Joe Biden’s German Shepherd To Be 1st Rescue Dog At White House: Plus, A Look At Past Presidential Pups

With Joe Biden's victory, the White House with again be filled with the sound of barking joy. He's bringing along his two German Shepherds, Major and Champ, the former of which is the first presidential rescue pup.

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Joe Biden
Image Credit: AP Images

Among many stark differences between Donald Trump and past presidents, the 74-year-old willfully did not want a White House pet. The long tradition of dogs in the White House will become alive again when President-Elect Joe Biden is sworn into office in Jan. 2021. Joe and wife Jill will be moving in with their two German Shepherds, one of which the couple fostered then adopted in 2018, making it the first rescue dog to take up residence in the White House. We’ve got a look back at all of the adorable pups who have called the People’s House home over the years as presidents come and go.

Joe Biden’s dogs Champ and Major

For President-Elect Joe’s German Shepherd Champ, the White House will be somewhat familiar return, as the 77-year-old got Champ in 2008 when he became vice president following Barack Obama‘s presidential victory. Biden’s wife Jill promised to let him get a dog at the time. So Champ has been with the couple through their eight years in the Vice President’s residence. Now the pup is returning to D.C. to live in the White House, where he had visited with his human dad over the years. And Champ is being joined by a younger pal!

The couple began fostering another GSD named Major from the Delaware Humane Association after Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence took over in Jan. 2017. Joe and Jill officially adopted the stunning dog in 2018, and now he’ll be one of two German Shepherds calling the White House home. Major is the first rescue dog to be owned by a modern day president.

Barack Obama’s dogs Bo and Sunny

The Obamas
Malia, Michelle, Barack and Sasha Obama pose for a family portrait at the White House with their Portuguese Water Dogs Sunny and Bo. Photo credit: MEGA.

Barack and wife Michelle Obama promised their then-little girls Malia and Sasha that they could get a pet if they ended up moving into the White House. With his 2008 victory came a very big decision for the family, as to what animal would become First Pet. During his first press conference as President-Elect, Obama said that they needed to get a breed that was hypoallergenic due to Malia’s allergies, even though the family wished they could adopt a shelter dog. In 2009, the Obamas welcomed a Portuguese Water Dog puppy named Bo into their family at the White House.

The dog was born and bred in Texas, initially going to a home where the puppy was to be a companion to an older dog, but the animals did not get along. The breeder then gifted the pup to the Obamas. Four years later, Bo got a little sister when Michelle introduced a second Portuguese Water Dog named Sunny to the world via social media on August 19, 2013.

George W. Bush’s dogs Barney and Spot

George W. Bush
George W. Bush olds on to his beloved Scottish terrier Barney at an airport in Waco, TX on Dec. 26, 2006. Photo credit: AP.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are joined by the president’s English Springer Spaniel Spot at his ranch in Crawford, TX. Photo credit: AP.

Our 43rd President George W. Bush came dog-ready when he moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Jan. 2001. It was his English Springer Spaniel Spot Fetcher‘s second time living in the White House. The dog was born in 1989 to Bush’s father George H.W. Bush‘s dog Millie while he was president. Spot thus became the only White House pet to live there during two non-consecutive presidential terms. Sadly, she had to be euthanized in 2003 after a series of strokes at the ripe old age of 14.

The Bushes had two other dogs, both Scottish Terriers. Barney was the primary First Dog, born in Sept. 2000, and was featured prominently in the White House Christmas videos every year during the Bush administration. He was later joined by a second Scottish Terrier named Mrs. Beazley. Barney spent his first nine years of life at the White House, before living out his years in Texas after Bush termed out. The pup passed in 2013 at the age of 12.

Bill Clinton’s dog Buddy and cat Socks

Bill Clinton and Buddy

President Bill Clinton is greeted by his dog Buddy as he returns to the White House on Aug. 12, 1998. Photo credit: AP.
Bill and Hillary Clinton
President Bill Clinton holds Socks the cat as he and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted Washington area elementary school children at the White House on Dec. 20, 1996. Photo credit: AP

When President Bill Clinton , wife Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea moved into the White House in Jan. 1993, the came without a dog. Instead they brought along their adopted stray cat from Arkansas named Socks. The kitty was their pre-teen daughter’s pet from when the family lived in the Little Rock, AR governor’s mansion. But the black and white cat would be joined by another four legged friend during Clinton’s second term in office.

Bill got his very own man’s best friend in 1997, when Buddy the chocolate brown labrador retriever became top pet at the White House. Clinton got the pup in Dec. 1997, a month after winning re-election as POTUS. Buddy was named after Bill’s late great-uncle, Henry Oren “Buddy” Grisham, who was one of the 42nd president’s main role models growing up.

George H. W. Bush’s dog Millie

George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush
President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush walk with their dog Millie across the South Lawn as they return to the White House in Aug. 1992. Photo credit AP.

Millie was born in 1985, when George H.W. Bush was Ronald Reagan‘s vice president. She then got to make the move with her human dad and mom Barbara Bush to the White House when George won the Nov. 1988 presidential election. Millie gave birth to a little of six puppies in 1989, with one of the pups going to the couple’s son, George W. Bush.

Millie continued to be a loving companion to the couple after Bush was defeated by Clinton in the Nov. 1992 presidential election. She went to live at the Bush’s Kennebunkport, Maine compound, where she eventually passed away from pneumonia at the age 12. But her daughter Spot would go on to live in the White House for a second time when George W. Bush became our 43rd president in Jan. 2001.