Everything you need to know about Joe Biden’s dogs, Major and Champ, as they move into the White House

First pets are back! Dogs have returned to the White House for the first time in four years

Olivia Petter@oliviapetter1
Monday 25 January 2021 15:30

For the first time in four years, dogs are back in the White House, after moving in along with their owners President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden. 

Both Champ and Major are German Shepherds, though they were purchased separately.

Following the election result in November, an Instagram account dedicated to both canines was launched under the name “first dogs USA”.

The account already has more than 70,000 followers and has posted 10 photos of the two dogs.

An early post of Champ and Major snuggled together on a rug is captioned: "We’re so proud of our dad @JoeBiden, the first ever presidential candidate to receive 75 million votes. 

“But Major will be setting a record of his own as he's the first ever rescue pupper to live in the WH. We’re gonna play all day & receive countless treats! #DOTUS #FirstDogs #presidentelect [sic].”

Neither Donald Trump nor Melania Trump owned any pets, meaning that the Biden family’s arrival will mark the first time that animals will have lived in the White House since the Obamas lived there.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, his two Portuguese Water Dogs, Bo and Sunny, were residents of the White House.

Bo was purchased in 2009 as a gift to the Obama children from Senator Ted Kennedy, while Sunny was purchased in 2013.

Now, as two new dogs pack their toys for Washington DC, here’s everything you need to know about Champ and Major.

Who is Champ?

Champ is the elder of the two Biden dogs and was purchased from a breeder in Pennsylvania in 2008, shortly after Barack Obama won the election with Mr Biden as his vice-president.

"He was promised the post-election dog by his wife, Jill, who would tape pictures of different dogs on the back of the seat in front of Biden on his campaign plane," Politico reported at the time.

Champ lived in the vice presidential residence, Number One Observatory Circle, for eight years during Obama’s presidency.

The name is said to have been chosen by Mr Biden's grandchildren and bear sentimental significance.

In campaign speeches for the 2008 election, Mr Biden would recall how his father told him as a child, "Any time you get knocked down, champ, get up!"

Who is Major?

Major is the newest canine addition to the Biden family, having been fostered and then adopted in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association.

Major is the first shelter dog to reside in the White House.

He featured in numerous social media posts from Mr Biden during the presidential campaign, including one video captioned: "No ruff days on the trail when I have some Major motivation."

Which other presidents have brought pets to The White House?

Trump was the first president since James K Polk, who served from 1845 to 1949, to not bring any pets to The White House.

President Clinton brought his pet cat Socks with him along with a labrador named Buddy, who joined the family later. 

Meanwhile, George W Bush owned a Scottish terrier named Barney during his presidency.

On the subject of pets, Trump has previously said he was too busy to own one.

“I wouldn’t mind having one, but I don’t have any time," he said at a rally last year. 

"How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?” he said. “I don’t know, feels a little phony to me.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments