C is for Canary, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Chow, Collie, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), Grover Cleveland (1885-1889), Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929), John F. Kennedy (1961-1963), Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969), Richard Nixon (1969-1974), and Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
First Lady Frances Cleveland had canaries; names and colors are unknown.
First Lady Grace Coolidge had at four canaries: Nip, Tuck, Snowflake and Peter Piper. She also had a yellow bird named Goldy. (vintage illustrations)
First Daughter Caroline Kennedy had a canary named Robin and when it died in 1962 it was buried in the WH’s back yard near her play area (at her request).
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
President Roosevelt’s children had a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Sailor. And true to his nature and breed, he loved the water. Whenever the kids went sailing he always went with them and if they forgot him, he would swim out to meet them and climb up into the boat. (Representative photo)
President Rutherford B. Hayes had a Cocker spaniel named Dot.
First Lady Frances Cleveland had a brown and white Cocker spaniel; name unknown. (Shown here with President Cleveland.)
First Son John Kennedy had an Irish Cocker spaniel named Shannon. She was well loved by the family and was the only dog First Lady Jackie kept after the death of the President.
President Richard Nixon’s Cocker spaniel, Checkers was famous when the President was only a vice-President. Checkers became a celebrity in 1952 when he was mentioned in a speech by then Vice-President Nixon who was defending himself over campaign contributions. He basically said he would give everything back except Checkers who was a gift from a contributor to his daughters. Checkers died at age 13 in 1964 so he never actually lived in the WH but he is famous nonetheless.
President Calvin Coolidge had a chow named Tiny Tim and his daughter had a chow named Blackberry. Even though the breed was new to the United States and had been shown in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1890, the breed didn’t become popular until the Coolidge family had their photographs taken with the dogs.
President Grover Cleveland had a collie but his/her name is unknown. This is a vintage representation:
President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace are perhaps most famous for their white collies. The Official WH Portrait of First Lady Grace and Roby Roy, the most famous of their collies, hangs in the China Room of the WH. When the Coolidge’s purchased their beloved collie in 1922 his original name was Oshkosh; they changed it to Rob Roy after a popular cocktail – a little tongue-in-cheek because Prohibition was in effect at that time. Their female white collie, Prudence Prim, went with the First Lady on social calls often wearing hats made by Mrs. Coolidge and leaving her own calling card. Like the Chow breed, the Coolidge’s helped make the collie popular long before Lassie.
The Coolidge’s also had a brown collie named Bessie. This is a vintage representative photo.
President Lyndon B. Johnson also had a white collie, named Blanco (Spanish for white). Blanco wasn’t the best WH pet – he bit Him and Edgar (the beagles) and peed on an Alexander Calder sculpture on loan to the WH from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. When the Johnson’s left the WH they gave Blanco to a doctor in Kentucky. Blanco died at age 11 in 1974.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
President Ronald Reagan received Rex as a Christmas gift in 1985. Lucky, their Bouvier des Flandres (I’ll talk about him on our “L” day) had been sent to the Reagan’s ranch to live so they had been dog less for a while. Rex was chestnut and white and had to have his tonsils removed in 1986. He was also afraid of something in the Lincoln Bedroom – he would stand outside the door and bark nonstop. The Lincoln Bedroom is rumored to be haunted!!