The life of a presidential pet in America is pretty sweet. You have a huge house in which to roam about, plenty of people to pet you and you’re admired by the whole country. With the stressful job of leading the United States of America, it’s important for any U.S. president — and his or her family — to have loyal animal companions around. Click through to meet some of the animals who have called the White House home.
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Administration: John. F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
Owner: Caroline Kennedy
Gifted to Caroline Kennedy by Lyndon B. Johnson, Macaroni the pony became quite a celebrity, appearing with his 11-year-old owner on the cover of Life magazine. Macaroni usually was kept at the Kennedy ranch in Virginia, but would often be brought to the White House to graze freely on its grounds.
Pictured: John Fitzgerald Kennedy with Jackie and their two children, Caroline and John-John, and Caroline's pony, Macaroni, on September 30, 1963. (Photo by Robert Knudsen\WHITE HOUSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Dog Breed: Shetland Sheepdog
Administration: Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
Owner: The Coolidge family
Calvin and Grace Coolidge loved the company of animals in the White House, but they had a special affinity for dogs. Specifically, the Coolidges preferred Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, and are partially responsible for making the breeds more popular in America. Calamity Jane came to the Coolidges after the untimely death of their white Collie, Prudence Prim. Though the dog originally was named Diana of Wildwood, the first lady renamed her Calamity Jane because of her inclination to get dirty. In fact, she was first delivered covered in black spots, which Coolidge realized was actually grease after it smeared onto his clothing.
Pictured: This is an undated photo of Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929. (AP Photo/Underwood & Underwood)
Administration: Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Owner: Allan Henry Hoover
Not every presidential pet is cute and fluffy. Herbert Hoover’s second son, Allan Henry Hoover, owned two pet alligators that often roamed the White House grounds. But Hoover wasn’t even the first U.S. president to allow these carnivorous reptiles on White House property. President John Quincy Adams also had a pet alligator, given to him by the General Marquis de Lafayette. Legend has it that he allowed the gator to lounge in the East Room bathtub.
Pictured: Portrait of 31st United States President Herbert Hoover. (1929-1933) (Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)
Cat Breed: Siamese
Administration: Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Owner: Susan Ford
President Ford’s daughter Susan was an animal lover with a particular affection for cats. Her miniature Siamese cat Shan lived with the Fords in Arlington, Virginia, then moved with them into the White House after Ford’s election. The pair were very close, with Shan sleeping in Susan’s bed. During the day, the cat often hid under Susan's bed to avoid the family’s Golden Retriever, Liberty. The cat’s full name, Shan Shein, is named after a town the Ford family visited in China.
Pictured: Portrait of the the Ford family at home, Alexandria, Virginia, November 1973. Standing, left to right, sons Steven Ford and John Ford; sitting, left to right, daughter Susan Ford, wife Betty Ford, and husband House Minority Leader Gerald Ford. Susan holds Shan, her Siamese cat. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Dog Breed: Irish Setter
Administration: Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Owner: The Nixon family
Nixon’s Irish Setter, Timahoe (Tim for short), shared the White House with two other dogs, but his regal appearance and presence during photo ops made him a much more public figure. Nixon named the dog Timahoe after the hamlet in County Kildare, Ireland, where his family is from. Though most people associate Nixon with his dog Checkers, that dog never lived in the White House. He was Nixon’s dog when Nixon was Vice President. Tim lived a long, happy life before dying in 1979 at the age of 11.
Pictured: President Nixon romps on the floor of the White House with his Irish setter, King Timahoe, as members of the First Family look on during the taping of a "Christmas at the White House," a CBS News Special Report to be broadcast Christmas Eve on Dec. 20, 1971, in Washington. (AP Photo)
Dog breed: Mixed
Administration: Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969)
Owner: The Johnson family
This lively little mutt made his way into the Oval Office after President Johnson’s daughter Luci found him in the parking lot of a Texas gas station in 1966. Though he was first Luci’s companion, he quickly won the President’s heart and officially became LBJ's dog in 1967. Yuki even flew on Air Force One back to Johnson’s ranch after his term ended in 1969.
Pictured: President Lyndon Johnson took time from his busy schedule, to feed his nine-month-old grandson, Lyn Nugent, in the White House Rose Garden, March 29, 1968, in Washington. The food was cream topped gelatin and cookies. Waiting and hoping for a share is Yuki, the President's constant companion. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)
Dog Breed: English Springer Spaniel
Administration: George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)
Owner: The Bush family
Millie is one of the most famous presidential pets of all time. She even published a memoir (with the help of Barbara Bush) that reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 1992. Millie was known for her intelligence, and her presidential owner once said, “My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos,” in reference to Bush’s rival candidates Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
Pictured: In this Aug. 24, 1992, file photo, President Bush and first lady Barbara Bush walk with Millie across the South Lawn as they return to the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite, File)
Dog Breed: Weimaraner
Administration: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
Owner: The Eisenhower family
Weimaraners were fairly rare dogs in the U.S. when the Eisenhowers brought Heidi home in 1955. Back in Eisenhower’s day, Heidi had full run of the White House, and would often insert herself in front of the photographers jockeying for pics of the president. Heidi eventually was sent to Eisenhower’s farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, after her weak bladder stained an expensive rug in a diplomatic reception room.
Pictured: First lady Mamie Eisenhower (1896–1979) holds a pair of toy airplanes as she stands outside the White House with her granddaughter Barbara Anne and the Eisenhower's pet weimaraner Heidi, Washington D.C., 1958. (Photo by Ed Clark/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Dog Breed: Chocolate Lab
Administration: Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Owner: The Clinton family
Buddy, a male chocolate lab, came to live with the Clintons in 1997 when he was a 3-month-old puppy. He was named after Bill Clinton’s great uncle Henry Oren "Buddy" Grisham, and was one of two family pets owned by the Clintons. Their other pet, Socks the cat, didn’t care much for Buddy, so the two had to be separated. Sadly, Buddy died at the young age of 4 after he was hurt in an accident involving a contractor's car.
Pictured: Pres. Bill Clinton reaching out to pet his dog Buddy on the White House lawn. (Photo by Dirck Halstead//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Next: Cats of the White House
BO AND SUNNY
Dog Breed: Portuguese Water Dog
Administration: Barack Obama (2009-Present)
Owner: The Obama family
It’s difficult to talk about presidential pets without mentioning the Obama family’s Portuguese Water Dogs, Bo and Sunny. Bo was the first pet to grace the Obama White House, joining the family as a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy in 2009. Bo gained attention accompanying first lady Michelle Obama to book readings, and romping around with Obama daughters Malia and Sasha on the White House lawn. Sunny was added to the household in 2013 to give Bo a buddy to play with.
Pictured: Presidential dogs Sunny and Bo during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 21, 2014, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)