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Fun Facts About First Pets

The majority of families own pets, but did you know that almost all of our 44 presidents have had them as well? In fact, only James K. Polk didn’t have any pets while holding the presidency!

More than 200 pets have lived in the White House and some have even become so popular that they received letters from fans. If you’re interested in learning more about the White House pets, you should know that there’s a whole museum dedicated to them called the Presidential Pet Museum! Meanwhile, here are some fun facts about First Pets both past and present:

Dogs are definitely the most popular choice for presidential pets. The current First Pets, Bo and Sunny, are Portugese water dogs that were specifically chosen after a lot of consideration, since Malia Obama has allergies. One of the most popular presidential pups is Fala, a Scottish terrier owned by Franklin Delano Roosevelt or FDR. Every morning, Fala would be given a bone placed on the president’s breakfast tray and after that, would spend the rest of the day hounding the staff for more food. Fala was so famous that a secretary was hired just to attend to the fan letters being sent every week.

Did you know that we had a presidential goat? President Benjamin Harrison had a goat called Old Whiskers who was kept to trim the White House lawn. One of our presidents also kept a cow called Pauline Wayne — President William Howard Taft kept her on White House property to provide milk for the First Family before she was eventually moved away.

Our first president, George Washington, kept several horses and preferred them over other types of pets. Many of his horses were used during the Revolutionary War, such as Magnolia, Samson, Leonidas and Steady. Other presidential horses kept on the White House included Macaroni, a pony given Caroline, John F. Kennedy’s daughter, and the ponies of Tad, Abraham Lincoln’s son.

Horsing around. George Washington preferred horses as pets. He kept several that had been used in the Revolutionary War, including Samson, Steady, Leonidas and Magnolia. Other famous horses at the White House were the pet ponies of Abraham Lincoln’s son Tad, and Macaroni, a pony owned by John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline.

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