Ted Kennedy made the gift to the Obama family on April 12, 2009. The Massachusetts Senator had three Portuguese Water Dogs of his own, and one of them (Cappy!) was from the same litter as Bo. Portuguese Water Dogs are considered hypoallergenic, as Malia’s allergies were a major consideration when determining the breed. (It was not feasible to have, as Obama self-derisively put it at the time, “a mutt like me.”)
In August 2013 Bo began sharing the spotlight with Sunny, a female Portuguese Water Dog.
Pets in the White House are a tradition that goes back to Warren G. Harding and his terrier Laddie Boy. Lyndon Johnson had two beagles named Him and Her, and the Clintons had Socks, a tuxedo cat, as well as Buddy, a chocolate Labrador. Calvin Coolidge had a pet raccoon named Rebecca and William Howard Taft had a cow named Pauline Wayne.
Recently Joe Biden brought two German Shepherds, Champ and Major, though there have been some growing pains there.
Some mistakenly call Checkers, a lovable cocker spaniel, a presidential pet, but this is in error. Richard Nixon’s pooch may have been at the center of a campaign finance scandal, but he only lived to see his owner as Vice President.
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