Get to know the First Pets—also known as Joe Biden’s dogs, Champ and Major. Biden, the former Vice President under President Barack Obama’s administration, was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Inauguration Day January 20, 2021.
His running mate, former California Senator Kamala Harris, was also inaugurated as the 49th Vice President of the United States and became the first woman, first Black person and first person of South Asian descent to become Vice President. Biden and Harris’ inauguration comes after the Democratic team won the 2020 Presidential Election in November 2020 over former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
With a new president comes a new First Family. We talked about Biden’s four kids and seven grandkids here (as well as Harris’ two stepchildren), but what about Joe Biden’s dogs, specifically Champ and Major? Well, according to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s press secretary Michael LaRosa, Champ and Major are official residents of the White House after they moved in on Sunday, January 25, 2021 soon after Biden was took the oath of office.
“The First Family wanted to get settled before bringing the dogs down to Washington from Delaware. Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace, and Major loved running around on the South Lawn,” LaRosa told CNN. The Bidens are also expected to add a cat to their First Family, though when that will happen is unclear.
But back to Biden’s dogs. Ahead is what to know about Joe Biden’s dogs, Champ and Major, a.k.a. the new First Pets of the United States. (One of his pups even made history as the first shelter dog to move into the White House.)
Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, welcomed Champ (right in the picture above), a German shepherd, into their family around Christmas 2008. He was born in October 2008 and was 12 years old at the time Biden moved into the White House as president. Champ also lived with the Bidens at the vie presidential residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory during Biden’s two terms with former President Barack Obama. He was purchased from a breeder in Pennsylvania.
Champ’s name is inspired from a nickname Biden’s father gave him when he was a boy. He was named by Biden’s granddaughters. In 2008 speech, Biden recalled how his father used to call him champ. “Any time you get knocked down, champ, get up!” he recalled of one of his dad’s quotes. Biden, who has owned German shepherds in the past, would also give children plush toys of Champ during his vice presidency.
Major was adopted from the Delaware Human Association in November 2018, 10 years after the Bidens welcomed Champ. He is the first rescue dog to live at the White House. Major was born in January 2008, which made him 3 years old at the time Biden moved into the White House. He was rescued from a litter that was exposed to “something toxic” and his original owner was unable to afford veterinary care for him, according to NBC News.
It’s unclear the inspiration for Major’s name, but many believe it to be inspired by Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, who was a major in the Delaware National Guard. In November 2020, Biden revealed that he fractured his foot while playing with Major. I’m joking, running after him and grab his tail. And what happened was that he slid on a throw rug. And I tripped on the rug he slid on,” he told CNN at the time.
Three days before Biden’s inauguration, the Delaware Humane Association held a Zoom “indoguration for Major, which was attended by 7,400 people, featured a performance by Josh Groban and raised $200,000 in donations for the association.