residence in the White House? Tell us about him or her in the comments section. (Text: Matt Hickman)
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