WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s German shepherd, Champ, passed away “peacefully at home,” the president and first lady announced in a joint statement Saturday.
The Bidens are spending the weekend at their home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Champ had been with the Biden family for 13 years. The Bidens called Champ their “constant, cherished companion” who was adored by the entire family.
Even as Champ’s strength waned in his last months, when we came into a room, he would immediately pull himself up, his tail always wagging, and nuzzle us for an ear scratch or a belly rub. Wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything was instantly better when he was next to us. He loved nothing more than curling up at our feet in front of a fire at the end of the day, joining us as a comforting presence in meetings, or sunning himself in the White House garden. In his younger days, he was happiest chasing golf balls on the front lawn of the Naval Observatory or racing to catch our grandchildren as they ran around our backyard in Delaware. In our most joyful moments and in our most grief-stricken days, he was there with us, sensitive to our every unspoken feeling and emotion. We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always.President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden
German shepherds have a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years, according to the American Kennel Club.
Champ showed his age in recent months in his graying fur and slower gait, and was often a tranquil presence in the White House.
The first lady posted a message on Twitter along with the statement announcing Champ’s death Saturday morning.
Champ was one of two dogs the Bidens brought to the White House after Inauguration Day in January. Their other German shepherd, Major, a rescue dog they adopted in 2018, made headlines in the spring for poor behavior at the White House.
Both dogs were temporarily moved out of the White House in March after Major bit a Secret Service agent. They returned weeks later, after which Major was involved in another biting incident. At the time, a press secretary for Jill Biden blamed the incidents on Major “still adjusting to his new surroundings.”
The Bidens could occasionally be seen walking their two dogs on the White House South Lawn, and the dogs sometimes would join the president on trips to Camp David or visits home in Delaware.
Jill Biden had also previously said the family would be welcoming a cat, though it was unclear when the feline would make its first appearance.
This story comprises reporting from Nexstar Media Wire and The Associated Press.