Part of what makes Joe and Jill Biden seem so down-to-earth is their love of dogs. And when they moved into the White House, their two German Shepherds (Champ and Major) moved in with them.
However, life in the White House can be strict for humans and dogs alike. The Bidens quickly had to establish some ground rules for these dogs. And like many children, the dogs manage to find a way to break those rules from time to time.
But what are these dogs like, and what are the rules they follow? Here’s everything you need to know about the Bidens’ German Shepherds and their White House rules.
Simply by moving into the White House, Champ and Major made a kind of history. That’s because they are the first dogs to live in the White House in four years.
That’s because Donald Trump was the first president in a century to not have a dog in the White House. Some thought this was because Trump disliked dogs, but Trump himself believed he was simply too busy to own a dog.
And the Biden’s younger dog, Major, made another kind of history. He is actually the first rescue dog to live in the White House. The Bidens rescued him from the Delaware Humane Society in 2018 and has been with the family ever since.
So, what are the rules for Champ and Major? It depends on who you ask. For example, in an interview with People, Jill Biden claimed there weren’t any real rules for the dogs (something Joe would later contradict her on).
“They really don’t have any rules, they’re really good dogs,” she said. At this point, Joe Biden chimed in, saying “We trained them from the beginning.” This is meant to explain why the dogs need relatively little in the way of special restrictions or rules.
However, this was the rare interview where Joe and Jill Biden didn’t see eye to eye. While Jill claimed the dogs had no rules, Joe pointed out that one of their biggest rules was created by Jill!
Avoiding the furniture
What’s the main rule that the dogs have to follow? In the interview with People, Joe said that Major and Champ must follow this one rule: “Do not get up on the furniture.” And according to Joe, this is “the only rule Jill has.”
As far as rules for dogs go, this one actually makes a lot of sense. Male German Shepherds usually weigh a minimum of 66 pounds and can get as heavy as 88 pounds. That means Champ and Major are heavy enough to do some damage to any furniture they jump on.
And since the White House is full of vintage furniture and expensive modern furniture, it’s for the best that the dogs don’t jump on it. But this isn’t the only rule that these German Shepherds need to follow from one day to another.
Staying off the bed
When the Bidens set up rules for the dogs, they were pretty thorough. For example, the “no jumping on the furniture” isn’t limited to chairs and sofas. The dogs also aren’t allowed to jump up on the bed.
For the most part, this is a rule that Champ and Major don’t have any trouble following. But there are certain times that Joe and Jill Biden can count on the dogs to break this rule.
What are those times? Whenever the Bidens’ granddaughters sleep over, of course!
Exception for the grandkids
When we talk about the Bidens’ dogs breaking the rules, we need to cast the blame accordingly. That’s because the older dog, Champ, is great about following the rules, including jumping on the bed. But Major, who the Bidens adopted 10 years after adopting Champ, is younger and has to break the rules from time to time.
In the interview with People, the Bidens discussed Major in particular. Joe said that the rule was for the dogs to not jump on beds or furniture “except when our granddaughters stay overnight.”
At first, this made it sound like the Bidens were allowing Major to do this. But Jill quickly laid out the truth: “He sneaks in.” Joe confirmed her account of things: “We walk in, he sneaks in, he jumps up on the bed with them.”
Breaking the rules to cuddle children is one thing. But sometimes, the rule-breaking Major poses a real risk to Joe Biden’s health!
During the interview, Joe Biden revealed just how playful Major can be. In fact, the dog is so playful that he nearly broke Joe’s leg!
“What happened was I got out of the shower. I got a dog and anybody who’s been around my house knows — dropped, little pup dropped a ball in front of me. And for me to grab the ball,” he said. “And I’m walking through this little alleyway to get to the bedroom… I grabbed the ball… and he ran.”
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? But Joe continued: “And I’m joking, running after him and grab his tail… what happened was that he slid on a throw rug. And I tripped on the rug he slid on.”
This caused Joe Biden to injure his foot and have to wear a walking boot, and during an election month! Joe concluded by saying this wasn’t “a very exciting story,” but the amusing tale shows what happens when you combine a playful dog with too few rules!