the growth of pet keeping and the widespread marketing
of animals and pet products in American society
by the late nineteenth century, public interest
in presidential animals and pets grew exponentially.
Whether purchased or received
as gifts from well-wishers or foreign officials
pets became minor celebrities and goodwill
used to promote causes or smooth diplomatic relations.
With the rise of the mass media and the increasing
international importance of the American presidency,
White House pets often came into the spotlight.
They became favorite subjects for political cartoons
lampooning presidential policies and initiatives.
Fun Fact: President Pierce gave Jefferson Davis
a dog so small it could be carried in a pocket.
A Japanese spaniel, ca. 2005. Photo by Carol
Ann Johnson, as published by Kennel Club Books
In 1855, President Franklin Pierce
gave a Japanese spaniel to his Secretary of
War Jefferson Davis, who would become the president
of the Confederacy. Many years later, Mrs.
Davis recalled that as puppies such dogs were
so small “that a
coffee saucer made an ample scampering ground