Who Are the Top Political Pets?

Sometimes the pets of our political leaders enjoy more popularity than their owners.

These fellas are the top dogs of the political world.


Millie, a spaniel who spent her time in the White House during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, is the first First Dog to write a best-selling book, reaching the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list in 1992. Her full name was Mildred Kerr Bush and her literary success was directly attributed to Barbara Bush who transcribed her work since, obviously, dogs can’t write in coherent words. While campaigning for the presidency in 1992 George Bush stated “My dog Millie knows more about foreign policy than these two Bozos,” referring to Bill Clinton and Al Gore. In her book she (Millie) mentions sitting in on briefings and meetings in the Oval office, along with short breaks for squirrel hunting.


Not to be outdone by dogs, the cat world was represented by Socks, the resident cat of the White House during the Clinton administration. Socks became so popular he had a fan club with a director and staff to handle the more than 200 letters a day received at the White House. In his fan club newsletter—yes, these pets have fan club newsletters and yes, someone else writes them for them—Socks slammed his Republican predecessor Millie. Socks put her down for her “Pat me on the head, I want to be loved attitude.” (Writer’s note: This is the first time I have ever quoted a cat, so please don’t hold me to that.)


There must be something about power and Portuguese Water Dogs that goes together, as recently the breed claimed two world leaders’ homes as their own. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has a Portuguese Water Dog named Kenzie and former President Obama and family had two of the same breed named Bo and Sunny. Of course, now Portuguese Water Dogs are all the rage, especially in Ottawa and Washington D.C.


Over in Russia, the people are falling for their leader’s dogs as well. Vladimir Putin has two dogs, one of which is fueling a new craze for her breed in Russia. Yume is an Akita given to the Russian leader by the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. He also received a Bulgarian Shepherd named Buffy who was a gift from Boyko Borissov, the former Prime Minister of Bulgaria. Previously he had a Black Lab named Connie Paulgrave, Konni for short, who passed in 2014.


Widely known as the most famous Presidential dog to have never lived in the White House, Checkers is more known for a speech given by his owner than for doing any doggie things. Richard Nixon, in responding to a controversy concerning improper reimbursements during his campaign as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice presidential candidate, mentioned Checkers was the one gift he intended to keep. The speech, given on Sept. 23, 1952, was seen or heard by 60 million Americans, which was the largest audience up to that time. It became known as the “Checkers speech” and afforded Nixon a large amount of support for the rest of the campaign. Checkers sadly passed in 1964, just 4 short years before his owner made in to the White House.

photos courtesy Wikipedia

Meet the Author: Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan is a full-time musician along with a humor, travel and outdoor recreation columnist. He's also an avid skier and golfer and has traveled extensively around the U.S, the Caribbean and Europe. His musical career takes him all over the U.S. and his wife drags him everywhere else. His weekly columns “The Life of Ryan” ran in the Transcript and Sentinel newspaper chain for several years and have been featured in the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Mile High Magazine. He is the co-founder, editor and humor columnist for ColoradoLocalLegends.com and currently resides in Morrison, Colorado.

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