Don’t be fooled by the tough guy, ex-body builder exterior – actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a certified softie when it comes to his beloved pets. The 76-year-old father of five considers himself more like a father of 12, if you take into account all of the animals he cares for on his six-acre estate in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.
That’s right — the ex-governor of California and beloved superstar has essentially amassed his own personal petting zoo, consisting of seven animals. There’s a mini donkey named Lulu, a pig named Schnelly, a mini pony named Whiskey and four pups: Cherry, Noodle, Dutch and Schnitzel.
Read on to learn more about the Austrian action hero and his adorable menagerie of BFFs!
Get to know Arnold Schwarzenegger
Born July 30, 1947, in Thal, Styria, Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger began dreaming of moving to America at a young age. “I saw the skyscrapers, and the bridges, and the highways, and the cars with the fins sticking out, and all this stuff. Hollywood,” Schwarzenegger told LA Weekly. “I said, ‘What am I doing here on the farm? Oh, God, I‘ve got to move on. How do I move on?'”
Schwarzenegger first gained recognition with an impressive career as a bodybuilder and achieved his dream of moving to the United States in 1968 at the age of 21, knowing very little English. But his risk paid off: He became known as “The Austrian Oak” in the body-building industry, racking up top titles including Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia, which he won six times.
His dominating physique, ambition and natural charm soon caught the eye of Hollywood producers, and he was cast in Stay Hungry (1976) for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Acting Debut and ultimately lead to his first leading role in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian.
His screen presence, chiseled good looks and fearlessness made him perfect for action films, and he dominated the 1980s and 1990s with smash hits such as The Terminator, Predator and Commando.
In the early 2000s, Schwarzenegger served as the Chair of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, and as Chair of the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He found a new love for politics and decided to put his charisma to work, serving as the governor of California from 2003 to 2011.
Adorable Arnold Schwarzenegger pets
While Schwarzenegger is still acting today, recently starring in the Netflix comedy-drama series Fubar about a father-daughter CIA duo, he has been focusing more on loved ones, including his seven fur babies. “I never thought this was going to be the additional kind of joy, because I just love animals because I grew up on a farm in Austria and I always enjoyed animals,” Schwarzenegger said during An Evening with Arnold Schwarzenegger, marking the launch of his new book Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life.
In an interview with TV Insider, Schwarzenegger’s Fubar costar and Top Gun: Maverick actress Monica Barbaro recalled a hilarious meeting with the action star: “On Zoom, he’s got a cigar in his mouth. His [pet] donkey walks up, he gives him a cookie. You’re like, ‘OK, this is not what I expected but also everything I could have possibly hoped for!’”
When there aren’t donkeys crashing Zoom calls around the Schwarzenegger residence, rest assured that there’s still bound to be an animal somewhere nearby, at least according to his pals. Danny DeVito is a longtime friend of Arnold’s after the two worked together on the films Twins (1988) and Junior (1994).
In an interview with The Sunday Times, DeVito shared what a visit to the Schwarzenegger house is like when the various pets take over. “The animals just roam around all over the place — they’re coming to getcha!” DeVito joked.
Indeed, one of Schwarzeneggers favorite pastimes is herding his donkey, Lulu, and pony, Whiskey, around his property on his bicycle — he’s coming to get ya!
Schwarzenegger also loves introducing his new family members to the world in sweet Instagram posts. He debuted his Alaskan Malamute pup in 2020, posting the fluffy face that his fans and followers have come to love.
His caption read: “Meet the newest member of the family, Dutch! He’s 10-months-old, named after my character in Predator, weighs 103 pounds, and is slightly afraid of Lulu [the donkey]… but they’ll be best friends soon.”
In 2022, he added Schitzel to the crew, stating, “It’s time to introduce the new member of the family to you. I got her for Christmas! Her name is Schnitzel, after my favorite Austrian dish and my own nickname,” Schwarzenegger writes. “She and Dutch are already best friends. Cherry shows her teeth to her nonstop, and Lulu tried to trample her, so we are working on all of the relationship dynamics. At least Whiskey doesn’t care about anything as long as she gets her food. But she is such a sweet little meatball.”
Here, he gives his sweet gal Cherry a little love — saying she has gotten a little jealous of Lulu and Whiskey’s celebrity.
The latest addition to the Schwarzenegger’s collection of animals is none other than a pet pig by the name of Schnelly. Funnily enough, this isn’t Schwarzenegger’s first rodeo as a pig owner. In fact, he took inspiration from none other than George Clooney.
In an interview with The Columbus Dispatch, when asked about George Clooney, his co-star in 1997’s Batman & Robin, Schwarzenegger revealed: “I always liked that he was into pigs; he has this little pig that he takes everywhere. So I bought a pig right after that,” the actor admitted. “Only thing is, I must’ve bought the wrong one because, in no time, it was 300 pounds and I could barely lift the son of a gun,” he joked.
By the looks of his recent Instagram post introducing little Schnelly to the world, she’s not quite there yet!
These days, it looks like everybody is getting along. In a 2023 post, Schwarzenegger is seen cradling Schnelly in his arms, while he sits surrounded by his dogs, Schnitzel and Dutch. “Schnelly, Schnitzel and Dutch demanded more time in the spotlight,” the caption reads.
Arnold Schwarzenegger pets helping others
During the pandemic, Schwarzenegger shared an adorable video to his followers, encouraging viewers to stay home, while he fed his donkey Lulu and pony Whiskey. “We don’t go out. We just eat with Whiskey and Lulu and we have a good time,” he shares in the video.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pets have became so beloved across his social media platform during that time that he even decided to do some good with their popularity. Creating a humorous T-shirt with an illustration of himself with Lulu and Whiskey. The proceeds went to After School All Stars, a national nonprofit he founded. According to their website, they provide “free, comprehensive after-school and summer programs that keep children safe and help them succeed in school and life.”
The funds from these shirts were used to provide groceries for families in need during the pandemic as opposed to their typical contributions, since students weren’t attending school in person.
Sharing his love for animals with the next generation
“Katherine, my oldest daughter has two girls, and she comes over with [the] two girls like once a week and just plays around with the animals,” Schwarzenegger shared during An Evening with Arnold Schwarzenegger discussion. “And those kids have such a fun time.”
He went on to reveal that he wants to teach them every part of what it means to raise animals. “Learning that they have to go to the stable and now we have to clean the stable. It’s just fun. So you have to kind of teach those kids right away when they’re very young. It’s really fantastic.”
Today, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pets continue to bring him peace and love, and we hope he’ll be adding more cute faces to his fuzzy family soon.