Meet Champ and Major: The Pets of the New First Family
Major and Champ Biden will bring the tradition of Presidential pets back to the White House after a four-year break. Before 2017, every single first family for over 100 years had an animal member of their family.
Americans love their pets. That is an absolute given with almost 70% of US households owning one pet- or more! So it should not be a surprise that there is excitement around the fact that the Biden family includes two German Shepherds, Champ and Major. These first pets include a special first for the White House-- Major was adopted from a shelter! Champ is Pennsylvania-born and joined the family in 2008, whereas Major was adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018.
Starting with George Washington, presidents had pets. In 1789, animals had work to do-the Washington family had a brood of foxhounds used to retrieve during hunting and several horses for transportation. But beyond those political animals, horses, dogs, cats, and birds were fairly common presidential pets. Some early alternative pets included Thomas Jefferson's bear cubs and John Quincy Adams' alligator.
Pets in the White House are a long-standing tradition that has clearly changed with the times. On January 20, 2021, the White House will join the majority of Americans and become a home with pets again.