Learn about America’s first new dog, the hero and pioneer Biden

Learn about America's first new dog, the hero and pioneer Biden

Photo of Joe Biden and Major via Delaware Humane on Facebook. Photo of Jill Biden with the first new dogs via DrJill on Twitter⁠.

When President-elect Joe Biden steps into the White House in January, he will also bring some of his furry family members – German Shepherd’s champion and pioneer. It’s true: After a four-year vacancy, there won’t be one, but two FPOTUS (first pet in the U.S.) again.

As Biden’s oldest dog and an expert on capital politics, Champ will show his younger brother the ropes. Sasha and Malia Obama were promised a pet if their father became president, and Biden made the same commitment to his wife, Jill Biden, who would have pasted pictures of dogs on the seat of the campaign plane in front of her husband, according to Politico. According to his word, the couple adopted the six-week-old champ from a breeder in Chester County, Pennsylvania, about a month after Barack Obama won the 2008 election. Biden’s granddaughters Finnegan and Macy chose the name Champ.

Ten years later, a rescue puppy Major entered Biden’s life after his daughter Ashley Biden shared a Facebook post about a group of German Shepherd dogs exposed to toxins in their original home. Biden began sponsoring the flagship in March 2018 before it was officially approved eight months later by the Delaware Humane Association in Wilmington.

Why German Shepherds? The president-elect grew up with the dynasty. “I’ve had German Shepherds – since I was a kid. And I really coached them and showed them in the past, my past life,” Biden told George Stephanopoulos of ABC in December 2008.

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After four years not having a pet in the White House, the arrival of the dog-stand looks like another return to normalcy. In fact, Donald Trump is one of the rare Presidents who never had a four-legged, feathered, or furry friend while in office, and only James K. Even Trump’s lack of pets featured in the Biden campaign message:

Perhaps Champ and Major will get recommendations on West Wing living from his predecessors Bo and Sunny Obama. In his first term, Poe flew aboard Air Force One, met members of Congress, paused to attend dog grooming sessions at Alexandria’s Old Town Dog School and vacations at Camp David – large footprints that Champ and Major must fill in.

Assistant Editor

Daniela Beck joined Washington in August 2018. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied Journalism and Digital Culture. Originally from Rockville, she lives in Logan Circle.

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