Lifestyle

The 11 Greatest Presidential Pets

As you may already know, we're deep in the process of adopting a whale shark. The office is so giddy we can hardly stand it. What can we say? We've got pet fever. 

Anyway, as we've been Googling animals, pets, etc., we came across some of the best pets in history—namely, the ones who've gotten to call the White House home. Does it surprise you that some of our Commanders in Chief have had some of the finest-named and exotic pets? Probably not.

Do you know where this is going? Course you do. Here, below, are 11 of the best pets who've ever roamed the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Woof woof. 

11. George Washington's American Staghounds

We aren't exactly familiar with our first president's dog of choice, but the names he gave them are among the best. "Sweetlips," "Scentwell," and "Vulcan" set the bar uncomfortably high.

10. John Quincy Adams's Silkworms

Adams the younger had a bunch of silkworms. Though he gave the thread to his wife Louisa to spin, we suspect JQA kept the worms so he could threaten to feed people to them.

9. John F. Kennedy's Rabbit

We knew JFK behaved like a rabbit, but we didn't know that he actually owned one. Amidst a sea of dogs, cats, canaries, ponies, cows, and hamsters, Jack had a bunny he named after one of his alleged mistresses, Zsa Zsa Gabor.

8. Andrew Jackson's Fighting Cocks

Frankly, we're surprised it wasn't dogs. What an awful man. But we don't hold it against his birds.

7. Benjamin Harrison's Opossums

Opossums might not be that crazy, but Ben named them Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection. 

6. James Buchanan's Elephants

The King of Siam was nice enough to give James Buchanan some elephants. However, it is a myth that they were war elephants; they happened to be very peaceful and were donated to the zoo.

5. Herbert Hoover's Gators

President Hoover kept some dogs on the grounds like most presidents, but he had a pair of alligators that his son was very fond of. Sadly, they remain anonymous.

4. Thomas Jefferson's Bears

After an exploration that Tommy had commissioned brought back a pair of grizzly bears, he let them chill out on the White House lawn when they became too big for their cages.

3. Martin Van Buren's Tiger Cubs

Apparently Marty had a pair of tiger cubs for a short spell. He received them from the Sultan of Oman, but Congress made him give them to the zoo, since they were the people's.

2. Teddy Roosevelt's Bear Cub

Besides a zebra, a lion, a hyena, and a coyote hanging out in the White House, some supporters in West Virginia gave Teddy a baby bear named Jonathan Edwards. Teddy bear indeed. His son also used to put his pony in the elevator.

1. Calvin Coolidge's Lion Cubs, Raccoon, and Bear

In what might be the largest presidential power move of all time, Vermonter Calvin Coolidge had a pair of lion cubs. Their names? Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau. There are no photos of Silent Cal and his Simbas, but there is one of his wife and one of their pet raccoons—either Rebecca or Horace. He also had a black bear. Clearly he was better at being a president than everyone else.


Ethan Wolff-Mann is an editor at Supercompressor. He only has a pet aloe plant named Carlos. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.