In Celebration of “Dogs in Politics Day”: We Present the Top 10 Presidential Pets

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Today is Dogs in Politics Day better known on Capitol Hill as National Checkers Day.

While staffers and members of Congress celebrated the 18th annual Pet Night and 6th Annual Cutest Pet last Thursday night on Capitol Hill , with Barbara Boxer’s dog Phineas taking top honor according to Leeann Doerflein of the Hill, these precious pooches, cats and bunnies as adorable as they may be nevertheless concede the honor of top dog in DC to the First Dog/PAWTUS  over at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave with the biggest and baddest doghouse around.

The story behind “Dogs in Politics Day” or “National Checkers Day” goes that good old Tricky Dick Nixon got himself in trouble for receiving inappropriate campaign contributions as the Vice Presidential nominee.  Facing the prospect of being kicked off the ticket, he holds a press conference and says he will give it all back, everything  except his Cocker Spaniel Checkers, which he also received as a gift.  He claims his kids bonded with the dog (what kid wouldn’t) and he was not giving it back.  The 60 million people watching loved it and he stays on the ticket.  That is the power of pets.

In honor of Checker’s, below are the top 10 presidential pets, kicking it off with Checker’s.  Even though it is his day, it doesn’t make him #1.

10. Buddy, Chocolate Lab, Bill Clinton – Who doesn’t like a chocolate lab? While Buddy’s buddy Bill might have adopted the loveable little guy to earn a little public sympathy for his unloveable “relations’ with a certain intern, one thing is for sure — it worked.

9. Liberty, Golden Retriever, Gerald Ford – how can you not love the name?

8. Yuki, Mixed, LBJ – LBJ found Yuki on a Thanksgiving Day in Texas and the two of them howled together frequently.

7. Rex, Cavalier King Charles – Ronald Reagan – As official first dog, Rex’s responsibilities included helping to light the National Christmas Tree, which explains his love of red.

6. Millie, Springer Spaniel, George H. W. Bush –  the first and only first pooch to make the leap into literature with “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush.”

5. Checkers, Cocker Spaniel, Richard Nixon – the dog that started today.

4. Bo, Portugese Water Dog, Barack Obama – Yeah yeah…we know, what about Sunny….with all due respect to the lil’ sis, Bo is the OG and official “First Dog”..  As far as Obama, love him or hate him, let’s give it up to POTUS for being a major dog lover.

3. Fala, Scottish Terrier, FDR – this little guy made presidential trips at home and abroad.

2. Heidi, Weimaraner, Dwight D. Eisenhower – Quoting Dwight, ‘She is beautiful and well behaved occasionally she tends towards stubbornness but then is immediately apologetic about it.”

1. Sweetlips, Scentwell, and Vulcan, American Staghounds, George Washington – You still have to give credit to the first president.  Without these pups, we may still be British.

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