The Presidential Pet Museum is currently closed for renovations. It was founded in 1999 as a means of preserving information, artifacts, and items related to the presidential pets.
Hundreds of items of interest are displayed for lovers of pets, presidents, and pet trivia. Children learn by association, and what better way to educate visitors about our presidency than through the White House pets.
Nearly every president had a pet — either exotic or common — and you can learn about all of them here on our website.
Rest in Peace Champ
First Dog Champ Biden, the President and First Lady’s “constant, cherished companion” for 13 years passed away on Saturday, June 19th.
Champ joined the Biden family in 2008, the year President Barack Obama was elected president when Mr. Biden first became VP, and was named in tribute to President Biden’s father, who when life was difficult would encourage his son with the words, “Get up, champ.”
As a puppy, Champ played on the lawn of the Naval Observatory with the then Vice President’s grandchildren. Later in life, Champ was known to lounge in front of the fireplace at the president’s feet. “Everything was instantly better when he was next to us,” the President was quoted as saying.
Champ was one of two German shepherds living at the White House, the other was his pal Major. Until the last administration it had been more than 150 years—since Andrew Johnson in the 1860s—that the White House was absent a pet. Champ and Major were happy to fulfill the role of the first First Pets to reside in the white house since President Obama and First Lady Michelle’s beloved dogs Sunny and Bo were in residence.
The Bidens said in a statement, “In our most joyful moments and in our most grief-stricken days, [Champ] was there with us, sensitive to our every unspoken feeling and emotion. We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always.”
There have been murmurings that a First Cat may grace the halls of the White House in the future. Though nothing will replace the wagging tail and and friendly nuzzles from First Dog Champ, as we at the Presidential Pet Museum know to be true, houses—including White Houses—are happier when you’ve got a furry (or scaly, or feathery, or…) friend to come home to.
Our family lost our loving companion Champ today. I will miss him. pic.twitter.com/sePqXBIAsE
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 19, 2021
The Presidential Pet Museum highlights past and current White House pets:
See a strange portrait of President Reagan’s Lucky made from the dog’s own hair.
Check out the original cowbell that hung around the neck of Pauline Wayne, the last cow to graze the White House lawn.
In the News
After four years of a pet-free White House, the country is excited to have the pitter patter of four feet in the nation’s home! And who does everyone come to for information on Presidential Pets? Our Museum of course 🙂 Check out who we’ve been talking to:
- CBS Sunday Morning “The Pet Project” On Air Interview
- CBS News Monday Night
- Time Magazine – Article and video interview 11/9/20
- Washington Post
- Boston Globe
- New York Times 11/8/20
- New York Times 11/28/20
- WAMU NPR 12/21/20
- Yahoo Noticias (Yahoo News – Spanish)
- NewTV – Newton MA local TV station
- Frankfurter Rundschau – German Newspaper
- KPCC Radio Michigan
- Radio New Zealand
Presidential Pet Fiction
Enjoy this fun fictitious series of stories about some actual Presidential Pets!
Presidential Pet Museum’s Historian’s NEW book now available!
From historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum, Andrew Hager, comes a fond, fascinating, and often surprising look at the dogs who were the best friends of the presidents, featuring unforgettable photographs.
President Biden’s German shepherds, Commander, Major, and the late Champ, are the latest in a long line of presidential dogs. Dating all the way back to George Washington, dogs have been constant companions to nearly all of America’s presidents. Of the past 46 presidents, 31 have had at least one dog at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Organized by historical eras, All-American Dogs will take readers through the captivating history of the White House’s four-legged friends, the impact they had on their owner-in-chiefs, and, ultimately, American history. From the assassination of President’s Lincoln’s dog after Lincoln’s own death to President’s Hoover’s Belgian shepherd, King Tut, who helped Hoover win the 1928 election after appearing in a campaign photo, these furry members of the first family often had a lasting impact on the administrations that kept them.
The book includes original research and rare photographs from the National Archives to trace the history of America’s first dogs. From post-Revolutionary dogs, to Civil War era dogs, to Cold War dogs, Hager will show the differences and similarities of how our nation viewed man’s best friend.
Readers will learn not only past presidents’ dogs in each historical era, but also the cultural history of dogs as pets, and the ways in which Americans’ relationships with dogs has evolved over the past two centuries.
Presidential Pet Books on Amazon
Enjoy these Paperbacks and eBooks about pets in the White House