The Dogs of our Founding Fathers

America celebrates its 240th birthday!In honor of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence at the Second Continental Congress in 1776 by delegates from the thirteen colonies, here’s a look at just a few founding fathers and their canine associations.

Happy Fourth of July America!

George Washington helped establish the American Fox Hound breed
– Served as commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War
– In 1787 was elected president of the convention that wrote the U.S. Constitution
– Became the country’s first president in 1789 and is called the “Father of our Country”
– Imported several hounds from England in 1770
– Received some French Foxhounds from the Marquis de Lafayette in 1785
– According to reports, his French hounds were so fierce, Washington “assigned a servant to monitor their meals because they tore each other apart fighting over their food” and cross-bred them with with his own black and tan hounds
– His efforts led to the establishment of today’s breed called the American Foxhound
– Among the dogs listed in his journals were names like Captain, Cloe, Countess, Drunkard, Duchess, Forrester, Juno, Jupiter, Lady, Mopsey, Must, Pilot, Ragman, Rover, Searcher, Singer, Sweet Lips, Tartar, Tipler, Tipsy, Tiyal, Trueman, Truelove, Vulcan and Madam Moose who was described as being especially frisky.

If you love me, you love my dog - First Lady Abigail Adams
– Helped draft the Declaration of Independence while a delegate to the convention.
– Served as first Vice-President in 1789 and this nation’s second President in 1797.
– Owned a mixed-breed dog was named Satan while wife Abigail’s pet was Satan’s pup, Juno.
– First Lady Abigail Adams once wrote in a letter to her granddaughter, Caroline Smith, “If you love me… you must love my dog.” She also added “You will be glad to learn that Juno yet lives, although like her mistress she is gray with age.”
– As the first First Family to live in the White House, the Adams’ dogs were also the first pets to occupy the residence.

Thomas Jefferson bred and improved the breed of Briards
– Served as delegate to the Second Continental Congress from Virginia. Later became our third President in 1801 after serving as our first Secretary of State and as Vice President.
– Was principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
– Though mockingbirds were reportedly his pet of choice, Jefferson became interested in Briards while serving as US Minister to France. They are related to other French flock dogs.
– Paid the equivalent of $6 for a “chienne bergere big with pup” — big bitch with pup — and boarded a ship for home with “Buzzy”.
– The dog, most likely a Briard, whelped two pups while crossing the Atlantic.
– Improved the quality of the breed and often left pairs with other landowners, including James Madison who housed two dogs briefly on his Montpelier estate in Virginia.

The Declaration of Indepence marks our nation's birth in 1776
– Author, publisher, printer, ambassador, statesman, scientist and of course a prolific inventor
– Served as our country’s first Postmaster General.
– Ben’s son William apparently owned a black Newfoundland dog, though the name is not known.
– There is little documentation about Franklin’s other associations with canines.
– Is noted for three often used, though not altogether complimentary quotes referencing dogs:

  • “There are three faithful friends – an old wife, an old dog and ready money.”
  • “He who lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.”
  • “Don’t think to hunt two hares with one dog.”

Sorry. As much as I wanted to include some information on the person whose name has become synonymous with the signature, there are no records of he or his wife Dorothy owning any pets. Their loss. Hancock was one of the richest men in New England, so there’s that.




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