Monday, May 7, 2012

Large Breed Presidential Dogs

We know that it's common for the presidential family to own a dog or three, and I decided to do some research to determine which previous president wins my "Large Dog Owner award", and along the way I discovered a president who won a dishonorable mention as well.  The winner of my "Large Dog Owner Award" turned out to be a tie between Lincoln and Hoover:

Abraham Lincoln was the only President I could find who truly owned a large breed "mutt".  "Fido" was likely a retriever/shepherd mix. 
Herbert Hoover ties with Abe in the large dog category.  While he did own a fox terrier as well, he had a German Shepherd, an Elkhound, and an Irish Wolfhound.  Surely he was the most significant large breed lover who ever sat in the oval office.  I wish I could go back in time and be his presidential dog nanny.. how awesome would that be?
Calvin Coolidge comes in a close second with his "White Collie".  This tugs on my heart strings because this pooch really looks like some kind of a Great Pyrenees mix. He has great taste in dogs!

JFK was no stranger to dogs, and owned a German Shepherd in addition to a slew of others.  JFK definitely was the spokesperson for "You can't have just one".
Gerald Ford wins an honorary award for the best presidential dog name, "Liberty", his Golden.
Let's thank our founding father, George, for setting a dog precedence in the White House with his American Foxhound (and love for hounds in general)
Honorable mentions go out to Warren G. Harding for his Airedale, Nixon for his Irish Setter, Reagan for his Bouvier de Flandres, and Clinton for his chocolate Lab. 

If worsening early Cold War tensions weren't enough, Truman gets his Dishonorable mention here for "Feller", his Cocker Spaniel.  Yes, not a large breed, but this is the only thing I've ever read regarding dogs and a President that made me so sad.  (Leaving out Presidential hopefuls who let their dogs ride in kennels on the roof of their car).  Truman is credited as saying "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog".  Apparently he did *not* want his dog Feller who was given to him, and he surrendered him.  Feller would be rehomed several times until finally finding a forever home. He would be sadly referred to as the "Unwanted Dog".  Apparently he *did not* want a friend in DC.  I know Cockers can be barkers, but Congress barks much worse.

I am hoping that the next open spot in DC for a presidential family dog will be adopted from a shelter.  People have the right to do what they want, but I for one would be greatly impressed by the message this sends to the American people.  Let's tell the next president loudly and clearly, "Don't shop, Adopt".  I know some people would absolutely lose their minds, but I'm hoping for a "pit bull" rescue in the oval office.  But of course, if our next president is to have superb taste and intellect, we'll likely see a Great Pyrenees/GP mix.

-Shannon Murphy

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