The Dogs of President Grover Cleveland

President Grover Cleveland, who is the only President to have served two
non-consecutive terms in office, owned several dogs during his time in the White
House.

He was also a fan of birds, and owned canaries and mockingbirds.

It's not clear whether the President owned dogs before he moved into the White
House, but he genuinely enjoyed the company of his pets. His wife was also a dog
lover and helped to care for their animals.

Grover Cleveland's best known dogs were his three Dachshunds. The dogs were originally given to his wife as a present from the United States Consul in Germany, but the President quickly came to adore his little companions. Unfortunately, the names of the Dachshunds do not appear to have been recorded.

What was it about Dachshunds that made them such a favourite of the President? The breed is a short legged dog that belongs to the hound family, and they can be very playful and loving animals. Dachshunds, however, are also stubborn and strong-willed, which can make them difficult to train. The President was unlikely to be involved in training the dogs himself, so this probably wasn't a major problem for him (the White House kennel master might have a different view).

Dachshunds are in general quite an energetic breed, but don't require the same amounts of exercise as larger dogs. The President may have become enamored with his Dachshunds partly because of their strong will and fearlessness - the animals are well known for being oblivious to their small size and will often assert themselves to larger dogs.

This is certainly a characteristic that any President would respect. The breed can also become destructive when bored. When you take into account its small size, assertive behavior and the difficulty in training these little dogs, the breed is certainly a "love it or hate it" type. No Dachshunds have lived in the White House since Cleveland left office.

Mr Cleveland also owned a Cocker Spaniel which has an intelligent and noble demeanor and is probably a more suitable choice of breed for a President. Again, the name of the dog doesn't seem to have been written down. This breed was originally bred for hunting, so Cleveland's dog would have made a good companion for his outdoor activities on his estate in New Jersey.

There are actually two types of Cocker Spaniel that belong to the same overall type - the English and American Cocker Spaniels. The two types had become noticeably different by the 1920's, and it isn't clear which type Cleveland owned. The President's wife, Mrs Frances Cleveland, owned a Japanese poodle called Hector. Japanese poodles are actually a mixed breed - a cross between the poodle and Japanese Chin - and are said to be great with other dogs and children. Hector had a black coat, and spent time in the White House during both of Cleveland's two terms although during winter the dog often spent the colder months at the family's other home.