It's no secret that the White House has seen its share of presidential pups over the decades, but did you know that several of the founding fathers were real dog enthusiasts? Here's what history reveals:
The Father of the American Foxhound
George Washington was more than the founding father of the nation, he was also the founding father of the American Foxhound. In 1770, Washington imported several European Hounds and then in 1785 he imported several French Hounds from the Marquis de Lafayette. Over the years, he carefully bred and cared for the hounds and they became the ancestors of the breed we have now come to know and love as the American Foxhound.
Over thirty hounds are mentioned in Washington's journals and they had some pretty creative names including "Drunkard," "Tipsy," "Sweet Lips" and Washington's personal favorite, "Vulcan." Apparently, Vulcan was a hound tall enough for a young boy to ride who had a taste for Virginia hams. He would even sneak into the kitchen occasionally in search of his favorite treat. I wonder how many Virginia hams went missing while Washington was in office? That detail seems to be missing from Washington's journals.
Satan in the White House
Let's just start by saying, it's not what you think. John Adams and his wife Abigail were the proud owners of two dogs, the highly esteemed "Juno" and, we're guessing the not-so-highly-esteemed, "Satan." These were the first dogs to actually live at the white house. They resided in the stable Adams built for his horse, "Cleopatra." Abigail once wrote a letter to her granddaughter that mentions Juno, saying, "as you love me proverbially, you must love my dog." Unfortunately, Satan didn't get a mention. Adams' dogs were most likely mixed breeds.
Thomas Jefferson's Briards
While serving as a minister in France, Thomas Jefferson received a special gift, Buzzy the Briard. Buzzy was pregnant and gave birth to two baby Briards as she was crossing the Atlantic on a ship on the way to her new home. Later, he received two more Briards from France to watch over his sheep. Jefferson began his own breeding program here and was a real pet advocate. It was he who publicly supported a law requiring all dogs to wear a collar.
Benjamin Franklin and a Newfoundland
It was actually Benjamin Franklin's son who owned a regal Newfoundland, but we know ol' Ben liked him too. Franklin served as America's first ambassador in Paris and during that time he made quite a few friends. One of his friends later wrote him saying, "nothing shall tempt me to forget your Newfoundland dog."
What can we say? America is a nation of dog-lovers, with a long history to prove it.