Ronald Reagan and Lucky the Bouvier des Flandres

Ronald Reagan owned two dogs - Lucky and Rex - although Lucky was probably the
most memorable of the two due to her large size and uncommon breed.

The dog was given to the family in 1985 and was named after Nancy Reagan's
mother.

Even though Lucky spent a relatively short time living in the White House, she
certainly made a big impression!

Lucky was a Bouvier des Flandres, a large herding breed that originated in France. The large size was important in the past as these dogs were used for cattle herding as well as pulling carts. Today, they are mainly used as police or guard dogs, although they are also a popular choice for pets. The Reagans received Lucky when she was just nine weeks old.

At the time they didn't have any other dogs, even though both Ronald and Nancy were dog lovers. It didn't take long for Lucky to grow to nearly two feet tall though, and as an adult she weighed over 80 pounds. Despite going to training classes, Lucky was an unruly dog. An untrained dog is always difficult to contain, but when the dog is almost the size of a horse it becomes almost impossible.

There are many pictures of Lucky being "walked" by the president (if you can call pulling him along being walked), including a particularly entertaining one of the president and Margaret Thatcher. Lucky is also said to have been very entertaining when in a helicopter, as she was quick to learn that this type of journey meant she was going somewhere with more space, such as Camp David.

It's unclear whether Reagan actually chose this particular breed - Lucky was a gift after all - but it's safe to say that his administration wouldn't have accepted an aggressive or potentially embarrassing breed. It's also unlikely that the Reagan administration would want the President to be seen with a fluffy little dog.

The large size of Lucky provided a strong and durable image, which suited the President. Fortunately, the temperament of Bouvier des Flandres is gentle and loyal. President Reagan loved horse riding and spending time on his ranch, so a herding dog with lots of energy was a perfect fit.

Unfortunately, Lucky's large size meant that she only had a short stay in the White House. Before the end of 1985 the dog had grown too big to be kept there, and was moved to Rancho del Cielo where she spent the rest of her life. This actually turned out well for her, as there was much more space to roam on the ranch plus several other dogs to keep her company.

Lucky's position as First Dog of the White House was taken by a Cavalier King Charles called Rex, who was a gift from Reagan to his wife Nancy. Rex stayed with the President for the remainder of his time in the White House and accompanied him to Los Angeles at the end of his term.