PHOTO: Trooper

Put that in my bowl, please.”

Trooper File

  • Birthday: April 28, 2006

  • Breed: Shiba Inu, an ancient breed from Japan

  • Size: Shibas range from 13.5 inches to 15.5 inches for females and 14.5 inches to 16.5 inches for males, as measured at the withers, or shoulders

  • Coat: double coated with a somewhat stiff outer layer and a finer, softer undercoat

  • Colors: red, sesame, red sesame, black sesame, black and tan, cream

  • Personality: friendly, outgoing, loyal, stubborn, energetic

About Trooper

In Japanese, the name of his breed means “little dog,” but the owners of this Shiba Inu will tell you he packs a lot of canine personality in those 18 pounds. Chosen from a breeder in Oakville, Trooper now calls the Executive Mansion in Olympia his home, and Governor Chris Gregoire and First Gentleman Mike Gregoire his owners.

Shibas are an ancient breed tracing back to the third century B.C. They were bred to hunt small game. Today they are devoted family pets, respected for their outgoing nature and protective instincts. Like his forebears, Trooper, named in honor of the Washington State Patrol, loves the outdoors and needs plenty of exercise.

That’s no problem for the First Gentleman, who walks Trooper at least twice a day. The pair can be found walking the grounds of the Capitol campus, Trooper ever-alert for the occasional scampering squirrel. But the First Gentleman says, “Squirrels don’t know how lucky they are!” that Trooper is always on his leash.

Even after a long walk, Trooper remains energetic. He’s been known to break into a “Shiba 500” race through the Executive Mansion at top speed before he winds down. It’s a trait he shares with others of his breed.

Trooper has won over many fans with his charming ways and delightful smile. Tour groups to the Executive Mansion often find him posed on the staircase, as if to say “Welcome!” A large basket of toys sits near the front door and Trooper happily will pick out a ball or stuffed animal. It’s no surprise that a squeaky squirrel is a favorite.

Although he rarely accepts food offered to him by hand (“Put that in my bowl, please”), Trooper is very good at vacuuming the floors of spilled morsels after receptions. It’s sometimes hard for him to be separated from the Governor and the First Gentleman when they entertain. On occasion, Trooper can be found in the small office just inside the front doors — close enough to his owners but out of the way of guests.

Trooper can be something of a Houdini, too. He’s been known to unzip suitcases and purses if left unattended on floors. Maybe he’s just looking for squirrels!