Joe Biden – German Shepherd – “Champ”
Joe Biden came under fire from PETA for buying his German Shepherd, Champ, from a breeder in Pennsylvania, rather adopting from a shelter. The breeder regrets the sale, saying that she was later attacked by all sorts of animal rights groups and inspectors who cited her for multiple “violations” – all of which were subsequently dropped, but not after $4,000 in legal fees! All kerfuffle aside, a Biden spokesperson said that Biden had three shepherds before this one and just absolutely adores the breed.
Click to read more VP dog stories to learn which dog is banned from Camp David, which VEEP rejected a puppy sent to him as a gift, which dogs were used for political purposes, and more…
Dick Cheney – Yellow Laborador Retriever – “Davey”
Just this past August, Cheney’s yellow lab, Davey, was banned from Camp David after making an unprovoked attack on George W’s Scottish terrier, Barney. In 2008, Davey also came under fire for biting a Reuters reporter on the hand. What can we say? This is one dog that takes after his master!
Al Gore – Black Labrador Retriever – “Shiloh”
Al Gore’s dog, Shiloh, was caught in the middle of a campaign flap, where Gore told seniors in Tallahassee, Florida that his mother-in-law “pays $108 a month for the brand-name drug Lodine, while it only costs $37.80 a month to administer the same drug to his arthritic dog”. The Bush camp accused Gore of “inventing his own facts.”
George HW Bush – Springer Spaniel – “Millie”
“My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos [Bill Clinton and Al Gore],” Bush Sr. once quipped. Millie, who has been dubbed “the most famous dog in White House history,” allegedly penned her own book (Millie’s Book: As Dictated To Barbara Bush) and also starred on episodes of Murphy Brown and Wings. She also has a Texas dog park named after her.
Walter Mondale – Beagle Mix – “Digger”
In Julia Szabo’s The Underdog: A Celebration of Mutts, she recalls how Digger lived in the Vice President’s house and in Tokyo, when he served as ambassador. The dog lived until the ripe old age of 17 and was buried in Japan. The Mondales then named their Minnesota weekend house “Diggerwood” after the family pet.
Gerald Ford – Golden Retriever – “Liberty”
Here Liberty is pictured with Nelson Rockefeller, who loved her as well, but she actually belonged to Gerald. From the get-go, Liberty was a big hit with the media. She had a litter of puppies at the White House (most of which Ford could not part with), swam at Camp David, and frequently played on the White House lawn. SNL frequently parodied the relationship between Ford and his dog. Rumor has it, whenever Ford wanted to end a conversation, he would signal the dog who would begin wagging her tail so enthusiastically, it would create a natural break in talks.
Lyndon B Johnson – Mixed Breed – “Yuki”
Yuki was a mixed breed found by President Johnson’s daughter at a Texas gas station on Thanksgiving Day in 1966. The VEEP also had Beagles (one of which was run over on the White House grounds!) and a rare white Collie named “Blanco”. Dog fanciers were angry when Johnson lifted his Beagle’s ears for a photograph, but he was a known dog lover.
Richard Nixon – Cocker Spaniel – “Checkers”
Nixon was accused of referencing his dog Checkers in a speech to seem like “an everyman wrongfully accused of tainted wealth.” In the speech, Nixon told this story: “One other thing I probably should tell you because if we don’t they’ll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something—a gift—after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was? It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl—Tricia, the 6-year-old—named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.”
Harry Truman – Irish Setter – “Mike”
On Christmas of 1947, an unsolicited gift came to Truman’s White House — an adorable cocker spaniel pup named “Feller” ! Truman didn’t feel the White House was any place for a dog, so he gave the pooch to his family physician… who later handed him off to a Naval Admiral… who then passed the dog to someone else… who passed it to someone else… and finally the forlorn pup made it to a family in Ohio, where he lived out the rest of his days happily. Truman did, however, accept another gift when someone sent Margaret an Irish Setter.
Calvin Coolidge – Collie – “Prudence Prim”
Prudence Prim was the most commonly photographed Coolidge household dog. She was very prim and proper, wearing straw bonnets to garden parties where she would greet each guest in a dignified manner. She was a total mommy’s dog, sleeping by her bed and on her couch at night when no one was looking. She was good friends with their other collie, Rob Roy. The Coolidges essentially ran a zoo, with a menagerie of cats, birds, dogs, a raccoon, a bear, a wallaroo, two lion cubs, a duiker, and pekin ducks.