Donald Trump was certainly something of an anomaly among U.S. presidents for a host of reasons, including the fact that he was the first American commander-in-chief without a pet since the 1800s. Indeed, Trump was pressured into adopting a furry companion since he took office and he eventually told rallygoers it would feel “phony” to have a dog and that “while he wouldn’t mind having one, he wouldn’t have the time”. That certainly broke with a long tradition and Trump was the first U.S. president in over a century without an official dog. The status quo is set to be restored once Joe Biden moves into the White House, however, as two dogs are part of the new first family.
The two German Shepards are named Champ and Major with the latter set to become the first rescue dog ever to take up residence in the White House. Washington D.C. is nothing new for Champ and he previously lived with the Bidens at One Observatory Circle during the Obama administration. U.S. presidents have always loved pets and dogs in particular, though some White House occupants kept more extravagant creatures at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue down through the years according to a list maintained by the Presidential Pet Museum. They range from the many horses owned by George Washington to an alligator Maquis de Lafayette gifted to John Quincy Adams. Apparently, the gator lived in one of the White House toilets, terrifying some of the guests.
The following infographic provides an overview of the types of pets kept by U.S. presidents since 1789, as reported by the Presidential Pet Museum. It is important to note that it is not always possible to cite the exact number of animals in some cases. For example, some obscure presidents kept an undetermined number of songbirds while nobody has details regarding the herd of sheep that Woodrow Wilson used to allow graze on the White House lawn. There is photographic evidence that the sheep indeed existed but there are no records as to the precise number of animals Wilson kept.
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)