"First Pet" is a long-standing tradition in the White House, with recent residents like Buddy the lab and Millie the spaniel finding themselves in the headlines almost as often as their owners-in-chief.
So who is the front-running candidate for pet ownership?
Among the field of fourteen dogs, six cats, 14 fish, two turtles named Cuff and Link, three birds and a ferret, John McCain leads the pack (literally) with 22 pets.
Barack Obama, who has no pets, is apparently fielding pressure from his daughters to get a dog if he wins the election.
Here is a breakdown, by party, of who owns -- or is owned by -- what:
- Delaware Senator Joe Biden: 1 cat.
- New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Seamus, our Lab."
- Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd: None, because of family's allergies. Would like a dog.
- Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards: Golden retriever and chocolate Lab.
- Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich: Pound-rescues Harry the beagle-basset, Lucie the beagle and George the cocker spaniel (on a purely personal dog breed preference opinion, anyone with a rescue "bagel" and beagle gets my vote!)
- New Mexico Governor. Bill Richardson: Cats Jake and Squeaky.
- Kansas Senator Sam Brownback: Two dogs, two cats and a fish.
- Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: None.
- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Jet the 9-year-old black Lab, Sonic the 1 1/2-year-old Shih Tzu. (on another purely personal dog breed preference opinion, I would never vote for anyone who has a Shih Tzu.)
- California Representative Duncan Hunter: Two black Labs, Boo and Hunter.
- Arizona Sen. John McCain: Sam the English springer spaniel, Coco the mutt, turtles Cuff and Link, Oreo the black and white cat, a ferret, three parakeets and 13 saltwater fish.
- Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney: Family recently lost Marley, a Weimaraner.
- Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo: No longer has a pet.