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From David
20-11-2020   (18:00:20)

Political Pets.

US President-Elect Joe Biden has been in the news for multiple reasons of late, including for his love of dogs.
The 46th president will be taking the first rescue dog into the White House when he and the First Lady take up residence in January. Major, a German shepherd dog (GSD), along with Biden’s other GSD called Champ have gained so much attention over the course of the election campaign that they even have Twitter users creating accounts dedicated to them.

The German shepherd dog is President-elect Biden’s breed of choice.
Photo courtesy Jagodka/

Property experts, Emoov recently valued the White House at almost £400,000,000 as part of their international Ministerial Mansions campaign so the dogs will be living in the lap of luxury. Emoov also decided to take a look at the VIPs (Very Important Pets) of Presidents and Prime Ministers, past and present, from around the world, and here is what has been revealed.


Looking back over the past 230 years, the White House could have been mistaken for a zoo. There may have only been 45 presidents but there have been over 340 White House pets recorded.
The Presidents who had the most pets include Calvin Coolidge who set the record with 43 in total. These ranged from a raccoon to lion cubs and even a pygmy hippo named William Johnson Hippopotamus.
Franklin Roosevelt and his family were well-known for their love of pets. They had 31 during their tenure at the White House. Most notable was Fala, Roosevelt’s Scottish Terrier who travelled around with him wherever he went. The most bizarre was undoubtedly the laughing hyena though, that he was gifted by Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. They also had snakes, a barn owl and a horned frog.
President Woodrow Wilson had six types of pet but ‘one’ of those was a flock of 48 sheep that grazed on the White House lawn.

In brief

* 30 out of 45 Presidents have had at least one dog in the White House.
* Trump and Polk are the only Presidents of the United States not recorded as owning any pets in the White House.
* Rutherford B. Hayes was gifted the first ever Siamese cat to enter America.
* Benjamin Harrison kept two alligators in the White House conservatory.

Two alligators lived in the White House under President Benjamin Harris, who was the 23rd President and in office from 1889-1893.
Photo courtesy reptiles4all/

* John Quincey Adams' wife, Louisa Adams, kept silkworms and spun her own silk.

Read about the cats in Downing Street here


Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, is a huge dog fan and is actively involved in the conservation of many endangered Russian dog breeds. He has had five all together while being PM, four of whom are currently still alive: Buffy (2010), Yume (2012), Verni (2017) and Pasha, who is the newest addition (2019).

Verni as a puppy with President Putin in 2017.
Photo courtesy BY-SA 4.0

Konni, a black female Labrador retriever, was Putin’s first dog in office (1999-2014). She would often accompany him to meet world leaders, even Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel, who later revealed she was phobic about dogs!


In France, a presidential pooch is not only embraced but expected. Every post-war president has appointed a ‘First Dog’.
The most common choice has been a Labrador retriever, but Charles de Gaulle bucked the trend when he accepted a Pembroke Welsh corgi as a gift from Queen Elizabeth. France’s current leader President Macron and his wife have a cross-bred black Labrador retriever-Griffon called Nemo, who found international fame when he interrupted a meeting to urinate on a fireplace!

Pets with power!

Not only have pets been a huge support for government officials around the world, some have even won government seats against human candidates.

* In 1922, voters in Fortaleza, in the state of Ceará, Brazil elected Yo-Yo, the billy-goat, as their city councillor.

The former councillor, elected in 1922 and now to be seen in the Museu do Ceará.
Photo courtesy Mizunoryu/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

* In 2014 the poll in Idyllwild, California saw a golden Labrador retriever named Max II voted in as Mayor for life - you can even request a meeting to see him.

* Then in 2018, a cat, called Sweet Tart, won the election to be mayor of Omena, Michigan.

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