White House Pets (1789-1850)

BROWSE: 1789-1850 | 1850-1889 | 1889-1953 | 1953-present

President Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850 (bio)

Old Whitey, a wartime mount
Apollo, a former circus pony

President James K. Polk, 1845-1849 (bio)

It is said President Polk learned to ride before he could walk and had a great love of horses, but no White House pets were noted during his administration.

President John Tyler, 1841-1845 (bio)

The General, a horse
A pair of wolfhounds that President John Tyler imported for his second wife, Julia
An Italian greyhound named Le Beau came from the consul of Naples “to grace the White House Lawn”
Also, a short-lived canary, Johnny Ty, who died shortly after they tried to pair him with a mate only to discover it too was a male

When The General died, Tyler had a grave dug on his estate, Sherwood. Over the grave, he had a headstone placed with the following inscription: “Here lies the body of my good horse ‘The General.’ For twenty years he bore me around the circuit of my practice, and in all that time he never made a blunder. Would that his master could say the same! John Tyler.”

President William Henry Harrison, 1841 (bio)

Billy goat
Sukey, a Durham cow

President Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841 (bio)

A pair of tiger cubs given to him by the Sultan of Oman that Congress made him send to the zoo

President Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837 (bio)

Sam Patch, horse
Emily, Lady Nashville and Bolivia, racing fillies
Thruxton, a champion racehorse
Poll, a parrot that was taught to swear

President John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829 (bio)

Alligator given to him by the Marquis de Lafayette. The gator actually lived in a White House bathroom, leaving some guests terrified.
Silkworms belonging to Mrs. Louisa Adams

President James Monroe, 1817-1825 (bio)

Spaniel belonging to Maria Monroe

President James Madison, 1809-1817 (bio)

Green parrot belonging to Mrs. Dolley Madison

President Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809 (bio)

Dick, a mockingbird
Two bear cubs
Caractacus, a horse

President John Adams, 1797-1801 (bio)

Favorite horse, Cleopatra (John Adams built the first White House stables)
Juno and Satan, Abigail Adams’s two mixed-breed dogs

President George Washington, 1789-1797 (bio)

Samson, Steady, Leonidas, Traveller, Magnolia and other stallions
Nelson and Blueskin, horses used during the American Revolution
A horse given to Washington by Gen. Braddock

Drunkard, Mopsey, Taster, Cloe, Tipsy, Tipler, Forester, Captain, Lady Rover, Vulcan, Sweetlips, and Searcher, all hounds

Five French hounds
Rozinante, Nellie Custis’s horse
A parrot belonging to Mrs. Martha Washington

Our comprehensive list of White House pets begins here...
1789-1850 | 1850-1889 | 1889-1953 | 1953-present