National Dogs in Politics Day -- Sept. 23

Posted by Ashley L. on Oct 20, 2022

On September 23, 1952, Richard Nixon (then a senator) spoke about utilizing campaign cash for personal use. A Texas fan brought his family a dog, he said. His daughter called the cocker spaniel Checkers. He responded, "We'll keep it no matter what." Supporters across were enthusiastic. This address was called the "Checkers Speech," and since then, we've celebrated National Checkers Day. In Williamsburg, Virginia, you may learn about prior First Dogs at "The Presidential Pet Museum" (FDOTUS).

In U.S. history, dogs have impacted history and speeches, frequently for the better. Citizens love to see that presidents are just like us, and love their pooches. It was believed that FDR abandoned his dog Fala on the Aleutian Islands and a Navy ship picked him up. He said, "...I don't resent attacks...but Fala does resent them...his Scotch soul was furious...But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog."

33 out of 46 presidents have had a dog while serving in the White House. Here is a list of the presidents and the number of dogs they owned:

  • George Washington, 1st President, 7 dogs
  • John Adams, 2nd President, 3 dogs
  • Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President, at least 2 dogs
  • James Monroe, 5th President, 2 dogs
  • John Tyler, 10th President, 1 dog
  • Franklin Pierce, 14th President, 7 dogs
  • James Buchanan, 15th President, 2 dogs
  • Abraham Lincoln, 16th President, 2 dogs
  • Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President, 2 dogs
  • Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President, 8 dogs
  • James Garfield, 20th President, 1 dog
  • Grover Cleveland, 22nd & 24th President, 4 dogs
  • Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President, 1 dog
  • Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President, 10 dogs
  • William Howard Taft, 27th President, 1 dog
  • Woodrow Wilson, 28th President, 2 dogs
  • Warren G. Harding, 29th President, 2 dogs
  • Calvin Coolidge, 30th President, 12 dogs
  • Herbert Hoover, 31st President, 9 dogs
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President, 7 dogs
  • Harry Truman, 33rd President, 2 dogs
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President, 1 dog
  • John F. Kennedy, 35th President, 11 dogs
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President, 6 dogs
  • Gerald Ford, 38th President, 3 dogs
  • Jimmy Carter, 39th President, 2 dogs
  • Ronald Reagan, 40th President, 6 dogs
  • George H.W. Bush, 41st President, 2 dogs
  • Bill Clinton, 42nd President, 1 dog
  • George W. Bush, 43rd President, 3 dogs
  • Barack Obama, 44th President, 2 dogs
  • Joe Biden, 46th President, 2 dogs
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