Joe Biden pays heartfelt tribute after death of beloved dog Champ

19 June 2021, 20:01 | Updated: 19 June 2021, 20:03

Champ the German Shepherd was 13 years old
Champ the German Shepherd was 13 years old. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Joe Biden’s dog Champ has died "peacefully at home", the US president has announced.

The German Shepherd, the oldest of the Biden family’s two dogs, was 13 years old.

"He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family," Mr Biden and wife Jill said in a statement posted to the president's official Twitter account.

The Bidens are spending the weekend at their home in Wilmington, Delaware.

They got Champ from a breeder after Mr Biden was elected vice president in 2008.

Champ and Major with Joe Biden in the Oval Office
Champ and Major with Joe Biden in the Oval Office. Picture: PA

Champ was a fixture at both the vice president's home at the Naval Observatory and now the White House.

In their statement, the Bidens said when Champ was young "he was happiest chasing golf balls on the front lawn of the Naval Observatory", and that more recently he enjoyed "joining us as a comforting presence in meetings or sunning himself in the White House garden".

"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," the Bidens said.

Champ's death leaves the Bidens with their younger German shepherd, Major, whom the family adopted from the Delaware Humane Society in 2018.

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 to Delaware.

Jill Biden with Champ and Major on the South Lawn of the White House
Jill Biden with Champ and Major on the South Lawn of the White House. Picture: PA

Major has drawn headlines for his bad behaviour in the past. He caused Mr Biden to suffer a foot injury in November, after the then president-elect tripped over the younger dog while they were playing.

Major and Champ were taken home to Delaware at one point, and Major went through training after two separate biting incidents at the White House and an unknown dog appeared to have pooed in a White House hallway.

Champ, who showed his age in recent months with his greying fur and slower gait, was often a more tranquil presence.

The Bidens are expected to take a cat to the White House to join the family soon.