President Nixon and His Three Dogs

President Nixon and Vicky, Pasha and King Timahoe

President Nixon and his family shared their lives with three dogs during his term in
the White House.

These were Vicky the French Poodle, Pasha the Yorkshire Terrier and King Timahoe
the Irish Setter.

All three were genuinely looked after by Nixon and his family - these weren't just
"media" dogs that were only cared for by White House staff.

Vicky was a French Poodle that was owned by President Nixon's daughter Julie. The dog was said to love exploring the White House with her canine companion Pasha, who belonged to the President's other daughter Trish. While these dogs were much loved by the Nixon family, French Poodles or Yorkshire Terriers don't exactly provide the majestic impression that some people expect from a President's dog. Although they are confident and outgoing, Yorkshire Terriers are very small dogs, while French Poodles could perhaps be considered too feminine for a male President!

This may have been the reason that the Nixon family also owned an Irish setter. The larger size and sturdy appearance of this breed is much more in line with how many people think a President's dog should look. Irish Setters are very good with children and are friendly with visitors. This is obviously an important consideration for any President, as new guests are regularly visiting the White House. King Timahoe was named after the Irish village where Nixon's ancestors were from.

Many presidents owned farms or ranches and loved spending time outside with their dogs. It's not clear how often Mr. Nixon took Vicky, Pasha and King Timahoe on walks, but the President didn't seem to be an "outdoor" type so most of the walks were probably supervised by a member of staff. King Timahoe in particular would have needed many long walks, as Irish Setters are highly active and require a lot of exercise.

Despite their small size, Yorkshire terriers actually carry themselves with a self-important and almost regal posture. It's possible that Mr. Nixon would have chosen Pasha for his daughter partly for this mixture of small size and strong appearance, and partly because of the dog's loyalty and protective behavior. Yorkshire terriers make fantastic guard dogs, although it's unlikely that the President's family would have needed to rely on this instinct very often!

Many people don't realize that Poodles are actually highly intelligent and have a strong hunting drive. They are often seen as soft dogs, but were originally bred to work. Vicky was owned by Nixon's daughter Julie, and she would have had to have spent a lot of time with the dog as they enjoy lots of attention and frequent grooming. Poodles are notoriously quick to become bored, and will often find their own fun if left along for too long.

Richard Nixon's most famous dog, Checkers the cocker spaniel, never actually lived in the White House. Checkers, who was made famous by the "Checkers Speech" (where Mr. Nixon claimed that the only "gift" he'd received was his dog - and he wasn't going to give it back), was Mr Nixon's dog when he was Vice President. This speech, and by extension Checkers, is credited with saving Nixon's political career!