Presidential Pups: Ranking the 10 Best Presidential Dogs

The definitive ranking of our nation's finest canines.

As the school year comes to a close, we columnists here at The State Press prefer to end the year on a light note. Often columnists write on difficult, sometimes controversial issues; ideally, these columns can incite constructive discussion, but sometimes they inspire vitriol.

Unfortunately, I know this column will incite more controversy than any other piece I have written this year, despite its lighthearted nature. Today I am ranking the top presidential dogs of all time.

As America enters the full throngs of another presidential cycle, our commander in chief’s choice of presidential pooch remains unappreciated. The significance of presidential dogs cannot be overlooked any longer.

Thirty-two of our nation’s 44 president’s have owned dogs. Moreover, the hound that our President chooses to be his best friend — and in Washington, at times perhaps his only friend — reveals a great deal about our president. Would you really vote for a candidate that prefers poodles instead of mastiffs?

Silly as this last comment may seem, there are some who contend that candidate and voter pet ownership can actually have a minuscule impact on elections. Diana C. Mutz, a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton, has written extensively on the impact of dog ownership on voting preference and results in the 2008 presidential election. Researchers at the London School of Economics also conducted research on whether any correlation exists between dog ownership and election results in U.S. Presidential elections.

More recently, political pundits are already speculating that presumptive Republican candidate Scott Walker may take a hit at the polls because he’s allergic to dogs (the argument being he will be less relatable to voters). There actually is a body of research on this topic. Go figure.

Even more surprising, there is an almost equally large amount of data on presidential dogs themselves. Websites such as Presidential Pet Museum. exist for the sole purpose of documenting presidents’ dogs. Websites like DogTimeBuzzfeed and American President's Dogs have extensive lists of presidential dogs. And news sources from the Guardian to Time Magazine have their own rankings of the best presidential dogs.

Today, I am going to make my own ranking. Such a task is nearly impossible, as all dogs are equally wonderful, beautiful and special. How one can ever rank one dog over another is almost beyond me. However, I am obligated to complete the assigned column and will make an effort to do this correctly.

Be forewarned, this ranking system is completely subjective. The dogs are ranked from 10 to one, with one being the best (i.e. the dog I would like to own the most). Unlike my Diamondbacks piece, this isn’t satirical, but it may be similarly ridiculous. With that, I give you the top 10…

10) Laddie Boy, Warren G. Harding: This Airedale terrier is simply stunning.

9) Millie, George H. W. Bush: Millie, a springer spaniel, is just lovely. She also has a book.

8) Grits, Jimmy Carter: Just in case you didn’t remember that Jimmy Carter was from the South, he named his dog Grits. Now you will remember.

7) Fido, Abraham Lincoln: One of the first Presidential dogs to have his photograph taken, Fido is about as cute as they come.

6) Buddy, Bill Clinton: If dogs could talk…

5) Bo and Sunny, Barack Obama: President Obama’s dogs, both Portuguese water dogs, are notable because I did not know there was such a thing as a Portuguese water dog until I saw them. Nonetheless, they’re both wonderful pups.

4) Fala, FDR: Fala, a Scottish terrier, is fourth on this list for no particular reason other than she looks like she would have been fun to play with in the White House.

3) Him and Her, Lyndon B. Johnson: If this ranking only evaluated the quality of the dog names, Him and Her might take the cake. These were two beautiful beagles, worthy of their position in the Oval Office.

2) King Tut, Herbert Hoover: King Tut is one of the most gorgeous dogs I have ever seen (albeit only through photographs). The German Shepherd is refined, strong, and yet lovable. Additionally, the name is just fantastic. A hard call, but King Tut comes in second to…

1) Barney and Ms. Beasley, George W. Bush: Although I may not always agree with the decisions of President Bush, he unquestionably got the call right with these two Scottish terriers. Barney and Ms. Beasley are two of the finest dogs I have ever seen. King Tut was cute, but never really had a shot at dethroning the two best presidential dogs of all time.

And with that, there you have it folks, the 10-best presidential dogs!

Reach the columnist at clmurph5@asu.edu or follow @ConnorLMurphy on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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