Dog Lovers to Trump: You Need a Friend

“If you want a friend in Washington," President Harry Truman is thought to have said, "get a dog.”

And all the presidents who succeeded Truman indeed had dogs—and cats, ponies, fish, hamsters, rabbits, parakeets and more.

In recent years, Bill Clinton had Buddy, a Labrador retriever, to comfort him through the Monica Lewinsky scandal. George W. Bush had Barney, a Scottish terrier, and Spot, a Springer spaniel, at his side when he mysteriously choked on a pretzel while watching a football game. Miss Beazley, another terrier, joined the Bush family in later years.

Soon after winning the presidency, Barack Obama said in a speech that among his first promises was a commitment to buy his daughters a puppy. In time the family adopted Bo and Sunny, both Portuguese water dogs.

President Obama with his family and Bo

So far President-elect Donald Trump has made no similar statements, however, and Trump is said to have never owned a dog. That puts him among the 40 percent of Americans who Gallup says have no pets. 

But dog lovers—who tend to trend Republican, according to one study—are urging Trump to not reject the long-observed tradition of presidential pets.

Bowser Beer, a Seattle-based maker of nonalcoholic suds for dogs, recently did an informal survey of dog owners on the type of pet Trump should bring to the White House. 

The responses ranged from the goldendoodle—the designer dog mix of a Golden Retriever and a poodle that Trump earlier was said to be considering—to the Malinois, a type of Belgian Shepherd dog used by the U.S. Secret Service to guard the grounds. Other breeds mentioned include the Xoloitzcuintli (or Mexican hairless), bulldogs and the American Staffordshire terrier, a type of pit bull. 

“A lot of different breeds were mentioned,” said Jenny Brown, founder and CEO of the company. “But one of the common things is that people think it shouldn’t be a lap dog but a dog that would like to romp around the White House grounds. And a lot of people wish that the First Family would consider a shelter dog first.”

It remains possible that the choice of Trump’s dog could be made by others, however. It is common for friends—and foe—to gift dogs to the U.S. president.

A gift from Russian President Vladimir Putin in the name of “animal diplomacy” would have a precedent. In the 1960s, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev sent President John Kennedy a puppy named Pushinka as a present. Pushinka was the daughter of the first dog to fly into space—and return safely—to Earth.