Joe Biden’s Dogs, Major and Champ, Are Heading to the White House


If you never quite got over your dismay at Donald Trump’s lack of a presidential pet—he’s one of just four commanders-in-chief who neglected to bring a furry friend with them to the Oval Office, and the first since James K. Polk—you’ll finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief next January, when two very good boys move into the White House with President-elect Joe Biden. Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill, are the humans of Major and Champ Biden, two German shepherds aged 2 and 12, respectively. The soon-to-be First Family seems to take this role very seriously, and were rewarded for their high canine approval ratings with the launch of the “Dog Lovers for Joe” movement ahead of the election.

Major and Champ will be in great company as First Pets: They’ll be joining an exclusive club that includes, among many other past pets-in-chief, the Obamas’ two Portuguese Water Dogs, Sunny and Bo; JFK’s hamsters, cat, canary, dogs, ponies, and parakeets; and, of course, Calvin Coolidge’s shockingly well-trained raccoon, Rebecca. Here’s everything you need to know about Major and Champ Biden before they are sworn into office (not really, but can you imagine?!) on Jan. 20, 2021.

Champ Biden

The Bidens got Champ from a Pennsylvania breeder in late 2008, after Jill promised her husband that they could welcome a dog into the family after that year’s election was over, Politico reported at the time. The family announced on Christmas Day that they had named the puppy Champ, after the nickname Biden’s father often used to motivate him to get back up after being knocked down. They reportedly chose a German shepherd because Biden had owned, trained, and showed them since he was a child.

Champ already knows his way around Washington, D.C., after spending eight years living in the capital while Biden served as vice president. During that time, he made regular appearances with his humans at official events and may or may not have caused the Bidens to replace the carpeting in the vice-presidential residence with easier-to-clean hardwood floors. And in what may be the purest thing to ever happen in Washington, Biden made a habit of handing out miniature plush versions of Champ (!!!) to kids he met through his vice-presidential duties.

joe biden dog champ

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Champ isn’t just a president-elect’s best friend—he’s also Biden’s fiercest protector and biggest supporter. “[He] thinks he’s Secret Service, and he is,” Biden said of his elder dog during a campaign stop in Iowa in 2019. Champ also appeared in a very convincing video a few days before the election in which he implored people to vote for his human, and you simply cannot convince me that it’s not what clinched the win for Biden.

Major Biden

Champ’s younger brother Major will make history next year, when he becomes the first-ever shelter dog to live at the White House. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. According to a post the shelter shared on Facebook at the time, the Bidens were fostering Major when they decided to fully adopt him instead.

“Major was 1 of 6 puppies who were brought to DHA after coming in contact with something toxic in their home,” the shelter wrote in another 2018 post. “Once we posted about them for your help, Joe Biden caught wind of them and reached out immediately. The rest is history!”

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Major showed up in the Bidens’ lives at the perfect time, right when they had begun looking to expand their family as a way to give Champ an energy boost. “My vet said, ‘Your shepherd’s 12 years old. He’s getting slow. The best thing to keep him going is get another little puppy,'” Biden shared during that same 2019 Iowa campaign stop.

And though the Bidens have not shared where Major got his name, or if they even chose it themselves, NBC News notes that it likely holds sentimental value for the president-elect, whose late son Beau Biden was a major in the Delaware National Guard.

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