Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dachshunds in the White House

At his first press conference yesterday, the President-elect, Barack Obama, dealt with the biggest issue to date: The Dog. Seems like every dog discussion board wants their breed chosen, and every shelter and rescue organization is eagerly stepping forward to to provide the perfect canine as The First Dog for The First Family.
But let's face it folks, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, the "merchants of doom and gloom," but a dachshund probably isn't going to make it to the White House this time around, as a dachshund isn't commonly "hypo-allergenic," a necessary requirement because of Malia's allergies. We're hoping at least that a perfect "hypo-allergenic" dog or puppy can be found through a great rescue organization.

This of course begs the question: Has there ever been a dachshund in the White House? Has a dachshund ever been First Dog? We can answer this with a resounding YES!....a dachshund HAS been First Dog!

John F. Kennedy: John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK, was the thirty-fifth President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

This photo shows a young JFK, on a tour of Europe just before the outbreak of war, where he bought "a dachshund of great beauty" in Germany. The dog became a mascot on the journey. Source. We aren't aware that JFK had dachshunds while President however.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the thirty-fourth President of the United States from 1953 until 1961 and a five-star general in the United States Army.

While there is a rumour floating around the internet that Eisenhower had dachshunds before becoming President, we unfortunately don't fully trust the source. The disclaimer at this website reveals: Not all of the information on this page is entirely accurate, and not all the photos are in exactly their original state, but we believe, nonetheless, that it makes for an entertaining read.

Theodore Roosevelt: Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States, serving from 1901 - 1909. A leader of the Republican Party and of the Progressive Party, he was a Governor of New York and a professional historian, naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, and soldier.

This is a photo of Teddy Roosevelt relaxing and reading with what is often attributed to be his pet "dachshund" on his lap; photo taken in 1905. The "dachshund" in this photo appears to be 'Skip,' a mongrel black and tan terrier of unknown breeding. We see some dachshund genes there though, and he sure is happy to be on his master's lap. You can read more about Skip and see more photos in a nice article at Terrierman.

Which brings us to Grover Cleveland: Stephen Grover Cleveland was both the twenty-second and twenty-fourth President of the United States. Cleveland is the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897) and thus is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents. He was the winner of the popular vote for President three times—in 1884, 1888, and 1892—and was the only Democrat elected to the Presidency in the era of Republican political domination that lasted from 1860 to 1912. Cleveland's admirers praise him for his honesty, independence, integrity, and commitment to the principles of classical liberalism.

Joey and Maggie, your investigative journalist hosts of The Long and Short of it All, did some research on dachshunds in the White House at a local University, and we found this interesting piece of news about Grover Cleveland from the Chicago Daily Tribune, February 12th, 1894, here's an excerpt:

PETS IN THE WHITE HOUSE GROUNDS: Besides the two babies, Esther and Ruth, there are innumerable pets at the White House. Scattered through the broad demesne belonging to the Chief Magistrate are myriads of hares running wild in the grounds and furnishing rare sport for the foxhounds and dachshounds (sic) belonging to Mrs. Cleveland. In the limpid pools of the rose and orchid houses attached to the conservatories are hundreds of imported fish, the principal being the many-tailed Japanese variety of goldfish and the famous paradise fish from Siam.
Game chickens of the shawineck breed are conspicuous whenever a visit is paid to the stables attached to the White House, and Coachman Willis is justly proud of the success which has attended his efforts in raising these pretty fowls. In quadrupeds there is almost every known specimen at the little pagoda-shaped sentry box on the east side of the mansion, where the White House babies in charge of their nurses can be seen every fair day. Gamboling about toddling Ruth, or hiding under the carriage containing infantile Esther, can be seen a cocker spaniel, beautifully marked in white and brown, or a collie, which, though a new arrival, seems perfectly at home amid his new surroundings. Hector, the well-known black French poodle of Mrs Cleveland, is at Buzzard's Bay for the winter, as a companion for the St. Bernard, famous as a medal winner. A bow-legged, squat-figured Dachshund, with long flapping ears, is a great pet with the occupants of the White House, being a recent importation from Germany. Until a few days ago, a voracious tulip-bulb fiend in the shape of a raccoon could be seen climbing up and down the trees facing the Treasury Department, but he made one foray too much, and the story is that a gardener's spade cut his earthly career short.
Mrs. Cleveland's ponies, a handsome pair of animals, which their mistress usually drives to a low and easy going phaeton, complete the list of pet animals contiguous to the White House, birds being tabooed inside the mansion.

So, dear dachshund readers, that's the long and short of it all, and all we can state at this time is that the last time a pure-bred dachshund was in the White House was under the leadership of Grover Cleveland, over 100 years ago. That's about 8 - 10 generations ago for us dachshunds....way too long! If anyone has any more information on a Dachshund First Dog, by all means please send it in!


Anonymous said...

My compliments, Joey and Maggie. A beautifully researched and presented article.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for getting the presidential scoop - it was very informative! You have a charming blog and I always learn something new when I visit. Doxies are near and dear to my heart - I have two red smoothies, both with special needs. Feel free to check out our disabled dog blog sometime. We love visits from doxie friends...

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