Champ, Major and other White House pets

Image source, White House / Adam Schultz
Image caption,
The Bidens have had Champ since 2008, after Mr Biden was elected vice-president

President Joe Biden's dogs have arrived at the White House, restarting a long-held tradition of having pets there.

Donald Trump was the first US president in more than 100 years not to have a pet.

Mr Biden's two German Shepherds - Champ and Major - joined the president and first lady over the weekend and seemed at home on the White House lawn.

The dogs have a big fan base on social media. A Twitter page in their name has tens of thousands of followers.

The pair were pictured at the White House on Sunday, a few days after their owners moved in.

"Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace and Major loved running around on the South Lawn," a statement from the White House said.

The two pets were heard barking in the background on Monday as their owner spoke to press in the Oval Office, prompting this quip from the White House Twitter account.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Here's a look at what we know about the new "First Dogs", and their predecessors.

Champ and Major

Mr Biden got Champ as a puppy after being elected vice-president in 2008.

His wife, Jill, promised him the post-election pet, and posted pictures of different dogs on the back of the seat in front of him on his campaign plane, according to Politico.

The name, chosen by Mr Biden's grandchildren, had sentimental significance.

In campaign speeches for the 2008 election, he recalled how his father would tell him: "Any time you get knocked down, champ, get up!"

Major was fostered and then adopted in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association.

Image source, White House / Adam Schultz
Image caption,
Major is said to be the first rescue dog in the White House

Bo and Sunny

Portuguese Water Dogs Bo and Sunny were residents of the White House during Barack Obama's presidency.

When he declared victory, Mr Obama told his daughters: "You have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."

Bo was given as a gift to the Obama children from Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009, while Sunny came along in August 2013.

Bo, who has a white chest and front paws, and the all-black Sunny proved popular, even helping with official duties.

Image source, The White House

"Everybody wants to see them and take pictures," Michelle Obama said during her husband's presidency.

"I get a memo at the beginning of the month with a request for their schedules, and I have to approve their appearances."

Buddy and Socks

Bill Clinton had a chocolate Labrador called Buddy during his time as president, as well as a cat named Socks.

The pair often fought and the New York Times jokingly called them nemeses.

Image source, Getty Images

Mr Clinton told reporters in 2000 that Buddy would sometimes sleep next to him when his wife was away.

"He's my true friend," he said.

Hillary Clinton even wrote a book about the two pets, called Dear Socks, Dear Buddy, which includes letters from children and details about their rivalry and habits.

Miss Beazley and Barney

Among his pets, George W Bush had two Scottish Terriers called Miss Beazley and Barney while he was president.

Image source, Getty Images

The dogs featured in videos released by the White House such as "A Very Beazley Christmas" and "Barney Cam".

Mr Bush has described Miss Beazley as "a source of joy", and said he and Barney shared a love for the outdoors.


President Lyndon B Johnson's favourite dog was a terrier mix named Yuki.

Mr Johnson's daughter, Luci, found Yuki at a petrol station in his home state of Texas on Thanksgiving Day in 1966, according to the Presidential Pet Museum website, which compiles information on the White House pets.

Image source, Getty Images

Luci gave the dog to Mr Johnson as a birthday present the following year.

The pair did everything from attending cabinet meetings to swimming together.

"They shared a very significant bond that personified the American spirit: Only in America could a poor boy from Johnson City end up in the White House," his grandson once said.


Among the most famous White House dogs is Franklin D Roosevelt's beloved Scottish Terrier Fala.

Fala was given to Mr Roosevelt by his cousin in 1940, and the president named him Murray the Outlaw of Falahill, after a Scottish ancestor.

Fala had a bone brought up on the president's breakfast tray every morning, and even needed a secretary appointed to him to answer his fan mail, according to the Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

The president had the cake pictured below made especially for Fala's birthday.

Image source, Getty Images

In a 1942 campaign, Fala donated toys to promote scrap rubber collections for the war effort.

Films have been made about Fala, and the dog is even memorialised in a statue next to one of Mr Roosevelt at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington DC.


It's not just cats and dogs who have held the esteemed title of "first pet". There have also been birds, hamsters and even ponies.

Macaroni was a gift to John F Kennedy's daughter Caroline from Lyndon B Johnson.

Image source, Getty Images

The pony was usually stabled in Virginia but came frequently to the White House, where it was pictured roaming around the grounds.

According to the Presidential Pet Museum, when Jackie Kennedy was giving a tour to the empress of Iran, Farah Pahlavi, Macaroni nuzzled the guest in an apparent bid to eat the daffodils she was carrying.

Like other presidential pets, Macaroni became famous, receiving fan mail and even appearing on the cover of Life magazine.