If Shannon was JFK’s favorite dog in the White House, Clipper was First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s favorite.
A gift from her father-in-law, Joseph P. Kennedy, who was the former U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, Clipper frequently kept close by Jackie Kennedy’s side.
An article in the Jan. 27, 1963 edition of The Pittsburgh Press reveals that the First Lady tried to walk Clipper, a German shepherd, outside the White House on at least one occasion.
While near the White House, reporter Merriman Smith, in his “Back Stairs at the White House” column, reported seeing “a casually dressed young woman, hair blowing in the wind, bundled in a well-cut camel’s hair polo coat over trim slacks and wearing dark sunglasses. The day was anything but bright.”
Writing about himself in the third person, Smith reports that he snapped his fingers and made a clucking sound to get the attention of the woman’s young police dog, whereupon “suddenly another man came seemingly from nowhere, positioning himself quickly between the two strollers until the woman was well beyond the fellow who had greeted the pup.
“Our young man stopped abruptly and turned around for another look. It was Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy and her new dog, Clipper, out for a walk with a Secret Service escort.”
The Pittsburgh Press article reveals Mrs. Kennedy’s longing for privacy, as does another piece of news involving Clipper. When a newswoman visiting the White House asked Mrs. Kennedy what Clipper liked to eat, the First Lady showed a bit of the humor by replying, “Reporters.”
German Shepherd Training
Clipper, unique among the Kennedy family’s many dogs, got formal training through an obedience school. Longtime White House dog “wrangler” Traphes Bryant recalled that Mrs. Kennedy “wanted to get Clipper trained.” He said, “She would take the children and go up there and watch the other police dogs training also. I think the children got a big kick out of that.”
The training certainly changed Clipper. “It seemed to help quite a bit,” said Bryant.
Niels V. Casse says
Dear Sir or Madam!
Have you any information that could shed som light on what happened to the many dogs of the Kennedys, after his assassination in 1963, please?
Niels V. Casse
Sharon K. Teach says
I’ve seen numerous photos of Clipper but instead of a German Shepherd, could Clipper have been a Beauceron (the so-called French Shepherd)? Clipper’s eyes, build and coloring look much more like a Beauceron which would have been so appropriate for Mrs. Kennedy.
Tab Marks says
Clipper looks like a European bred working line German Shepherd dog to me. This is what the breed was originally intended to look like.
Beaucerons have floppy ears that are cropped to stand up. This dog’s ears appear to stand erect naturally and don’t look clipped.