Theodore Roosevelt had at least 40 pets at the White House.

  • Roosevelt on horseback
Roosevelt on horseback
Stocktrek Images, Inc./ Alamy Stock Photo

Pets have been a fixture of the First Family since the first U.S. President, George Washington, who had eight horses and more than a dozen dogs. But of all of America’s Presidents, no one had more pets than Theodore Roosevelt. Throughout his time in office from 1901 to 1909, America’s 26th President cared for approximately 40 animals, including 11 horses, five guinea pigs, a badger, a hyena, and flying squirrels, to name just a few. Many of the pets belonged to Teddy’s children, such as a bear named Jonathan Edwards, a “dancing” Pekingese dog, and a snake named Emily Spinach, christened such by Roosevelt’s daughter Alice “because it was as green as spinach and as thin as [her] Aunt Emily.”

While no other POTUS tops Roosevelt in terms of the sheer number of pets, there have been many other fascinating creatures that called the White House home before and after his time in office. One of the odder presidential “pets” was the family of white mice that Andrew Johnson befriended during his impeachment proceedings, as he remained secluded in the White House bedroom playing with the rodents. During World War I, Woodrow Wilson added a flock of sheep to the White House to graze on the lawn in order to save on the cost of labor. And in 1926, a constituent from Mississippi sent a live raccoon to the White House for the Coolidge family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Calvin Coolidge, however, adopted the creature as his pet and named it Rebecca.

You may also like