Reveals What Makes a Dog Presidential and Takes a Look at the Potential White House Dogs of Clinton, Obama, Romney and McCain

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Every president since Warren Harding has brought a dog to Washington. And Super Tuesday's front-runners suggest the tradition will continue. takes a look at what it takes to be a canine candidate and reveals what type of dog makes the best presidential pet.

Whether purebred or mutt, dogs have been humanizing their presidential owners for centuries

All of the top presidential candidates have a dog -- or at least an interest in getting one. But do their dogs have what it takes to be First Dog? Here's the canine candidate the editors of DogTime would vote for. (Read the whole story at

White House material?

Forget elephants and donkeys--the candidate with an eye on the White House would do well to focus on canines.

Every president since Warren Harding has brought a dog to Washington, and over half of all U.S. presidents owned at least one dog during their terms. And Super Tuesday's front-runners suggest the tradition will continue.

Each candidate could be considered a "dog person." Hillary Clinton has Seamus, a Labrador Retriever, while John McCain's got Sam, a Springer Spaniel, and Coco, a mutt. Barack Obama, currently without a canine, has promised his daughters they'll get one if he's elected. And Mitt Romney is newly dog-less--his Weimaraner, Marley, died last year.

"Whether purebred or mutt, dogs have been humanizing their presidential owners for centuries," says Editor Clare Ellis. "But no matter who enters the White House next, having a dog will no doubt make him or her seem more like the rest of us."

Or as Harry S. Truman famously said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

All the presidents' dogs

Presidential dogs have long been making headlines. Thanks to his famous speech, Richard Nixon's Cocker Spaniel Checkers may enjoy the highest name recognition, but other First Dogs--and their owners--have their own claim to fame:

  •      Most fertile dog: Gerald Ford's Golden Retriever Liberty gave birth to nine puppies at the White House.
  •      Most dogs owned: Calvin Coolidge had at least 12.
  •      Lived in White House during most administrations: Spot, a Springer Spaniel, born during George H. W. Bush's administration to his dog Millie, Spot later returned to the White House as George W. Bush's pet.
  •      Most embarrassing dogs: It's a tie between the ones owned by Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. Roosevelt's managed to rip the pants off the French ambassador while Johnson's relieved himself in front of the Shah of Iran.
  •      Most inexplicable name: George Washington's Sweet Lips (don't ask because we don't have the answers).

White House material

So what type of dog is best suited for the White House? The team at wanted to find out, so we plugged our criteria into the MatchUp tool

Here are the givens: The president of the United States needs a dog who is confident, friendly and calm with people and children of all ages, comfortable in a busy, near frenetic household, and able to adapt easily to change.

And here are the results: Any pup who embodies the qualities of the mellow Basset Hound, or super-friendly Golden Retriever would make a superb First Dog. The best fit though, not surprisingly, is a pooch with a Labrador Retriever's sunny, anything goes disposition and laid-back attitude. And getting a Lab, or Lab Mix, isn't a bad political tactic either: For the umpteenth year running he continues to be the country's most popular dog, according to the American Kennel Club.

About DogTime:
DogTimeMedia is the largest pet media network exclusively focused on pets, reaching more than 10 million pet lovers through 50 pet sites, including, the premier destination for dog people. Headquartered in San Francisco, DogTime staff's collective experience includes years of raising dogs, writing about dogs, rescuing dogs, training dogs, walking dogs, falling in love with and having our hearts broken by dogs. DogTime's mission is to keep dogs out of shelters and in good homes by equipping novice and experienced owners alike with all the information needed to make them, and their dogs, very happy. Clare Ellis is Editor and SVP for Content. Trevor Wright is President.


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Cynthia Myers

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