Although President Coolidge had a soft spot for dogs. In fact, about a dozen dogs — and a menagerie of other animals — made their home at the White House during his administration.
Here is what the president himself had to say about the White House pet population:
“A great many presents come to the White House which are all cherished, not so much for their intrinsic value as because they are tokens of esteem and affection…. But some of the pets that are offered us are more of a problem. I have a beautiful black-haired bear that was brought all the way from Mexico in a truck, and a pair of live lion cubs now grown up, and a small species of hippopotamus which came from South Africa.”
Tiny Tim was a red chow puppy who was a birthday gift for the president. Apparently the dog and President Coolidge shared the same birthday — the Fourth of July.
Although some accounts report that Tiny Tim earned the nickname “Terrible Tim” for his household antics, the dog was still very much part of the family after the Coolidges left the White House.
In a March 7, 1929, Associated Press article, Coolidge is reported to have opened his front door on his first morning back to being a private citizen to get his newspaper and to let “Tiny Tim, the Coolidge Chow dog, out for a bit of exercise, and then stood on the porch for several minutes inhaling the fresh air. He then whistled to the dog and went in to breakfast.”
The Coolidge family, who also had a chow named Blackberry, was instrumental in introducing the breed to most Americans. Although a chow named Takya was the first chow to be exhibited in the United States and won third prize in the Miscellaneous class at a Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1890, it wasn’t until people saw photos of Tiny Tim that the breed a became popular choice for a pet here.