The Alpine Spaniel is an extinct breed of dog which was used in mountain rescues by the Augustinian Canons, who run hospices in the region around the Great St. Bernard Pass. The spaniel was a large dog notable for its thick curly coat.
Although Nixon's cocker spaniel never lived in the White House, Checkers became quite a celebrity after then-Senator Nixon mentioned the dog in a televised speech on September 23, 1952. Nixon used the new medium of TV to take his case to the people to deny any alleged misuse of $18,000 in campaign contributions. During the speech, he stated that regardless of what anyone said, his young daughters, Julie and Tricia, were keeping one campaign gift: a black-and-white puppy from a supporter in Texas.