There have been 46 Presidents of the United States, and all but three (James K. Polk, Andrew Johnson, and Donald Trump) had pets. Source. That sounds surprisingly high to me, and a quick Google search confirms that only about 60% of American households have pets, even within the highest income bracket.

Why are US Presidents more likely to have pets?

  • @JamesK hence the link mentions "highest income bracket", where pet ownership is 60%.
    – Allure
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 5:55

1 Answer 1


In the modern day pets are an easy puff piece and presidential pet pictures can be a way to get some temporary good will. Pets are also shown to help reduce stress, which can be helpful for one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. Presidents have a massive amount of support staff, so some of the negatives are reduced to having pets. The President isn't taking the dog out in the middle of the night, finding pet friendly hotels, or scheduling vet visits.

  • That doesn't really explain presidents before the modern era. I doubt most Americans were aware of whether Rutherford B. Hayes had a pet nor was it likely that Andrew Jackson, who invited people into the White House to eat cheese, deferred to support staff for the care of the pet.
    – Don Hosek
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 16:19
  • 2
    @DonHosek I would guess there's some kind of selection bias going on here, where the types of people who make it far in politics are also the same types of people who want pets. Some set of personality traits that predicts for both of them.
    – Ryan_L
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 2:13
  • @Ryan_L or having pets is perceived as a net vote winner
    – Caleth
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 13:19

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