The Roosevelt Dogs

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Quentin, Archie, and their cousin with Sailor Boy the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Library of Congress

"Much the most individual of the dogs and the one with the strongest character was Sailor Boy, a Chesapeake Bay dog," Theodore noted.

"He had a masterful temperament and a strong sense of both dignity and duty. He would never let the other dogs fight, and he himself never fought unless circumstances imperatively demanded it…"
 
Rollo the Saint Bernard
Theodore with Rollo the Saint Bernard.

Harvard University

Rollo was a big, friendly Saint Bernard which belonged to the family.

Concerning his large size, a newspaper noted: "No doubt visitors to the White House or Sagamore Hill were often startled to see the Roosevelt children racing across the lawn, pursued by the bounding Rollo, who looked like some huge beast, ready to destroy them. But Rollo was a children's dog, and he protected the president's children as efficiently as the Secret Service men who always hovered near."
 
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Kermit with Jack the Manchester Terrier.

Library of Congress

"Jack, the most loved of all," was a Manchester Terrier who belonged to Kermit Roosevelt. The dog's relationship to the children's kitten, Tom Quartz, was that: "To see Jack and Tom Quartz play together is as amusing as it can be."

Theodore noted the kitten was always playing pranks on Jack. "The other evening they were both in the library—Jack sleeping before the fire—Tom Quartz scampering about... Suddenly he spied Jack and galloped up to him. Jack, looking exceedingly sullen and shame-faced, jumped out of the way and got upon the sofa, where Tom Quartz instantly jumped upon him again. Jack suddenly shifted to the other sofa, where Tom Quartz again went after him. Then Jack started for the door, while Tom made a rapid turn under the sofa and around the table, and just as Jack reached the door leaped on his hind-quarters. Jack bounded forward and away and the two went tandem out of the room—Jack not reappearing at all;and after about five minutes Tom Quartz stalked solemnly back."
 
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Archie with Skip the Rat Terrier from a family portrait.

Harvard University

Skip, a black-and-tan Rat Terrier, belonged to Archie Roosevelt. Skip was an affectionate dog: "He never lets his small master out of his sight…"

Once, while the rest of the family was away from the White House, Theodore wrote to his children how both he and Skip missed them and Mother.

"I miss you all dreadfully, and the house feels big and lonely and full of echoes with nobody but me in it…" "Poor Skip is a very, very lonely little dog without his family. Each morning he comes up to see me at breakfast time and during most of breakfast (which I take in the hall just outside my room) Skip stands with his little paws on my lap. Then when I get through and sit down in the rocking-chair to read for fifteen or twenty minutes, Skip hops into my lap and stays there, just bathing himself in the companionship of the only one of his family he has left..."

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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