WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — After four years without a dog in the White House, the Bidens’ four-legged boys have arrived.
Major was adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018, making him the first shelter dog to live in the White House.
Champ has been with the Bidens’ since 2008. Joe Biden gifted Jill with the dog just before they moved into the vice presidential mansion.
Champ is "enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace and Major loved running around on the South Lawn,” according to a statement from the first lady's office.
Animal rescue groups are hopeful Major will become an ambassador for shelter animals by raising awareness.
Most popular pooches
The breed could become even more popular now that two are in the spotlight at the White House.
"I think they're phenomenal, they're very loyal,” Toledo Humane Society President Stephen Heaven told WTOL. “Much of the time they're pretty laid back. They do make good guard dogs as well.”
Pets on Pennsylvania Avenue
The arrival of the Biden pets will also mark the next chapter in a long history of pets residing at the White House after a four-year hiatus during the Trump administration.
“Pets have always played an important role in the White House throughout the decades,” said Jennifer Pickens, an author who studies White House traditions. “It not only provides companionship to the president and their family, but I believe it also humanizes and softens their political image.”
- Although Major is the first shelter dog to live in the White House, he’s not the first ‘rescue.’ President Lyndon B. Johnson’s mixed-breed dog, Yuki, was found at a gas station in Texas. He doted on the dog and the White House released photos of them "singing" together.
- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt also had a German Shepherd named Major.
- President Warren G. Harding's dog Laddie sat in on meetings and had his own cabinet chair.
- Some Americans were suspicious when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev gave First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy a dog named Pushinka. They worried the dog might be “spying” by wearing a bug. Pushinka, which means “fluffy” in Russia, was the offspring of Strelka, the first Russian dog in space.
- President Theodore Roosevelt and his family were famous pet lovers who kept a menagerie including kangaroo rats, snakes, dogs, birds, ponies, and mixed-breed dogs. He bred “Heinz 57” pooches that were eventually recognized by the AKC as a breed called the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier.
- Millie, owned by President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, became one of the most popular dogs ever in the White House after she gave birth to six adorable puppies. The first family kept one of the pups named Ranger and gave another to George W. Bush. Millie also “wrote” a book that earned nearly $1M in royalties, which was donated to the Barbara Bush Foundation of Literacy.
- George W. Bush’s other dog Barney became a big star when he wore a dog’s-eye-view camera, or Barney cam, and gave a tour of the White House’s Christmas decorations. The Scottish terrier was later joined by Miss Beazley and they become BFFs.
- Socks and Buddy made a mark as philanthropists when First Lady Hillary Clinton published a book of children's letters to the two pets. The proceeds were given to the National Park Foundation.
- President Barack Obama promised his daughters a dog if he was elected, so Bo, a Portuguese water dog, joined the family in 2009. Four years later, they welcomed another Portuguese water dog named Sunny. They became stars as they romped around the White House grounds, greeted children at the Easter Egg Roll and even got decked out for a 2014 State Dinner for French President François Hollande.
- Presidents Donald Trump and James Polk were the only ones who didn’t have pets in the White House.