Bill Clinton and Buddy the Chocolate Labrador Retriever

Buddy was Bill Clinton's dog while he was US President.

He was given to Clinton by a friend in 1997 when the pup was just three months old,
and was named after the President's great-uncle.

Despite being regularly seen with the dog, Clinton isn't thought to have taken care of
Buddy himself.

Instead the dog lived in the White House with the person who was his real owner. Buddy was a friendly and outgoing dog. He became well known for meeting the president on the lawn when Clinton returned from various engagements. He lived mostly in the basement of the White House partly because he frequently fought with Clinton's cat, Socks, so the two had to be kept in separate areas.

Whether or not Clinton really loved Buddy - or dogs in general - has been a point of discussion since he left office. Many have claimed that Clinton was never a dog lover, but realized the potential PR benefits of owning and being seen with a dog. Buddy also provided a convenient, if small, distraction from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. There have been many US presidents who've genuinely adored their dogs, but Clinton doesn't seem to have been one of them.

If Buddy was simply brought into the White House to provide some much needed positive PR, why was a Labrador chosen? Choosing the right breed for a President is a major decision, and is likely to have been given a lot of thought. There must have been some compelling reasons for choosing a Labrador over other breeds.

Firstly, Labrador retrievers are strong and attractive dogs. As a puppy, Buddy looked very cute and lovable. They are also very popular; more Labrador Retrievers are registered with the American Kennel Council each year than any other breed. These are probably the main reasons why a Labrador retriever was chosen, as a less attractive or less well recognized breed may not have been as effective for PR purposes. The temperament of the dog was less likely to be a major concern for Clinton and his team, as he was unlikely to spend much personal time with him.

Even so, choosing a breed that was playful and good with kids would have been a priority. Labradors are generally very cheerful and kind in nature, and make great family dogs. A friendly personality would have been important for PR reasons, as the dog was likely to come into contact with a large number of people including reporters and other politicians.

Unlike other presidents who would have chosen a breed to match their own personalities and hobbies, Clinton was thought to be disinterested in having a real companion. Unfortunately, Buddy died at a young age. In early 2002, the four year old dog was hit by a car near the family's home, although to this day it's still unclear exactly how this happened. The Clinton family wasn't around when the accident occurred, but Buddy was pronounced dead at a local veterinary clinic. Clinton's current dog is another chocolate colored Labrador named Seamus.