President-elect Joe Biden is poised to restore a time-honored tradition back to the White House this January.
For the past four years, the White House has been a pet-free zone, as the last time the First Family didn’t have any animal companions was over 100 years ago. That’s about to change, thanks to Champ, who is 12 years old, and Major Biden, who is 2 years old. President-Elect Joe Biden and future First Lady Jill Biden have two sweet, silly German Shepherds, who are set to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with their parents, aka President-elect Joe Biden and future First Lady, Jill Biden.
Major is a rescue dog who’s been in the Biden clan since 2018. His brother Champ, on the other hand, came from a breeder in Pennsylvania in 2008, as a sort of post-election gift. (“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 spent eight years in the vice presidential residence and is no stranger to living in the political spotlight.
By taking his canine family members with him to the White House, Biden is actually fulfilling a campaign promise. In October, the President-Elect shared a clip of Donald Trump implying he would look silly walking a pet on the White House lawn, followed by a photo of Biden and one of his dogs. “Folks — you’re not just voting to put me in the White House. You’re also voting for Champ and Major,” he captioned the video. “Let’s put dogs back in the White House.”
Presidents owning dogs is an American political tradition that dates back to the first U.S. President George Washington, who was also a dog lover and breeder. Washington even coined his own unique breed, according to History.com.
Washington wanted a speedier hunting dog and hoped to breed that speed into the hounds he already owned, according to Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence of the Presidential Pet Museum.
At two years old, Major is still basically a puppy. Champ, on the other paw, has been with the Bidens a lot longer. Plus, the 12-year-old German Shepherd spent time in Washington when Joe was Barack Obama’s VP, meaning Champ’s a pro with politics. As reported by the BBC, Biden’s grandchildren named Champ, the moniker’s significance referencing a popular speech the president-elect’s father used to give. “Any time you get knocked down, champ, get up!” he would say. Champ may need to show Major the ropes in Washington, as he previously lived with the Second Family at One Observatory Circle (the official residence of the Vice President), when Biden was Barack Obama’s VP.