The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Move over, Sunny and Bo. A new breed of presidential dog may be coming in January.

Bo, left, and Sunny on the South Lawn in this photo released on Aug. 19, 2013, by the White House. (Pete Souza/White House via Reuters)
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President Obama isn’t the only one whose office will have a new occupant next year — there’s also that ceremonial title of first dog to be filled, America.

So who’s up for the job, the description of which basically includes playing fetch on the South Lawn and starring in adorable holiday videos?

First, let’s meet Maisie and Tally, the dogs owned by Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Tally, according to the Presidential Pet Museum, is a black and white toy poodle mix who’s about 6. (Hillary Clinton has said they adopted her to help friskify their aging retriever, Seamus, the great-nephew of their last White House dog, Buddy, both of whom have since passed on to the great dog park in the sky.)

The younger and slightly larger pup in the Clinton household is Maisie, a mutt whom dog experts identify as a likely poodle mix. They think this is Maisie:

Poodles have a long precedent in the White House. Dave Baker, the co-owner of the Presidential Pet Museum, points to Vicky, a French poodle belonging to President Richard M. Nixon’s daughter Julie and another French poodle, Gaullie, who was among the pack that President John F. Kennedy’s brood brought to the executive mansion. Long before that, President Grover Cleveland’s wife, Frances, had a dog of the same breed named Hector (she also kept birds).

On the other hand, Donald Trump and his family do not seem to have any pets — there’s no cat fur on those gilded chairs of his Manhattan penthouse, and no dog walker leading a Trump pooch out for walks in nearby Central Park.

Photos: Presidential pets – animals that have lived at the White House

Baker figures Trump would acquire one because every president since Teddy Roosevelt has, although the GOP candidate has shown little interest in otherwise conforming to the norms of presidential aspirants. Besides, Trump seems to hold pups in low regard: “dog” is one of his go-to insults.

But he is all about branding, so the question of breed would surely be important. “Would he go with something regal, like a greyhound?” Baker wondered. “Something protective, like a German shepherd, or something more down-to-earth, like a Labrador retriever?”