Who are Joe Biden’s dogs Champ and Major? Meet the president-elect’s pets - and other famous White House animals

Apart from Donald Trump, US presidents have traditionally kept pets at the White House for more than 100 years

Although Donald Trump didn’t live with a cat or dog, prior to his presidency, the White House has had a resident pet since President Arthur in 1881.

President-elect Biden will now reinstate the longstanding tradition by bringing his two dogs into his new home when he takes up office.

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What pets can we expect to see on the White House lawn?

Joe and Jill will be joined by their two German Shepherds in the White House
Joe and Jill will be joined by their two German Shepherds in the White House

Biden has two German Shepherds called Major and Champ.

Champ was purchased from a breeder in 2008 and earned his name in memory of Biden’s father who used to tell him ‘Get Up, Champ’, when times were tough.

Major was adopted by Biden and his wife, Jill, in 2018. They originally fostered him before adopting him from Delaware Humane Association animal shelter.

Biden’s daughter Ashley had first seen Major when the shelter advertised his litter on Facebook after they had been rescued.

If you can’t wait until January to catch a glimpse of the two new presidential pooches, the dogs already have their own Instagram.

How is Major making history?

Major will be the first rescue dog to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This is representative of the growing popularity of pet adoption in the United States, with approximately 3.2 million pets adopted each year between 2015 and 2018.

An impressive 23% of Americans get their dogs via adoption, but 34% of US citizens still opt to buy from breeders instead.

Why did Donald Trump not have pets?

Although Trump admitted he was a fan of the canine kind, he chose not to take any pets into the White House during his four-year term.

The president was offered a rescue puppy named Patton - - named after his role-model George Patton, the World War II general - from Lois Pope, a philanthropist for veterans and animals in Palm Beach, Florida.

However, he refused to accept the pup, stating that he did not have time for a dog and felt it would be wrong to accept one only as a token gesture of presidential tradition and for political reasons.

What other White House pets are remembered?

Prior to this, presidents have a long standing history of owning pets and many have favoured dogs. The East Wing of the White House honours previous presidents’ dogs in a permanent exhibition.

In most recent history, the Obamas welcomed two Portuguese Water Dogs, Sunny and Bo, into the Oval office.

Other well-remembered pets include a chocolate labrador named Buddy, owned by Hilary and Bill Clinton.

These were preceded by two Scottish Terriers named Miss Beazley and Barney and a Springer Spaniel called Spot when George W. Bush served.

There have been many others, but the first to be seen and loved across the country was Warren G. Harding's dog, Laddie Boy, who took up office in 1921.

Have there been any unusual presidential pets?

While pups-in-Chief are a firm favourite, there has been a number of weird and wonderful animal residents of the White House.

These include:

- A pony named Macaroni owned by JFK’s daughter Caroline, and gifted from Lyndon B Johnson.

- Polly the foul mouthed parrot was the pet of choice for Andrew Jackson, reportedly causing such a scene at his funeral that it had to leave.

- A presidential possum owned by Herbert Hoover

- Woodrow Wilson kept a herd of sheep on the famous green lawns of the White House during World War 1

- Teddy Roosevelt had a badger named ‘Josiah’.