T is for Terriers!!!!
George Washington (1789-1797), James Buchanan (1857-1861), Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), Warren G. Harding (1921-1923), Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929), Herbert Hoover (1929-1933), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945), Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961), John F. Kennedy (1961-1963), Richard Nixon (1969-1974), and George W. Bush (2001-2009).
Unknown terrier breeds
President George Washington had terriers at Mount Vernon while he was in Philadelphia. He wrote to the manager of his estate regarding the dogs: “I hope Frank [the butler] has taken particular care of the Tarriers. I directed him to observe when the female was getting into heat, and let her be immediately shut up; and no other than the male Tarrier get to her.”
President James Buchanan wasn’t married so his niece Harriet was his official hostess and unofficial First Lady. The U. S. consul in England gave her a small terrier that she named Punch. We don’t know what breed the terrier but it may have been a Yorkshire type. (vintage representative illustration)
Various Terrier Breeds
President Herbert Hoover had two fox terriers named Big Ben and Sonnie. (vintage representative photo)
First Lady Grace Coolidge had a wire-haired fox terrier named Peter Pan. He was extremely nervous and when he tried to bite a WH staffer, Mrs. Coolidge felt she had to give him away. (see actual of Peter Pan a bit further down!)
President Theodore Roosevelt had two terriers: a Manchester terrier name Blackjack or “Jack” that was tormented by their cat, Tom Quartz and a Bull terrier named Pete. Unfortunately Pete tended to be aggressive and often bit people. After one too many bites, Pete was sent to live in Roosevelt’s Long Island home.
BlackJack & Kermit Roosevelt and a representative photo of Pete
First Daughter Tricia Nixon had a Yorkshire terrier named Pasha.
President Woodrow Wilson had an Airedale named Davie. (vintage representative illustration)
President Warren G. Harding’s Airedale Laddie Boy was a well known celebrity in his day. He was so well loved by the President that Laddie Boy had a special chair he sat on during cabinet meetings. He also brought the newspaper to Mr. Harding each morning and retrieved golf balls after a bad shot. Laddie Boy even had a birthday party in the WH complete with doggie guests and a dog biscuit birthday cake. President Harding unfortunately died after only two years in office and Laddie Boy took his death really hard. On her part, former First Lady Florence Harding found caring for her husband’s beloved pet too painful so she gave him to Harry Barker of the Secret Service. Laddie Boy lived out his life in Massachusetts.
President Calvin Coolidge succeeded Harding in the WH; he also had Laddie Boy’s brother, Paul Pry, who First Lady Grace Coolidge described as a “bull in a china shop” but he was so loveable it was easy to forgive his awkward and occasionally destructive behavior.
Paul Pry with Rob Roy
Paul Pry with Peter Pan First Lady Grace with Paul Pry
President John F. Kennedy was given Charlie the Welsh Terrier by his wife during the campaign. The President had allergies to animals but he wanted his children to know the joy of having a pet. Charlie was one of his favorites and they would often swim together in the WH pool. The one thing that bugged the President about Charlie is that the dog always wanted to play fetch with balls and sticks. Once he got started it was hard to stop him.
The President and First Lady would often take Charlie and Clipper (the German Shepard)out for a walk after dark along the streets of Washington unrecognized with the Secret Service following behind them in a car at a discreet distance. Charlie and Pushinka had a litter of puppies: Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie, and Streaker.
Charlie and Pushinka
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Scottie, Fala, was so famous he was memorialized in a large bronze sculpture with the President. Once he became recognizable to the public, the Secret Service had trouble keeping the presence of the President a secret when they were traveling. All it took was for a single glimpse of the little dog and everyone knew the president was nearby. President Roosevelt also had another Scottie named Meggie but she wasn’t as popular as Fala. During that time period a Scottie dog became an iconic image for all sorts of material goods, from dishes to jewelry to clothing.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower‘s grandchildren had a couple of Scottish terriers; I don’t know their names!
President George W. Bush had the most famous Scottish Terrier in recent memory – Barney, and a few years later, Miss Beazley. Barney was a gift to Bush shortly after the 2000 election and quickly endeared himself to the public. Barney had his own website that featured videos from the Barneycam – the WH from the unique POV of a small dog trotting his way around the historic building. Barney was well behaved when greeting dignitaries and guarded the South Lawn entrance to the WH like a Secret Service agent. Like all protective dogs, Barney had a temper and once bit a newspaper reporter (he likely deserved it).
When Barney died of lymphoma at the age of 12 (2013) President Bush remembered him with these words: “Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House. He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend.”
Barney, ready for questions!
Barney & GWB
First Lady Laura Bush greets Miss Beazley Miss Beazley and Barney Miss Beazley For more photos of Barney and Miss Beazley go to the post about India, reluctant companion to the two dogs.
Click on the book cover or the badge below to read about First Dog Fala!