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Pets & Animals

All the presidents’ pets

Harry Truman said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Plenty of presidents did, and other pets besides.


Meet Bo's new pal, Sunny

Bo, left, and Sunny, the Obama family's second dog, relax on the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 19, 2013. Sunny is a 1-year-old Portuguese water dog, the same breed as Bo.

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Bo knows politics

President Barack Obama runs alongside Bo, a six-month old male Portuguese water dog, in the White House April 12, 2009. The dog was a gift from Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and his wife, Victoria, to the Obama girls.

Pete Souza
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See Spot walk

George W. Bush’s dog Spot Fetcher follows the president toward the White House in June 2003. Named for Texas Rangers baseball player Scott Fletcher, the springer spaniel was the daughter of President George H.W. Bush’s dog Millie.)

Manny Ceneta / AFP
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Scot free

Scottish terrier Barney, First Dog in the George W. Bush White House, is blasé about the Christmas decorations Laura Bush is unveiling to the media in December 2003. The Bushes also have a second Scottie, Miss Beazley.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images North America
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Bubba and Buddy

President Bill Clinton gets an enthusiastic greeting from his chocolate Labrador retriever Buddy on the South Lawn of the White House in June 1999.

Mario Tama / AFP
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Socks appeal

Chelsea Clinton’s cat, Socks, appears nonplused by the demands of fame as photographers surround him outside the governor’s mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas soon after Bill Clinton was elected president in November 1992.

Mike Nelson / AFP
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Face time

Former president George H.W. Bush enjoys some face-to-face time with his wife Barbara’s springer spaniel, Millie, in Houston. The Bushes also kept one of Millie’s puppies, Ranger, as a pet.

Cynthia Johnson / Time & Life Pictures
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Cavalier attitude

Nancy Reagan and her dog Rex are clearly glad to see each other as the first lady returns to the White House in April 1986. Rex was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, generally considered a toy breed.

Karl Schumacher / Time & Life Pictures
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A stroke of Lucky

President Ronald Reagan pauses outside the White House to pet his dog Lucky in 1986. Lucky was a Bouvier des Flandres, a Flemish breed originally developed for cattle droving and sheep herding.

Bill Fitzpatrick / Time & Life Pictures
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Play with Misty for me

President Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy, holds her cat, Misty, as she returns to the White House after a weekend with her parents at the Camp David presidential retreat in September 1977.

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Give me Liberty

President Gerald R. Ford wrestles with his golden retriever, Liberty, in February 1975. The dog was a gift from Ford's daughter, Susan, and his personal photographer, David Hume Kennerly.

David Hume Kennerly / Getty Images North America
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Ireland, France, and Yorkshire

After Checkers passed away in 1964, Richard Nixon went on to the presidency and other pets: King Timahoe, an Irish setter; Vicky, a French poodle; and Pasha, a Yorkshire terrier, all shown here outside the White House in 1970.

Pictorial Parade / Hulton Archive
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A Checkered past

On September 23, 1952, then-vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon defended his personal finances in a television address that became famously known as the “Checkers speech” (because Nixon said the only contribution he kept was the dog of that name). Nixon still had the cocker spaniel in 1964, when this photo was taken.

Bob Gomel / Time & Life Pictures
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Fly like a beagle

President Lyndon Johnson raised controversy when he was photographed lifting one of his pet beagles, Him and Her, by the ears. Him sired a litter of puppies in 1965, and LBJ’s daughter kept two of them, Kim and Freckles, shown here in the president’s lap aboard Air Force One.

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A passel of pets

Macaroni was far from the only pet in the JFK family. Here Caroline and John enjoy a veritable pack of pooches while vacationing with their parents.

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Her little pony

Caroline Kennedy had something many young girls only dream of: her own pony. Here she sits atop Macaroni in March 1963 while her little brother John, her mother Jacqueline and President John F. Kennedy look on.

John F. Kennedy Library / Hulton Archive
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When a Feller needs a friend

In December 1947, President Harry S Truman received an unsolicited gift: a cocker spaniel puppy named Feller, who poses here by the crate he came in. The pup was adopted by Truman’s personal physician.

William J. Smith / AP
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A jolly good Fala

One of the most famous of all presidential pets was Franklin D. Roosevelt's beloved Fala. Here FDR takes the Scottish terrier for a ride through Hyde Park in 1944.

George Skadding / Time & Life Pictures
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Hoover and his hound

President Herbert Hoover takes plenty of blame from historians for the Great Depression. But he had at least one loyal fan: his German shepherd, King Tut.

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Cal and his collie

Rob Roy, a white collie, was just like a member of the family to Calvin Coolidge. The 30th president stands next to his pet in this photo from the 1920s, along with his wife, Grace, and their two sons.

Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive
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Laddie and his daddy

Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the United States, had an Airedale terrier named Laddie Boy. Here they pose for photographers outside the White House, circa 1923.

Library Of Congress / Hulton Archive
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