First Dogs (Paperback)

American Presidents and Their Best Friends

By Brooke Janis, Roy Rowan

Algonquin Books, 9781565129368, 163pp.

Publication Date: June 15, 2009

List Price: 9.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog," Harry Truman once said. Perhaps that's why, for much of our Republic's history, there have been two top dogs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—one with two legs, one with four. First Dogs, by distinguished journalist Roy Rowan and researcher Brooke Janis, tells the whole doggone story, from the days before there was a White House to Barack Obama’s newly adopted presidential pup, Bo.

Here's a lighthearted romp through American history, packed with drawings and paintings from early America, plus photographs, starting with Abraham Lincoln's Fido. Not only did these four-footed goodwill ambassadors humanize their distinguished masters, they offered them a little unconditional love in a loveless town.

First Dogs gives dog lovers and history lovers a new angle on presidential history and is more fun than you can shake a stick (or rubber bone) at.

About the Author

Brooke Janis is a longtime television producer who has worked for CBS news and other national media. She lives in New York City.

Roy Rowan has been a correspondent and editor for Life, Time, and Fortune and has contributed to other major magazines. He is the author of numerous books and articles on business, foreign affairs, and politics, including The Intuitive Manager, The Four Days of Mayaguez, and Powerful People. He lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Praise For First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Best Friends

"It's the charming photos that make First Dogs so appealing." —USA Today

"Succeeds in keeping the tail of trivia wagging the dog of American history. This one is fur keeps." —People

"Rowan intertwines anecdotes and dozens of photographs with hard-to-stop-reading stories that track the canine legacy on America’s democracy." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch