Thursday, June 14, 2018

President Tyler's Wolfhounds?

Dogs from different ends of the sight hound scale.

Over at the Presidential Pet Museum web site they tell us that:

President John Tyler (1841-1845) took over the Presidency upon the unexpected death of President William Henry Harrison. Like preceding Presidents, John and his wife Julia had pets during the Presidency, including a pair of Irish Wolfhounds.

Irish Wolfhounds are huge dogs, standing at a minimum of 30 inches and clocking in at roughly 105-120 pounds. Luckily for the Tylers (and the White House staff) these dogs are “gentle giants” and generally non-aggressive.

The Tylers’ Wolfhounds had to be imported from Ireland, and were a gift from John to his wife Julia. They must have been a quiet pair, as they received little lasting attention from the media or historians. Which is good for the Tylers, but makes it impossible to locate much information about them.


That might be because Tyler did not import Irish Wolfhounds from Ireland for his wife but Italian Greyhounds from Italy. One dog weighs 125 pounds or so, the other less than 10.

The young Julia Tyler (she was a 25-year First Lady, while her husband was 51) had the very first dog (named LeBeau) to actually live in the White House:

As the opening of the new season approached with the return of Congress in early December, the First Lady busied herself with last-minute preparations for her "auspicious reign." She persuaded the President to obtain for her an Jtalian greyhound, a fashionable breed she believed would add Continental sophistication to the decor of her Court. Tyler dutifully placed an order for the animal through the American consul in Naples.

Two Presidents actually did have Irish Wolfhounds, at least for a time: Herbert Hoover and JFK.

Julia Gardiner Tyler was the first First Lady to be photographed.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Were Iggies and wolfhounds even registered breeds at the time? I'll bet there's a story behind this somewhere, given it's a few decades after Frederick the Great elected to be buried with his dogs--apparently small sight hounds.