George Bush and Millie the English Springer Spaniel

Millie the English Springer Spaniel is arguably the most famous Presidential dog,
and is the only First Pet to write her own book.

Her full name was Mildred Kerr Bush, after a close friend of the family. This was a bit
of a mouthful for any dog, so everyone knew her as just Millie.

Her book went on to become a bestseller and she lived to the ripe old age of 12
before passing away due to a bout of pneumonia.

Millie was such a popular dog that she even has a dog park in Texas named after her! Millie has been portrayed in several television sit-com's including Murphy Brown and Who's the Boss.

She also appeared with President Bush in an episode of The Simpsons. Born in 1985, the sight of Mildred Kerr Bush on the lawns surrounding the White House became synonymous with George Bush during his four year term. Millie had a lot of experience with being a dog in the public eye, as she was also Mr. Bush's dog when he was vice president.

Mr. Bush was elected president in 1989 for a four year term, so she was already an adult when she became the First Pet. Millie also had a litter while Mr. Bush was president, with one of the puppies growing up to be "Spot" - the dog of George W. Bush when he was in office. Millie is still the only dog to produce a second generation presidential pet.

Millie's book, which was "dictated" by Barbara Bush, became very popular as it contained a number of interesting stories about her life in the White House. In the book Millie also revealed that her hobbies included hunting in the grounds of the White House. Her recorded "kills" include several squirrels, rats and even a pigeon.

Her popularity was enhanced by being mentioned in a famous presidential speech. George Bush, while unsuccessfully trying to be re-elected for a second term, claimed that Millie knew more about foreign affairs than both Al Gore and Bill Clinton. One of the reasons why Millie was specifically chosen by George Bush is that she was born in Texas.

The Bush family has always been proud of its Texan roots, so it was important for them to choose a dog that was born there too. English Springer Spaniels make very good family pets, and generally aren't aggressive. This is obviously important for any President, as dogs that bite aren't going to endear them to guests.

Just ask those who were nipped by George W Bush's Scottish Terrier Barney! Springer Spaniels are also very easy going and easy to train, and have few health problems. English springer spaniels were originally bred to be gun dogs, and are highly skilled at retrieving game or flushing (where the dog scares a bird into flying). George Bush was always fond of spending time on his ranch, so a Springer Spaniel was a good choice for him.