Trump: Having a pet dog would feel ‘a little phoney’

Donald Trump is not hiding the fact he is not a dog person.

The president appeared impressed while describing the drug-detecting abilities of German shepherds that work for the US Secret Service, but he also made it abundantly clear that he can get by in his daily life without the canine companionship many of his predecessors welcomed.

“I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have any time,” he said at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, after he described watching a dog sniff out drugs hidden in a box.

That's not the relationship I have with my people

The crowd cheered its approval after he asked: “How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?”

The president shook his head and said: “I don’t know … I don’t feel good. Feels a little phoney, phoney to me.”

Mr Trump said “a lot of people” have told him he should get a dog because “it’s good, politically”.

“I said, ‘Look, that’s not the relationship I have with my people’,” he said.

Donald Trump speaks during a rally in El Paso (Eric Gay/AP)

He will break a long tradition of presidential pet ownership if he remains animal-free.

Barack Obama had Portuguese water dogs called Bo and Sunny, and George W Bush had Scottish terriers named Barney and Miss Beazley.

Bill Clinton had Buddy, a chocolate Labrador, and a cat named Socks. Presidents well before those three also shared the White House with pets.

Vice president Mike Pence has an assortment of pets, including Harley, an Australian shepherd dog, a rabbit named Marlon Bundo, and a cat called Hazel.

The American Veterinary Medical Association says nearly 57% of US households owned a pet at the end of 2016.

About 38% owned one or more dogs, which the association says is the highest estimated rate of dog ownership since 1982, when it began measuring.

- Press Association

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