President Lyndon Johnson and his Dogs

When Lyndon Johnson became president, he brought two beagles named Him and Her to the White House. Both Him and Her attended official White House functions. Even though Him once left a puddle on a chair during a party, the president refused to make Him stay elsewhere while his master entertained. Both Him and Her had the run of the Oval Office. Johnson signed the law that created The Great Society–a set of programs that gave more rights to African Americans and poor people–in the presence of his dogs.

Johnson often combined press conferences with dog walks. Most of the time, these walks went well. The walks made good copy for reporters because the public loved seeing the president with his beagles. Johnson tried to get his dogs to do different tricks for the cameras. He stuffed his pockets with candy-coated doggy vitamins to get Him and Her to perform.

One act, however, made the American people and Johnson’s dogs howl. During a press conference, Johnson picked one of the beagles up by its ears. Animal rights groups complained that Johnson was mistreating the dogs. Suddenly Johnson and his dogs were front-page news. Other than that incident, however, Him and Her seemed to enjoy their time as presidential pups.

After Him and Her died, Johnson felt pretty lonely in that big house. Fortunately his daughter found a stray running along the highway. She stopped at a gas station to ask whom he belonged to, but no one knew. She decided to bring the little white dog to the White House.


Lyndon Johnson Family on Christmas Eve 1968. Johnson is holding Yuki


Johnson loved the little mutt and named him Yuki. Johnson said that Yuki was “the friendliest, the smartest, and the most constant in his attentions of all the dogs I’ve known.” The president took Yuki with him everywhere. He and the dog travelled together on Air Force One. Yuki attended cabinet meetings, though he did so under the table. Unlike President Harding’s dog Laddie Boy, Yuki did not sit in his own chair for cabinet meetings.

One of Johnson’s favorite things to do with Yuki was to howl with him. Johnson claimed that Yuki “had a Texas accent.” Yuki and the president howled together in the presence of important visitors like the Chancellor of Germany, who was a bit shocked at the performance!

The president needed the support of his loyal dog as protests against the Vietnam War increased.

Yuki went back to Johnson’s Texas ranch after his master retired from the presidency. He was at Johnson’s side in 1973 when the former president died.

Laddie Boy: President Harding’s Presidential Pooch

Although President Warren Harding accomplished little while in office, he invented the now common presidential doggie photo op. Harding loved dogs and used them during his presidential campaign to demonstrate his connection to the average person. The Hardings’ Airedale Laddie Boy certainly knew how to steal the spotlight. His popularity with reporters was so great that they often quoted him in pretend interviews. For example, one newspaper included Laddie Boy’s hope that watchdogs would be given an eight-hour workday.

Laddie Boy was always included in White House activities, such as welcoming visitors. Harding even gave the dog a hand carved chair to sit in during cabinet meetings. Considering the financial problems and scandals his administration encountered, Harding must have felt comforted by Laddie Boy’s presence at official White House functions. On his birthday, other local dogs were invited to share Laddie Boy’s birthday cake made out of dog biscuits.

Despite his celebrity status, Laddie Boy also enjoyed some regular dog activities in his free time. For example, Harding’s fondness for practicing his golf swing on the White House Lawn was matched by Laddie Boy’s enthusiasm for retrieving the golf balls. Laddie Boy also regularly brought the morning paper to his master.

Unlike his master, Laddie Boy’s popularity never diminished. When Harding died, schoolchildren collected pennies that were melted down and molded into a likeness of the dog. Today visitors to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C can view Laddie Boy’s statue.