Celebrate Presidents’ Day With the Nation’s First Dogs

Bo Obama leads us through a brief history of presidential pooches.


With his tuxedo always ready, Bo Obama, the First Dog of the United States, made his White House debut after the Barack Obama promised his daughters he’d get them a dog if he won the election in 2008. The Portuguese Water Dog is enjoying his second term in office, although it looks like he’ll remain the sole First Dog, as Barack Obama clearly stated his 2012 re-election was not an excuse for a second pooch. Which is probably fine for Bo, who receives quite a bit of attention from his family and the press.

Though Bo is our country’s First Dog, he’s hardly the first dog to occupy the White House. The dog is one of the most popular pets in the United States, so it’s no surprise that our presidents have opened their offices to a canine companion or two (Calvin Coolidge, notably, had a whole menagerie of critters). Here are some of the past First Dogs of the United States of America.

Bernard Bush — or Barney for short — gained some notoriety when he chomped a news reporter’s finger. George W. Bush’s Scottish Terrier also came under fire when White House official Karl Rove and Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the dog for his small size. Barney passed away earlier this month. May he rest in peace.

Buddy was Bill Clinton’s beloved Chocolate Labrador. According to reports, Buddy didn’t get along well with Socks, the First Cat at the time, and the two were relegated to separate quarters of the White House.

Ronald Reagan owned a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Rex. Rex’s bad leash manners once led someone to offer unsolicited advice to hire a trainer, as the little dog was often seen dragging Nancy Reagan across the White House lawns.

Liberty the Golden Retriever gave birth to a litter of puppies during her stay with Gerard Ford. Ford kept one of the puppies, named Misty, while the rest went to good homes. Liberty was supposedly trained to approach guests and distract them with a wagging tail whenever Ford wanted to conclude a conversation in the Oval Office.

Happy Presidents’ (and First Dogs’) Day!

Read more about Bo Obama on Dogster:

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