Presidential Pet Quiz: Do you know your White House pets?

More than 400 pets—from patriotic pooches to rowdy raccoons—have roamed the neatly manicured lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and called the White House home. Test your knowledge below.
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Oct 22, 2012
By dvm360.com staff

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Question 1:
What type of pooch is First Dog Bo Obama?

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White House Photo by Pete Souza

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Answer: Portuguese Water Dog

Don’t let the name of his breed fool you, however—Bo doesn’t know how to swim!

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Photo courtesy of the Flickr White House Photo Stream

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Question 2:
Which president was known to walk his pet raccoon on a leash?

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Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

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Answer: Calvin Coolidge

The Coolidges actually owned two pet raccoons, Rebecca and Rueben. (Calivin's wife, Grace, is shown in on the previous page showing off Rebecca.) The “masked” pets slept in an outdoor shed at night but were known to roam the White House during the day.

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Question 3:

What was the name of Richard Nixon’s cocker spaniel, who played a big role in his political career and even had a speech named after him?

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Answer:
Checkers

While running for vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nixon was accused of hiding a secret slush fund. In what’s now known as Nixon’s “Checkers Speech,” Nixon denied having the fund but said there was one present he would not be giving back—his black-and-white dog, Checkers. Lou Carrol, a traveling salesman and Nixon supporter, sent the pup to the White House after reading that the Nixon’s daughters longed for a dog.  

While in the White House, Nixon had three more dogs: Vicki, Pasha, and King Timahoe. The pups are pictured above looking out a White House window.

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Question 4:

Who was the first president to name his dog Fido?

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Answer: Abraham Lincoln

Honest Abe made the name popular in America—Fido is a Latin name that means “I am faithful.” Fido was the first White House pooch to have his photo taken, and that picture is still on display at the Illinois State Historical Society. The statue of Abe and his dog (left) is in front of The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company in Fort Wayne, Ind.

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Question 5:

How many pet alligators and crocodiles have lived in the White House?

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Answer: Three

Two of the pets were crocodiles, belonging to a son of Herbert Hoover (pictured left with his dog King Tut). John Quincy Adams set the standard—his pet alligator lived in a bathroom in the East Room of the White House. He apparently got great pleasure out of scaring his guests with the gator.

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Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

 

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Question 6:

Rutherford B. Hayes is known for having the first cat of this breed in the United States. What was the breed?

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Answer: Siamese

Hayes actually owned two Siamese cats named Siam and Miss Pussy. Apparently they were the first Siamese cats to pounce on American soil—talk about patriotic felines!

Years later, another Siamese graced the White House along with Gerald Ford's family. Gerald's daughter, Susan, poses with Shan the Siamese cat (at left).

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Question 7:

In 1944, rumors flew that Franklin D. Roosevelt (pictured left) accidentally left one of his dogs on an island in the Pacific Ocean. What was this pup’s nickname?


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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Answer:
Fala

Some Republican leaders accused Roosevelt of spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars trying to get Fala back. Roosevelt addressed these attacks in his famous “Fala speech” when he said, “I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself—such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog!”

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Question 8:

Which president outraged animal lovers after he was photographed picking up his two beagles by their ears?

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Answer: Lyndon B. Johnson

Johnson (pictured above in the Oval Office with another pet, Yuki) was shocked by the uproar and later apologized to animal rights organizations. He said he had been picking up the beagles by their ears since they were puppies and thought they liked it.

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Question 9:

Despite his status as Democrat, who received a herd of elephants as a present while in the White House?

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Answer: James Buchanan

Buchanan (pictured left) quickly donated the elephants to a zoo, much to the relief of the housekeeping staff.

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Question 10:

How many pets did John F. Kennedy (pictured above with his family) own when he lived in the White House?

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


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Answer: Almost too many to count

JFK owned five horses and ponies, six dogs (including Pushinka, who was a gift and puppy of the famous Soviet space dog Strelka), one cat, one canary, two parakeets, two hamsters, and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. That's not even counting the puppies born in the White House that his family gave away!

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Question 11:

Which president owned a golden retriever appropriately named Liberty?

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Answer: Gerald Ford

Rumor has it, Ford (pictured left) would signal to Liberty when wanted to wrap up a conversation in the Oval Office. The loyal pup would then approach that guest with his tail wagging, creating a natural break in the conversation.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia