J. Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972) was the first Director of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States)

John Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972) was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972

Hoover kept his dogs in the closet

Hoover’s dogs were rarely seen in public because he felt that harm could come to them.

This famous boxer photo above(Wide World National Archives 65-H-1187-1.)  The FBI’s huge publicity mill, arranged the shot in an attempt to show that the director had a lighter side.. Personally Hoover liked neither breed, favoring cairn terriers; over the years he had six, three of whom he named G-Boy.

During the “War on Crime” of the 1930s, FBI agents under J. Edgar Hoover apprehended or killed a number of notorious criminals who carried out kidnappings, robberies, and murders throughout the nation, including John Dillinger, “Baby Face” Nelson, Kate “Ma” Barker, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

 After Spee De Bozo(Hoover’s Cairn Terrier Jul. 3, 1922 -May 24, 1934),  passed away; a couple of months later, Hoover’s private mourning dissolved in public triumph over the news that federal agents had gunned down his nemesis, gangster John Dillinger, outside a Chicago movie theater.

                                          Spee De Bozo Headstone

The headstone reads: In Memory of Spee Dee Bozo. Born July 3, 1922. Died May 24, 1934. Our best friend.”

San Francisco Chronicle Fri,  Feb. 4, 1972


Hoover has buried seven dogs in the Aspen Hill Cemetery in Washington.  The dogs are buried in a 6 by 8 foot site that cost $200 each.  The first dog buried there Spee De Bozo has a grave marker, the rest do not.  Hoover currently (Feb 4/1972) has two Cairn Terriers, Gee-Boy and Cindy. (San Francisco Chronicle Feb 4,  1972.)

On May Day 1972, J. Edgar Hoover returned to his residence after a full day’s work at FBI headquarters, had his supper then spent thirty minutes in the back yards roughhousing with his two Carin terriers(Gee-Boy and Cindy) and retired for the day. He would die peacefully in his sleep. After receiving his first dog as a child from his parents, he was never without one, owning many in his lifetime becoming an affectionado and especially knowledgeable in fine breeding of pedigrees, mainly Carin terriers and Beagles. He gave away many to famous people…to especially fond of dogs, President Herbert Hoover and later to President Lyndon B. Johnson, a beagle which was named J. Edgar in his honor and would become the only White House dog to appear in the American Kennel Club’s record book after capturing a second place finish in the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania Beagle Club Trials in 1966. J. Edgar was a replacement gift for one of Johnson’s famous beagle duo’s dubbed “Him and Her.” (Him was run over and killed on the White House grounds.”

 Hoover’s  most famous pet was called Spee-De-Bozo, a Carin terrier which arrived on the scene a few years before Hoover assumed the mantel of Acting Director of the FBI in 1922. The dogs name was probably conceived from his own moniker, as Hoover was called Speed because of his dexterity in performing his duties when employed as a grocery delivery boy at age twelve. Bozo was kept at a simple two story stucco house located at 413 Seward Square located only three blocks behind the Capitol building, the residence of Annie Marie Hoover his mother. Hoover would live here for forty-three years finally leaving after her death. Secrecy surrounded the animal as he was never seen in public nor photographed. Bozo was deemed a possible source for harm or punishment if captured to the Director who was constantly under death threats. Hoover was especially particular about his food. His favorite breakfast was a poached egg on toast. Heaven help the cook if the egg was broken, he refused to eat it and Speed Dee Bozo became the recipient while another egg would have to be prepared. Bozo would live for a total of 12 years and his master would affectionally have him interred at Aspen Hill Memorial Park & Animal Sanctuary in Maryland. He would be joined by six others . (bio by: Donald Greyfield)

When the House Committee on Government Oversight investigated the F.B.I.’s spying on and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr. and others in 1975, Helen Gandy, Hoover’s secretary for 54 years was called to testify. “I tore them up, put them in boxes, and they were taken away to be shredded,” she told the congressmen about the papers. The Bureau’s Washington field office had F.B.I. drivers transport the material to Hoover’s home, then once  Helen Gandy had gone through the material, the drivers transported it back to the field office in the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue where it was shredded and burned.

Gandy stated that Hoover had left standing instructions to destroy his personal papers upon his death and that this instruction was confirmed by Tolson and Gray.  Gandy stated that she destroyed no official papers, that everything was personal papers of Hoover. The staff of the subcommittee did not believe her, but she told the committee “I have no reason to lie.” Representative Andrew Maguire (D-New Jersey), a freshman member of the 94th Congress, said “I find your testimony very difficult to believe.” Gandy held her ground: “That is your privilege.”

“I can give you my word. I know what there was—letters to and from friends, personal friends, a lot of letters,” she testified.  Gandy also said the files she took to his home also included his financial papers, such as tax returns and investment statements, the deed to his home, and papers relating to his dogs’ pedigrees.

The Cairn Terrier Breed  was made famous in the Movie The Wizard of Oz in 1939

Watch Judy Garland sing Somewhere OverRainbow to her cairn terrier Toto in the Movie “The Wizard of Oz” released in 1939 by MGM

Judy Garland was so important she put in a call to J. Edgar Hoover to locate her boyfriend(husband) Syd Luft to find him so that he would attend an important party.

  Read the excerpt below from Judy(pages 302 and 303)by Gerold Frank

 MEET THE BREED        There aren’t any photographs to the best of my knowledge  of J. Edgar Hoover’s dogs,  Spee De Bozo, Cindy and three of whom he named G-Boy

The Cairn Terrier Club of America

“Cairns seem to have an inborn affinity for children. They are physically very tough, and forgive or overlook mishaps and stepped-on feet with characteristic generosity of spirit. They should not, however, be teased or mistreated by children, and close supervision of small children and puppies is essential. Puppies need time away from even the best behaved children and should be provided with a place where they can rest undisturbed until they are ready to play again. A “kennel” or crate is highly recommended

Without training, he will be bored and destructive, barking to help relieve the tedium.

Cairns are not suited to living outside. They are far more rewarding pets when they live in close contact with the family. Being left “tied out” in an unfenced yard can be dangerous to the Cairn as he is vulnerable to any attack that he might invite from larger dogs. The safest arrangement is a securely fenced yard and supervision when he is in it. If there is no fenced yard, the Cairn MUST be exercised on a leash, as it is impossible to train a Cairn to resist the urge to chase squirrels, cats, rabbits, other dogs, etc. (remember, Cairns were bred to hunt!).”Cairn Terrier Club of America:  Meet the Breed

“J. Edgar,” Is  a drama that explores the public and private life of J. Edgar Hoover.  Directed by Clint Eastwood, starring  Leonardo DiCaprio  as J. Edgar Hoover, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Armie Hammer, Josh Lucas, Ken Howard.  Warner Bros.  released the movie Nov 9, 2011.

Watch J Edgar Trailer:

Watch interview with Sue Chipperton Hollywood dog trainer who worked on J. Edgar and many other movies.


Listen to Clint Eastwood discuss his movie  J. Edgar

Link to J. Edgar Website

2 responses to “J. Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972) was the first Director of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States)


  2. Watch an interview with Sue Chipperton, dog trainer that worked with the cairn terriers in the J.Edgar movie.

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