King Cole was a breed of dog known as a Belgian Groenendael or Belgian sheepdog, and he was owned by President Calvin Coolidge and his family. King Cole was given to the Coolidges after the departure of Blackberry, a black Chow-chow because the breeder felt that the Coolidges should have dogs of every color.
King Cole was born on May 12th in 1927, and he was bred by breeder E.E. Spafford. Grace Coolidge registered King Cole with the AKC – but as King Cole.
King Cole was reportedly a very nervous dog. On Thanksgiving in 1928, President Coolidge spent some time trapshooting. According to the newspaper The Pittsburgh Press, the sound of the shots frightened King Cole, causing him to break his leash and escape into some nearby woods.
White House staff and Secret service were sent to retrieve the frightened sheepdog, and eventually King Cole was recovered.
In the Milwaukee Sentinel, Grace Coolidge describes the arrival and disposition of King Cole: “Cole black with no touch of other color, we named him King Cole. A little shy, rather bewildered by the noise and confusion of train transit, he arrived on a day when we were having an evening party. Rob Roy had not received the newcomer cordially and during the festivities I shut him in my room to insure his being unmolested. When we came upstairs after the party was over and entered the room, he received us joyfully, putting his front paws upon us, wagging his tail and telling us with little sounds of joy from deep down in his throat that he had decided to be our doggy. But King was born to be somebody’s only dog, and he seemed always to be seeking for some one to love him and him alone.”
Shortly after King Cole’s arrival, the Coolidges decided to take him alone on a weekend trip, infuriating Rob Roy who was usually the chosen dog. When they returned, Grace Coolidge noticed that Rob was sulky and said “gradually he forgave us, but I think he never quite forgot.”
As the Coolidges’ time in the White House was ending, the Coolidges realized that they were going to have to reduce the size of their family. Several dogs were given to family and friends, and King Cole was given special attention. “For King Cole we wanted a home where he would receive the individual attention to answer the wistful look in his eyes,” Grace Coolidge explained. So King Cole was given to a school teacher in Kentucky where “no his education will no doubt be given careful attention.”