If you remember the last German Shepherd Dog to live in the White House, we won’t disclose how old you probably are because that administration ended with the tragic assassination of John F. Kennedy. “Clipper” a gift to Jackie from her father-in-law, Joseph Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, was said to be Jackie’s favorite dog. Unlike the other Kennedy dogs, “Clipper” went to obedience school where Mrs. Kennedy was said to take the children, Caroline and John John, to watch the dog’s training.
Clipper’s predecessor was “Major,” the German Shepherd belonging to the Franklin Roosevelts. Major was a bit of a free spirit, known, as he was, to chase White House cleaning staff to the extent that the maids used their brooms and dust mops to stave him off. He didn’t much care for people gathering around the property to get a glimpse of the First Family either. The person who stuck their hand through the fence was rewarded with a love nip.
Before Major, there was “King Tut” and “Pat,” both Herbert Hoover’s GSDs. Hoover got King Tut while in Belgium running a war relief organization for Europe after WWI. Sadly, King Tut found White House life too stressful and he was sent to live a quiet life elsewhere. It didn’t help. The dog had distinction of being the presidential dog who “worried himself to death.” “Pat,” intended to replace King Tut, was a gift to President Hoover in May of 1930 from Captain Charles J. Mabbutt. This dog quite liked patrolling the White House grounds and wore a dog collar with the tag that read, “#1 Dog.” Pat became infamous for his knack of opening doors while wandering about the White House. When the Hoovers retired to Palo Alto, Pat went along and lived out the rest of his days enjoying long walks with the former President.
To our knowledge, the first GSD to live in at 1600 Pennsylvanian Avenue was “King Cole,” part of the Calvin and Grace Coolidge canine retinue. Occasionally he was described as a Belgian shepherd, but most sources maintain he was a German Shepherd, albeit a reserved and sometimes shy one.
Image of Jackie Kennedy with Clipper