A Brief History Of The Pets That Have Called The White House Home

There have been a lot more than dogs and cats roaming around the property. A Brief History Of The Pets That Have Called The White House Home Shutterstock

News that is entertaining to read

Subscribe for free to get more stories like this directly to your inbox

When President Donald Trump entered office in 2017, he was somewhat unique because he didn’t bring a pet to the White House with him, making him just the third in American history to serve without one. Four years later, President Joe Biden also made pet-related news over some unfortunate biting incidents involving Secret Service agents.

Presidential pets have always been a big part of America’s story. Here’s a look at some of the most unique and memorable.

In the beginning

George Washington set the pace by bringing four hounds with names (Drunkard, Taster, Tippler, and Tipsy) that seemed to imply they enjoyed booze. Then came John Adams, who only had three dogs, including one ominously named Satan.

Thomas Jefferson switched things up by keeping dozens of sheep — including a four-horned ram that tragically killed a boy before it was relocated to the president’s home at Monticello where it killed several other rams.

The third president was far from the only president who brought unusual animals to the executive mansion, though.

Get weird with it

In no particular order, here are a few of our favorites:

  • Calvin Coolidge adopted a racoon named Rebecca. After he left office, an opossum moved into Rebecca’s treehouse and it was subsequently adopted by Herbert Hoover.
  • Andrew Johnson didn’t bring pets with him, but that didn’t stop him from making some four-legged friends … several mice he found living in the executive mansion.
  • Martin Van Buren wanted to keep a pair of tiger cubs given to him by the Sultan of Oman but Congress wouldn’t let him. He fought back but ultimately lost and the cubs were sent to a zoo.
  • Andrew Jackson had a parrot named Poll with a penchant for profanity. It cursed so much during Jackson’s funeral that it had to be removed.
Chris Agee
Chris Agee December 19th, 2023
Share this story: