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Today is Dogs in Politics Day!

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NATIONAL CHECKERS DAY AND DOGS IN POLITICS DAY

Annually celebrated on September 23, it is National Checkers Day which is also known as Dogs in Politics Day.

On September 23, 1952, Vice President candidate, Richard Nixon, gave a speech that was call the “Checkers Speech”. He had been accused of improprieties relating to a fund established by his backers to reimburse him for his political expenses. Wanting to defend himself as his place on the Republican ticket was in doubt, he flew to Los Angeles and delivered a half-hour television address. It was in this speech that Nixon stated that regardless of what anyone said, he intended to keep one gift; a black-and-white dog that had been name Checkers by the Nixon children, thus giving the speech its popular name.

The “Checkers Speech” was seen, or heard, by about 60 million Americans, including the largest television audience to that time and it led to an outpouring of public support.

With Checkers the dog in the speech, that is also how it come to share the name Dogs in Politics Day.

 

Having a dog in the White House is nothing new, as 32 U.S. presidents undoubtedly found comfort in the loyalty, friendship, and unconditional love of “man’s best friend:”

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George Washington (no party): 1st U.S. President (1789-1797)
Sweet Lips, Scentwell and Vulcan: American Staghounds 
Drunkard, Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy: Black and Tan Coonhounds

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John Adams (Federalist): 2nd U.S. President (1797-1801)
Juno and Satan: Dogs

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Thomas Jefferson (Democrat-Republican): 3rd U.S. President (1801-1809)
Buzzy and unknown: Briards

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James Monroe (Democrat-Republican): 5th U.S. President (1817-1825)
Buddy: Spaniel

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John Tyler (Whig-no party): 10th U.S. President (1841-1845)
Le Beau: Italian Greyhound

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Franklin Pierce (D): 14th U.S. President (1853-1857)
Seven miniature Oriental dogs

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James Buchanan (D): 15th U.S. President (1857-1861)
Lara: Newfoundland
Punch: Toy Terrier

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Abraham Lincoln (R): 16th U.S. President (1861-1865)
Fido: Dog

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Ulysses S. Grant (R): 18th U.S. President (1869-1877)
Faithful: Newfoundland
Rosie: Dog

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Rutherford B. Hayes (R): 19th U.S. President (1877-1881)
Dot: Cocker Spaniel
Hector: Newfoundland
Duke: English Mastiff
Grim: Greyhound
Juno and Shep: Hunting dogs
Jet: Dog

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James A. Garfield (R): 20th U.S. President (1881-1881)
Veto: Dog

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Grover Cleveland (D): 22nd & 24th U.S. President (1885-89/1893-97)
Poodle

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Benjamin Harrison (R): 23rd U.S. President (1889-1893)
Dash: Collie

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Theodore Roosevelt (R): 26th U.S. President (1901-1909)
Pete: Bull Terrier
Skip: Rat Terrier
Jack and Peter: Terriers
Blackjack: Manchester Terrier
Manchu: Pekingese
Rollo: Saint Bernard
Sailor Boy: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Gem and Susan: Dogs

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William Howard Taft (R): 27th U.S. President (1909-1913)
Caruso: Dog

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Woodrow Wilson (D): 28th U.S. President (1913-1921)
Davie: Airedale Terrier
Mountain Boy: Greyhound
Bruce: Bull Terrier

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Warren G. Harding (R): 29th U.S. President (1921-1923)
Laddie Boy: Airedale Terrier
Old Boy: Bulldog

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Calvin Coolidge (R): 30th U.S. President (1923-1929)
Rob Roy and Prudence Prim: White Collies
Peter Pan: Terrier
Paul Pry: Airedale Terrier
Calamity Jane: Shetland Sheepdog
Tiny Tim and Blackberry: Chow Chows
Ruby Rouch: Collie
Boston Beans: Bulldog
King Cole: German Shepherd
Palo Alto: Bird dog
Bessie: Collie

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Herbert Hoover (R): 31st U.S. President (1929-1933)
King Tut: Belgian Shepherd
Pat: German Shepherd
Big Ben and Sonnie: Fox Terriers
Glen: Scotch Collie
Yukonan: Eskimo dog
Patrick: Irish Wolfhound
Eaglehurst Gillette: Setter
Weejie: Norwegian Elkhound

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Franklin D. Roosevelt (D): 32nd U.S. President (1933-1945)
Fala: Scottish Terrier
Majora: German Shepherd
Meggie: Scottish Terrier
Winks: Llewellyn Setter
Tiny: Old English Sheepdog
President: Great Dane
Blaze: Mastiff

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Harry S. Truman (D): 33rd U.S. President (1945-1953)
Feller: Cocker Spaniel
Mike: Irish Setter

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Dwight D. Eisenhower (R): 34th U.S. President (1953-1961)
Heidi: Weimaraner

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John F. Kennedy (D): 35th U.S. President (1961-1963)
Pushinka: Mutt (gift of Russian premier, puppy of Soviet space dog Strelka)
Shannon: Irish Cocker Spaniel
Wolf: (Mutt, possibly part Wolfhound and Schnauzer)
Clipper: German Shepherd
Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie, and Streaker: Offspring of Pushinka and Charlie (his daughter Caroline’s Welsh Terrier)

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Lyndon B. Johnson (D): 36th U.S. President (1963-1969)
Him and Her: Beagles (Him was the subject of controversy; in 1964, President Johnson lifted the dog up by its ears, claiming “it’s good for [him].”)
Edgar: Beagle
Blanco: White Collie
Freckles: Beagle
Yuki: Mongrel

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Richard M. Nixon (R): 37th U.S. President (1969-1974)
Vicki: Poodle
Pasha: Terrier
King Timahoe: Irish Setter
Checkers: Cocker Spaniel (Checkers died while Nixon was vice-president, before becoming president, but had played a major role in his electoral career with the “Checkers speech”)

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Gerald Ford (R): 38th U.S. President (1974-1977)
Liberty: Golden Retriever
Misty: Liberty’s puppy born in the White House

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Jimmy Carter (D): 39th U.S. President (1977-1981)
Grits: Border Collie (given to his daughter Amy by her teacher, but quickly returned)
Lewis Brown: Afghan Hound

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Ronald Reagan (R): 40th U.S. President (1981-1989)
Lucky: Bouvier des Flandres
Rex: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (First Dog of the United States)
Victory: Golden Retriever
Peggy: Irish Setter
Taca: Siberian Husky
Fuzzy: Belgian sheepdog

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George H. W. Bush (R): 41st U.S. President (1989-1993)
Millie: Springer Spaniel (First Dog of the United States)
Ranger: One of Millie’s puppies

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Bill Clinton (D): 42nd U.S. President (1993-2001)
Buddy: Bill’s chocolate Labrador Retriever (First Dog of the United States, b.1997-Jan 2, 2002)

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George W. Bush (R): 43rd U.S. President (2001-2009)
Spot “Spotty” Fetcher (Mar 17, 1989 – Feb 21, 2004): FemaleEnglish Springer Spaniel named after Scott Fletcher; puppy of Millie; euthanized after suffering a series of strokes.
Barney: Scottish Terrier (First Dog of the United States, 2000 – Feb. 1, 2013)
Miss Beazley (Oct 28, 2004 – May 17, 2014): Scottish Terrier; Nicknamed “Beazley Weazley”; 2005 birthday gift from George to his wife.

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Barack Obama (D): 44th U.S. President (2009-Incumbent)
Bo: Portuguese Water Dog (First Dog of the United States)
Sunny: Portuguese Water Dog (August, 2013)

Sources: United States presidential pets, Presidential Portrait (United States)

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