President’s Day is on February 20 this year (that’s today!), and according to DogTime.com, 32 presidents had dogs! Abraham Lincoln was one of those dog lovers, and had a faithful friend named Fido. Famously, Lincoln had this to say about the treatment of animals: “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
The nineteenth president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, had several pets in his family, including canaries, goats, and Siamese cat. He also had a greyhound named Grim, an English Mastiff named Duke, and has also been said to have a Newfoundland, German Shepherd, and terrier during his life.
Our first president, George Washington, was a prominent dog breeder and had a hand in developing a new breed. Passionate about hound dogs as an avid and educated hunter and farmer, Washington spent time developing the breed that is known today as the American Foxhound. These dogs are very high energy and have a natural independent streak, as they were bred to find foxes by scent.
Gerald Ford, the 38th president, had a Golden Retriever named Liberty who frequented Ford on many occasions in the Oval Office. Liberty gave birth to eight puppies while living at the White House, and the Ford family kept one of them. The dogs were so popular that the public demanded photographs, so a rubber stamp paw print was made to accompany the photos as autographs. One of Liberty’s puppies became a Leader Dog for the Blind.
Bo Obama is our most current presidential pup, and he is a Portuguese Water Dog, chosen by the Obamas for the breed’s hypoallergenic status, as Malia Obama has had trouble with allergies. Bo was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy. Bo is registered with the American Kennel Club under the name “Amigo’s New Hope”, and was featured on Animal Planet’s Dogs 101.
One of the biggest animal lovers to grace the White House and lead the country was our thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge. He and his wife, Grace, had a variety of pets, including: Chow Chows Tiny Tim and Blackberry; Paul Pry, an Airedale Terrier; Boston Beans, a Bulldog; Enoch, a goose; gifted lion cubs, and a pygmy hippo named Billy. Coolidge had this to say about dogs and their role in presidency: “Any man who does not like dogs and want them about does not deserve to be in the White House.”
This article was written by My Pet Saving’s contributor Melissa. She has a master’s degree in creative writing, owns several pets and runs her own online pet magazine. To learn more about this author check out the contributor profile page.