The newest furry four-legged residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have finally paw-arrived, the Biden family’s two German shepherds — Champ and Major.
The two German shepherds officially joined their humans — President Biden and Jill Biden in the White House on Sunday.
“The First Family wanted to get settled before bringing the dogs down to Washington from Delaware. Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace, and Major loved running around on the South Lawn,” First Lady Jill Biden’s press secretary Michael LaRosa said in a statement.
The arrival of the two German Shepards ends the longest period a pet of some kind didn’t reside in the presidential residence since President Andrew Johnson’s term, from 1865-1869, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. The tradition of presidential pet ownership has been carried on by 31 of the 46 presidents. Former President Trump was the first president in more than a century since President William McKinley in 1897 without owning a dog.
Champ has been with the Biden family for more than 10 years since December 2008, a month after Biden became vice president-elect. Major, a shelter dog, was adopted from Delaware Humane Association in November 2018, making him the first rescue dog to live in the White House.
“Major was 1 of 6 puppies who were brought to DHA after coming in contact with something toxic in their home. Their original owner was unable to afford veterinary care so they surrendered them,” the group wrote on its Facebook page at the time. “Joe Biden caught wind of them and reached out immediately. The rest is history!”
Prior to Biden’s inauguration, the Delaware Humane Association and Pumpkin Pet Insurance cosponsored a virtual fundraising celebration — an “Indoguration Party” celebrating Major becoming a first dog. The virtual event recounted Major’s rise from former shelter pup to a first dog and was emceed by Today’s Jill Martin with more than $200,000 were raised. The rescue plans to use the donations to provide relief to pet owners struggling to care for their animals during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and to help adoptable pets find homes.
Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House and “barking proof that every dog can live the American dream,” the Delaware Humane Association said.
The rowdy young pup became headline news last month when Biden revealed he fractured his right ankle slipping while chasing Major after taking a shower.
Biden has used his pups as campaign pops, posting on social media urging voters to put dogs back in the White House.
“Some Americans celebrate #NationalCatDay, some celebrate #NationalDogDay — President Trump celebrates neither. It says a lot. It’s time we put a pet back in the White House,” Biden tweeted late October ahead of the presidential election.
The tradition of White House pets dates back to Thomas Jefferson, who kept a mockingbird and a couple of bear cubs during his presidency. Theodore Roosevelt had horses, dogs, a Hyacinth macaw parrot, kangaroo rats, five guinea pigs, and a one-legged rooster, as well as a short-tempered badger named Josiah and a green garter snake named Emily Spinach. Calvin Coolidge kept a raccoon, named Rebecca, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. Herbert Hoover had several dogs as well as a wild opossum named Billy.