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White House pets

Virginia Chavez is a Phoenix-based freelance writer covering pets and lifestyle in the Southwest. In addition to regular contributions both online and in-print, Virginia locally owns and operates two pet care and supply businesses. For t...

Famous presidential pets

Behind every good leader stands a four-legged companion. In honor of President’s Day, let’s celebrate the true leaders of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with this roundup of famous White House pets.

President
Barack Obama

President: Barack Obama

Time in office: 2009 – present
Pet name: Bo
Breed: Portuguese water dog

Key traits and accomplishments: Portuguese water dogs are known for extraordinary swimming skills and as incredibly hard workers. Whether he's patiently awaiting his master after a long meeting or joining in on family trips to the coast, First Pet Bo showcases his natural talents in and out of the Oval Office.

Photo credit: Pete Souza, official White House photo

President
George W. Bush

President: George W. Bush and Barney

Time in office: 2001 - 2009
Pet names: Barney and Miss Beazley
Breed: Scottish terrier

Key traits and accomplishments: A natural--born winner, the Scottish terrier, better known as the Scottie, is the only breed that has served three terms in the White House. This outgoing breed is likely to do well in the limelight but Barney and Miss Beazley took it to the next level with their very own web pages.

Photo credit: White House photo by Eric Draper

President
Bill Clinton

President:  Bill Clinton witth Socks and Buddy

Time in office: 1993 – 2001
Pet names: Socks and Buddy
Breed: Unknown feline and chocolate Labrador

Key traits and accomplishments: Socks' lovable yet independent spirit, much like many feline companions, landed him a job as the official spokescat of the Clinton administration. Unfortunately, his love of the spotlight allowed little room in his heart for his new canine brother Buddy, who was overshadowed by Socks' fame in the Oval Office.

Photo credits: Barbara Kinney, official White House photo

President
George H.W. Bush

President: George H.W. Bush

Time in office: 1989 – 1993
Pet name: Millie
Breed: Springer spaniel

Key traits and accomplishments: Gentle, friendly and smart, springer spaniels make loyal companions for all families. Presidential spaniels take these talents to the highest level. Millie, of the first Bush administration, is famously known for her excellent writing skills showcased by her self-titled memoir Millie's Book. The book, dedicated to First Lady Barbara Bush, became the first canine-published book.

Photo credit: Official White House photo

President
Ronald Reagan

President: Ronald Reagan

Time in office: 1981 – 1989
Pet name: Rex
Breed: King Charles spaniel

Key traits and accomplishments: With a breed named after royalty, Rex, the King Charles spaniel, was naturally fit for a presidential lifestyle. A gift from President Reagan to his wife, Nancy, Rex became the official pet of the White House, with an extravagant dog house fit for a king. Taking on a big responsibility during his first week in office, Rex was inducted to the family by throwing the switch that lit the national Christmas tree in 1985.

Photo credit: Official White House Photo

President
Lyndon B. Johnson

President:  Lyndon B. Johnson

Time in office: 1963 - 1968
Pet names: Him and Her
Breed: Beagles

Key traits and accomplishments: Don't let their nondescript monikers fool you -- these beagles were true exemplars of the breed's sociable and loving nature. The natural charisma and sweet nature of both Him and Her landed these two famous Beagles a cover shot in Life magazine.

Photo credit: LBJ Library by Cecil Stoughton

Watch: Bo Obama arrives at White House

Up close and personal with the Obama family and the new presidential pup, Bo Obama, the day he first arrived at the White House.

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