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Joe Biden’s Dogs: VP Adopts Foster Dog

Major officially joins the Biden family.
By Karen B. London PhD, November 2018, Updated June 2021
joe biden adopts dog from rescue

When you’re a famous politician like Vice President Joe Biden [As of 2021 President], everything you do is newsworthy and will be judged. It’s rare for him to receive only positive reactions to anything he does, but it happened. Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, adopted the shelter dog that they had been fostering, and nobody has bad things to say about that.

The positivie reaction presents a contrast to the negative press a decade ago when the family purchased their dog Champ from a commercial breeder. Biden's wife, Jill, promised the VP a dog if he and Obama got elected. Biden found the pup, a three-month old male German Shepherd, in a breeder's kennel in southeastern Pennsylvania," CNN reported.

After that snafu, he promised to adopt a rescue or shelter pal for his next dog and we’re glad to see a high-profile adoption set a good example.

➤ Read More: Biden 2021 - See more images of the Biden White House dogs. 


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The newest member of the Biden family, a dog named Major, first came into their lives in March of 2018 when he was still a puppy. Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden, sent her father a Facebook post about a litter of German Shepherd puppies that were having some health issues and needed foster families.

The six puppies had been exposed to toxins and were hospitalized for treatment. Biden has long loved German Shepherds, and had been wanting to adopt a new dog as a companion for Champ. He contacted the Delaware Humane Association about fostering one of the puppies.

Since they began fostering Major, the Bidens have been training him. In addition to the usual skills that dogs need, Major needs to learn to be comfortable in some situations that most dogs never face, such as traveling on planes and facing large groups of photographers.

When Champ was added to the family in 2008, he was trained by New Castle County Police K-9 coordinator Mark Tobin, before they move into the vice presidential residence.

The Bidens released an official statement that said, “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.” Among the many animals who have been adopted are the other five puppies from Major’s litter.

photos by Steph Gomez/Delaware Humane Association

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life