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First Pets

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President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden love dogs. They have a German shepherd named Major who lives with them at the White House. Their other dog, Champ, died in June at age 13. The dogs are part of a long White House tradition. Over the years, dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and even raccoons have spent time there as First Pets. Read on to learn about five United States presidents and their beloved animals.

President Barack Obama

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Presidential term: 2009–2017

Pets: Two dogs

Fun Fact: While running for office, Obama promised his daughters they could have a dog when the campaign ended, win or lose. In 2009, Bo joined the family at the White House. In 2013, they got another dog, Sunny.

President George W. Bush

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Presidential term: 2001–2009

Pets: Three dogs, one cat

Fun Fact: President George W. Bush became president eight years after his father, George H.W. Bush, left office. George Jr.’s English springer spaniel, Spotty, was a pup of the elder Bush’s dog. Spotty is the only pet who lived in the White House during two administrations.

President John F. Kennedy

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Presidential term: 1961–1963

Pets: Five horses, seven dogs, three birds, two hamsters, one cat, one rabbit

Fun Fact: The Kennedys’ dog Pushinka was a gift from the leader of the Soviet Union. Pushinka’s mother traveled into space with the Soviet space program.

President Calvin Coolidge

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Presidential term: 1923–1929

Pets: Twelve dogs, seven birds, two cats, two raccoons, and more!

Fun Fact: First Lady Grace Coolidge (pictured) brought Rebecca, one of the First Family’s pet raccoons, to the White House Easter Egg Roll.

President Teddy Roosevelt

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Presidential term: 1901–1909

Pets: Five guinea pigs, one bear, one lizard, one pig, one badger, one barn owl, one rabbit, one pony, and more!

Fun Fact: When Roosevelt’s son Archie was sick, his brothers brought their pony into the White House to visit him in his bedroom.

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