The Return of Dogs to the White House

The Return of Dogs to the White House


After a four-year hiatus, dogs once again call the White House home. The First Dogs Champ and Major Biden, the German Shepherds of President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden, have reportedly settled in nicely. "Major loved running around on the South Lawn," reported The first lady's office following the FDOTUS’s first days in the White House.

Major was adopted two years ago from the Delaware Humane Association when the pup was ten months old. The Bidens fostered Major for eight months before making it official. He is the first shelter dog to live in the White House.

Champ joined the Biden family in 2008. He’s no stranger to the grounds, having lived at One Observatory Circle, the Vice President residence, when Biden served as VP under the Obama Administration.

Shelters are also hopeful that having a rescue dog in the White House will bring a boost to adoptions.

Joe and Jill Biden photo courtesy of The Biden Campaign

“This representation is not just normalizing adoptions, but celebrating it, because the public can see this is a really beautiful shepherd who is joining the White House,” Lindsay Hamrick, the director of shelter outreach and policy engagement at the Humane Society of the United States, recently told MarketWatch. “There are so many animals that are waiting for homes in shelters, so to be able to see one of them in the White House surrounded by tons of people, and having a really awesome life, sends a message that you can show up at your local shelter and find a healthy, happy dog to take home.”

Dogs and the presidency go hand in paw, appearing together at the White House since the 1700s with few exceptions. Former President Donald Trump was the first occupant of the White House not to have a dog in over 100 years—since William McKinley was president, in 1897.

In this deeply bipartisan moment, a return of dogs to the White House is one thing most people are able to celebrate.

“Dogs remind you to live in the present,” Biden told The Union Leader in a story on political pets earlier this year. “They love unconditionally and they savor every moment with you. When I’m with Champ and Major, I get to live in the ‘now’ for a moment with them, enjoy the simple act of throwing a ball around or taking a walk.”

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