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First Dogs — The President’s Pups Throughout The Years

February 14th, 2013 Pets

Dogs are said to be man's best friend due to their unwavering love and loyalty. Even the president often needs some four-legged affection as he fulfills his political duties. Here are some pups who have accompanied presidents throughout their tenures in the White House.

First First Dog

George Washington, known as the first president of the U.S. and a bold leader in the American Revolution, was also a canine enthusiast. According to Time Magazine, he bred the first foxhounds and referenced them in his journals with names like Drunkard, Tipler and Tipsy.

Special treatment

Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the United States, prized his pup so much that he got it a hand-carved chair to sit in during meetings. Harding even celebrated the Airedale Terrier's birthday with a dog biscuit cake along with a slew of canine guests from the neighborhood.

Private terrier

The Presidential Pet Museum notes that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a German Shepherd named Major, a Scotch Terrier named Meggie, a Llewellyn Setter named Winks, an English Sheepdog named Tiny and a Great Dane, appropriately dubbed President.

His most renowned canine companion was a Scottish Terrier named Fala, which was short for Murray the Outlaw of Falahill. The source reports that Fala accompanied Roosevelt on important trips such as the Atlantic Charter Conference in Placentia Bay as well as on inspections of defense plants. Fala also went with the president on leisure ventures like a fishing trip, where he supposedly mimicked the flopping fish for days.

Fala entertained White House guests by doing tricks and would inspire laughter by curling his lips into a smile. According to Time, he gained a nationwide audience when he starred on the silver screen. Roosevelt even gave the Scottish Terrier his own press secretary and named him an honorary Army private.

Unwanted paws

While most First Dogs are hailed as being affectionately flaunted by their presidential owners, Harry S. Truman got a lot of flak for his lack of love. In 1947, he received a Cocker Spaniel named Feller as a Christmas present, but he gave the dog away to the White House physician. Critics nationwide chided Truman for relinquishing the pup and Feller was forever known as "The Unwanted Dog."

Presidential performance

Lyndon B. Johnson, who served in the White House from 1963 to 1969, had a penchant for canines as well. According to the Presidential Pet Museum, he had several different Beagles with names like Little Beagle, Him and Her. His prized pet seemed to be his little white dog, Yuki, who his daughter Luci found at a gas station in Texas. Lyndon and Yuki performed in the Oval Office, and there's even a snapshot of the pair singing in the presence of the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain at the time, David K.E. Bruce.

Cat fight

Bill Clinton and his family had a chocolate Labrador Retriever named Buddy, who began his stay in the White House in December 1997. Buddy supposedly didn't get along with the Clinton's cat, Socks, who arrived at the White House four years prior.

Terrier tradition

George W. Bush carried on Roosevelt's tradition of Scottish Terriers with his two dogs Barney and Miss Beazley. The Presidential Pet Museum reports that Miss Beazley was a gift from Bush to his wife Laura.

Presented with a Bo

President Barack Obama received a black and white Portuguese Water Dog from Senator Edward Kennedy and his wife. According to Time, Obama's two daughters, Malia and Sasha, named him Bo - the same name as their cousin's cat. Coincidentally, their grandfather's nickname was Diddely, short for Bo Diddely, the blues musician.