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All the President’s Pets

All the President’s Pets

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday. We celebrate it on the third Monday of February. That’s because two of our most famous presidents -- George Washington and Abraham Lincoln -- were born in this month.

It’s also National Love Your Pet Day. But is that day really necessary? We might honor our presidents once a year, but we love our pets every day!

Even presidents love their pets. Some presidential pets have even become legendary.

first pets Uncle Goose

Our first president, George Washington, created the first official American dog breed. He crossed a French hound with his black and tan hounds. This made the American Foxhound. Washington named two of the first hounds Sweet Lips and Searcher.

Do you think those are unusual names? Hold on a sec. 

Our first president also owned more than 30 different dogs during his lifetime. He gave them creative names like Drunkard, Mopsey, Taster, Cloe, Tipsy, Tipler, Forester, Captain, Lady Rover, and Vulcan.

Throughout his life, Washington also owned many horses. Nelson was Washington’s Revolutionary War steed. Nelson became Washington’s horse while he was president, too.

And Washington’s wife Martha? She had a parrot named Polly.

first pets

Not to be outdone in the pet department, Abraham Lincoln and his family had a lot of pets. They had dogs, cats, ponies, rabbits, goats — and even a turkey and a pig!

One day, a citizen sent a live turkey to Lincoln for Thanksgiving. Lincoln’s 10-year-old son Tad named this bird Jack. Tad begged his dad not to kill his new friend Jack. Legend has it that this is how American presidents got the tradition of writing pardons for Thanksgiving turkeys.

Another citizen from Mississippi once sent President Calvin Coolidge a raccoon to eat for Thanksgiving. But instead of turning the raccoon into dinner, the Coolidges turned her into a pet. They named her Rebecca.

The Coolidges had more than 25 pets at the White House. They had dogs, bears, canaries, a goose, a thrush, a mockingbird, an antelope, a donkey, a bobcat, lions, a pygmy hippo, and a wallaby.

The South African government sent two twin lion cubs to Silent Cal. Coolidge called them “Budget Bureau” and “Tax Reduction.” He said he fed them equally, to keep them in balance.

The US has had 46 presidents so far, and almost all of them had pets! You can explore all the president’s pet with First Pets blocks by Uncle Goose.