If one member of the first family is beloved by everyone, it's probably the family dog. Seriously, dogs have bipartisan appeal like nothing else. And as the dogs that US presidents have had will demonstrate, these good boys and good girls have helped run the country since its founding. Family dogs are one of the more heartwarming parts of a president's legacy.
From Washington onward, almost every US president has had a pet, as noted by the Presidential Pet Museum. In fact, plenty of surprising animals have taken up residence with the presidents, as several parrots, circus ponies, billy goats, and even alligators have called the White House home, as further noted by the Presidential Pet Museum. But it's difficult to overestimate the impact of these first dogs on the American public.
There's something so humanizing about the photographs of presidents playing with their dogs. Like anyone else, they enjoy playing fetch, cuddling, and even dressing their dogs in ridiculous outfits. The dogs, who presumably don't know anything about international politics or world leaders, are perfectly at home on the White House lawn or in a Marine Corps aircraft. Hey, if you're going to take on one of the most high-pressured and public jobs in world, it helps to have a loyal friend by your side no matter what.
1Bo & Sunny
The most recent First Dogs of the United States, Sunny and Bo Obama are two Portuguese water dogs who pretty much captured the nation's heart, as noted in the Washington Post. They are super cute, stately dogs who photographed well in the nation's capital.
A smiling chocolate Labrador, Buddy was the First Dog to the Clinton family in the late 1990s. Although Buddy and Socks, the Clinton's cat, reportedly never got along, the pair will always be remembered as great first pets, as noted in America Comes Alive!
George Washington deserves more credit for his dog's seriously amazing names. Really, George Washington's hounds had names like Mopsey, Tipsy, Tipler, Lady Rover, Vulcan, and Sweet Lips, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. Imagining the first president calling a dog "Sweet Lips" makes me laugh.
Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb were by all accounts major animal lovers who invited many dogs, cats, birds, and even a goat into the White House, as noted by the Presidential Pet Museum. The dogs of the family included a Newfoundland named Hector, and English mastiff named Duke, and a greyhound called Grim, as further explained by the museum.
Although President Lincoln decided to leave his yellow dog behind when moving to Washington D.C., the beloved Fido still has a place in history. Fido was the first presidential dog to be photographed, as noted in America Comes Alive!
A springer spaniel mix, Grits joined President Jimmy Carter's family in the mid-1970s, as noted by the White House Historical Association. The dog was likely named after one of the president's favorite foods.
7Juno & Satan
Historical accounts prove John and Abigail Adams had some of the best-named dogs of all time, including a mixed-breed pair named Juno and Satan, as noted by the Presidential Pet Museum. Can you imagine a modern president naming the first dog Satan?
A Belgian police dog, King Tut was one of President Hoover's favorite dogs, according to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. King Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered in 1922, around the same time Hoover acquired the dog, hence the cool name.
An airedale terrier, Laddie Boy was President Warren Harding's dog, and one of the first famous White House dogs, as noted by the Smithsonian. He received regular coverage in the New York Times, as well as an official portrait.
How precious is this giant lap dog? President Reagan and Nancy Reagan adored Lucky, as demonstrated by the dog's many pictures in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum.
11Prudence Prim & Rob Roy
A pair of white collies, Prudence Prim and Rob Roy were beloved by President Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. They were apparently patient dogs who didn't mind the occasional game of dress-up.
A gift from Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev, Pushinka was the descendant of a Soviet space dog given to Caroline Kennedy, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. Pushinka, which is Russian for "Fluffy," is likely the cutest thing to result from the Space Race.
President James Garfield named his Newfound dog Veto, as noted in America Comes Alive! Hey, it looks like pet-loving presidents often have a good sense of humor, too.