The Biden family adopted Major from the Delaware Humane Association in November 2018.
We're putting dogs back in the White House! President-elect Joe Biden will restore the time-honored tradition of having a presidential pet at the White House this January when his two German shepherds, Champ and Major, will grace the executive residence with the pitter-pattering of their paws once again. The First Dogs Elect(s) of USA will the first official floofs to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after the Obamas' Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny, since President Trump was the first president in more than a century not to have a pet of any kind.
🐾 Hello America! Hello world! It’s us, Champ and Major. We are the Bidens’ family puppers and First Dogs Elect(s) of USA. We want to thank you all for your suppawrt by sharing our pawsidential adventures here! Woof! Woof! 🐶🇺🇸🐕 pic.twitter.com/J46aiXKVFW— Champ & Major Biden 🇺🇸 (@First_Dogs_USA) November 8, 2020
Meanwhile, Major Biden is also set to make history as the first shelter dog to call the White House home. The Biden family adopted Major from the Delaware Humane Association in November 2018, 10 years after they welcomed Champ. "We are so happy to welcome Major to the Biden family, and we are grateful to the Delaware Humane Association for their work in finding forever homes for Major and countless other animals," the Bidens said in a statement obtained by CNN at the time. Announcing the adoption news on Facebook, the shelter revealed that the former vice president and second lady fostered the pup for a while before making things official.
"Today is Major's lucky day! Not only did Major find his forever home, but he got adopted by Vice President Joe Biden & Dr. Jill Biden! The Bidens have gotten to know Major while fostering him and are now ready to make the adoption official. Best of luck and thank you for being one of our Friends for life," the shelter wrote. "Major was one of six puppies who were brought to DHA after coming in contact with something toxic in their home. Their original owner was unable to afford veterinary care so they surrendered them. With the help of our friends at VSCD, together we provided lifesaving care, shared their story here, and that we were looking for fosters for them. Once we posted about them for your help, Joe Biden caught wind of them and reached out immediately. The rest is history!"
Major's big brother, Champ, has been in the Biden family since late 2008 when Biden bought him from a breeder in Pennsylvania as a three-month-old pup. According to Politico, he was promised the post-election dog by his wife, Jill, who would reportedly tape pictures of different dogs in front of Biden's seat on his campaign plane. His grandchildren chose to call the dog Champ because Biden's dad always told him growing up, "Get up champ," whenever he was having a tough time — an anecdote the longtime politician often mentioned it in his campaign speeches.
🐾 We’re so proud of our dad @JoeBiden, the first ever presidential candidate to receive 75 million votes. But Major will be setting a record of his own as he's the first ever rescue pupper to live in the WH. We’re gonna play all day & receive countless treats! #DOTUS #FirstDogs pic.twitter.com/o1Hsr7nZ8e— Champ & Major Biden 🇺🇸 (@First_Dogs_USA) November 9, 2020
"Of all of us, Champ is going to have the hardest time leaving this place," Jill told The Washington Post as the Bidens prepared to move back to Delaware in January 2017. "Champ has a built-in family here 24 hours a day with all the staff and security guards that keep little dog biscuits on hand for him." The tradition of White House pets is so ingrained that President Trump drew some suspicion about his lack of a pet. His antipathy towards dogs was confirmed by his ex-wife Ivana in her memoir Raising Trump where she wrote: "Donald was not a dog fan. How can you not love a dog that acts like he's won the lottery for life just because he sees you walk through the door?"
🐾 We woof like to thank our suppawrters, the doggos that stood by their hoomans as they ran for office and then endorsed our dad: @First_Dog_USA, @firstdogsSB, @FirstDogBailey and all the other puppers who helped us win this race. We love you! #FirstDogsCoalition #UnitedWeWoof pic.twitter.com/1WUkJCDN5E— Champ & Major Biden 🇺🇸 (@First_Dogs_USA) November 8, 2020
Trump himself addressed the matter at a February 2019 rally in Texas where he claimed that he doesn't "have any time" and felt it would be "phony" for him to get one for political reasons, reports The New York Times. "You do love your dogs, don't you?" he asked at the time. "I wouldn't mind having one, honestly, but I don't have any time. How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?" Meanwhile, Major reflects a broader trend of Americans adopting pets from shelters and their stance on animal rights, said Andrew Hager, the historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum. "In a way, I've made the argument that you can look at the history of Americans and animals by looking at the president and their pets."