Presidential Pets in History

Presidents’ Day is fast approaching, so why not take the time to reflect on some important First Pets?

Our American presidents have had a bizarre and ever-entertaining assortment of furry friends over the years. Here are some of our favorites!
• George Washington had a variety of pets, not the least of which was three American Staghounds named Sweetlips, Scentwell, and Vulcan. He also had two horses named Nelson and Blueskin, considered as not simply mounts but loyal members of the presidential family, and a donkey named Royal Gift.


• Thomas Jefferson was known to have two bear cubs—even more surprisingly, he wouldn’t be the last president to have pet bears!


• Theodore Roosevelt was known for, amongst many other animals, having a pet bear named Jonathan Edwards, a garter snake named Emily Spinach, a hyena, a barn owl, and a one-legged rooster.


• John F. Kennedy’s pet menagerie included a flock of ducks that could often be seen waddling jovially across the White House lawn, or swimming glamorously in the fountains.


• Calvin Coolidge and his First Lady, Grace Coolidge, had a raccoon of their own named Rebecca. They also made the White House home to two canaries, a goose, a bobcat, a baby bear, two lion cubs, a wallaby, and a miniature hippo!

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• And of course, a special mention belongs to Barack Obama’s dogs and First Dogs of the moment, Bo and Sunny! Here is Bo looking very glamorous with First Lady Michelle Obama.


What are some of your favorite First Pets?