Jimmy Carter and Lewis Brown the Afghan Hound

Jimmy Carter and Lewis Brown the Afghan Hound Jimmy Carter's First Pet was an
Afghan Hound called Lewis Brown. While Lewis Brown was never as famous and
popular as other presidential dogs, such as Millie the English Springer Spaniel, he
certainly deserves a mention for being one of the most majestic and noble looking
First Pets!

Compared to dogs such as Barney (who was owned by George W. Bush and had
his own fan club), there is relatively little information available about Lewis Brown.

This is partly because he lived in a time before the internet and social media existed. What we do know is that Lewis Brown lived in the White House for almost the entire length of Jimmy Carter's term as president. Also known as Persian Greyhounds, Afghan Hounds originated from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and have an average lifespan of around 12 years. These sight hounds were originally bred for hunting - particularly for hunting hares and gazelles.

Afghan hounds such as Lewis Brown have a striking and interesting appearance, and are also relatively large dogs. The biggest of the breed grow to around 29 inches in height and can weigh up to 60 pounds. Presidents and other powerful people tend to gravitate towards bigger dogs, as smaller ones don't always provide the desired impression of strength and durability.

Afghan coats are long and silky, and vary greatly in color. Lewis Brown's coat was blonde/brown. The temperament of an Afghan hound, on the surface at least, appears perfect for a President's dog. It's likely that Jimmy Carter wanted a dignified and trustworthy companion, and these are the two characteristics that are common amongst all Afghans.

The almost regal appearance of the Afghan Hound is also sure to have attracted the President's attention. One downside of the breed is that they have a strong prey instinct, so it's likely that Lewis Brown would have tried to chase small animals or cats whenever possible. An interesting note about Afghan Hounds is that they are considered relatively challenging to train. Whether this is due to a stubborn streak or just low training intelligence isn't clear.

Perhaps they just aren't as motivated as other breeds to please their owners. It might seem like this trait would make a dog unsuitable as a First Pet, but it doesn't appear that Jimmy Carter or his family had any major problems with Lewis Brown.

Lewis Brown had to share the White House with a cat called Misty Malarky Ying Yang - a Siamese cat owned by Amy Carter, the president's daughter. It's not clear how well these pets got along with each other, especially considering an Afghan's natural prey instinct!

Jimmy Carter's family was also given another dog named Grits, who looked to be a Border Collie mix, perhaps with some Spaniel in his genetic makeup. There is even less known about him than about Lewis Brown. Grits didn't spend much time in the White House at all, as he was returned to his previous owner relatively quickly though. An official reason for his return was never given.