president's day pets


Happy President’s Day

President’s Day is just around the corner, and that reminded us of something. Over the years, our esteemed presidents have brought a myriad of fascinating pets into the White House. In the spirit of celebration, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the most interesting and share them with you here today. Here it is, just for you: our list of the top 10 Presidential Pets. Enjoy!

Top 10 Presidential Pets

1)  A Penchant for Parrots

Two of our most esteemed early first ladies, Martha Washington and Dolly Madison, kept parrots as pets during their husband’s time in office.

2)  Big Birds

Clearly, birds were big in the 1800’s. President Thomas Jefferson was also a fan, himself keeping a pet Mockingbird during his time in the oval office.

3)  My, What Lovely Teeth You Have

Among the oddest (and most dangerous) of early presidential pets belonged to President John Quincy Adams, who was gifted an alligator by the Marquis de Lafayette.

4) Country Chic: The Early Days

Believe it or not, there was a time when Washington D.C. had a bit more of a rural feel. If you had been around during the time of President William Henry Harrison, the Billy goat and Durham cow kept on the premises certainly went a long way to reinforce this “country chic” aesthetic.

5) A Practical Presidency

In keeping with the rural theme, would you believe there was a time when it was considered prudent to keep a herd of sheep on the White House grounds for lawn maintenance? In his eight years in office between 1913 and 1921, President Woodrow Wilson certainly thought so. Talk about practical budget cut ideas!

6) To the Zoo

President Martin Van Buren was gifted a pair of tiger cubs by the Sultan of Oman.  Congress wasted no time in mandating he donate them to a local zoo.

7) The President and His Elephant

A Herd of Elephants was gifted to President James Buchanan from the King of Siam. Somehow, congress did not opt to interfere with this very large gift. President Buchanan chose to keep one elephant at the White House, along with his two Bald Eagles and an enormous Newfoundland dog.

8) An Exotic Collector

President Rutherford Hayes is credited for bringing the Siamese cat to America, as the first owner of the exotic breed. Also among his collection was a number of Jersey cows, a goat, several canaries, and a mockingbird, among other animals.

9) Most Presidential Pets Award

The winner of the award for most pets would have to be the somewhat wild and adventurous President Theodore Roosevelt. He literally kept a presidential zoo on the White House grounds. The famous residents included snakes, a zebra, a lion, a hyena, a badger and five bears. He also kept quite a menagerie of non-exotic, domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, horses, birds, rats and guinea pigs.

10) Cool Cal & Zoo #2

Following in President Teddy Roosevelt’s footsteps, President Calvin Coolidge also kept a large collection of animals at the White House, amounting to another actual zoo. His stock included an array of dog breeds, bird species, domesticated raccoons, a bobcat, a wallaby, a pygmy hippo, and a bear.

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