The Briards of President Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, who was in office between 1801 and 1809, was the third
President to be elected to the White House.

He was also one of the Founding Fathers of America, and a highly intelligent man
(he spoke five languages and was fascinated by science).

During his time in office he owned several dogs, along with a variety of other pets
including a pair of bear cubs, mockingbird and a horse called Caractacus.

Unlike many other Presidents, Thomas Jefferson wasn't a huge fan of hunting. In fact, he is said to have originally disliked dogs due to their tendency to attack his family's sheep. He eventually grew to love dogs though, especially Briards. Briards are farm working dogs, and are highly accomplished at herding a variety of animals.

This would have made them the perfect companion for Mr. Jefferson, who spent a large portion of his life before becoming President as a farmer. The dogs are even known to try and herd humans, although this is definitely a behavior that needs to be discouraged early in their lives. Unfortunately, all but one of the dog's names is no longer known. All we know is that one of the Briards was named Buzzy.

The Briard is generally kind and gentle, although it is known to become protective of its master when threatened. This makes the breed a good watchdog, although this particular skill probably wouldn't have been necessary in the White House. If trained correctly, Briards are obedient to their owners and are keen to please. The breed does, however, require an owner with strong leadership, otherwise dogs such as Buzzy can be difficult and disruptive to live with.

Briards are very affectionate with their owners, but are generally aloof and disinterested in strangers. They aren't aggressive towards people they don't know, as long as they have been properly socialized and trained from a young age. Like any dog, early socialization allows the Briard puppy to grow up into a confident and well-adjusted adult. This is important for any canine White House resident, due to the number of visitors that they'd encounter.

The Briard enjoys spending time outside, so it's likely that Buzzy and his canine companions would have spent most of their time in the grounds of the White House. Like most working dogs, they are happiest when they feel like they have a job to do.

At the very minimum, the breed requires a long walk every day. Thomas Jefferson is said to have loved spending time in the countryside and hiking, so he may well have taken his dogs with him to exercise them. One characteristic that may have attracted Thomas Jefferson to the Briard is their high level of intelligence. This breed has one of the best memories of all dogs, and is very easy to train.

Any dog that lives in the White House needs to have good manners, so the ability to learn quickly would have made Buzzy an ideal First Pet.