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Bidens announce their German shepherd, Champ, has died

Posted by 
ABC News
ABC News
 2021-06-20

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The White House will be a little quieter when the Bidens return from Delaware to Washington, D.C., after the passing of their beloved German shepherd, Champ Biden.

"Our hearts are heavy today as we let you all know that our beloved German Shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home. He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family," the president and first lady wrote in a statement announcing his death.

"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," the family wrote. "We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always."

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Official White House photos by Adam Schultz - PHOTO: The First Dogs arrived at the White House in Washington, Jan. 23, 2020, including Champ seen here.

Champ became a member of the Biden family after the 2008 election. Jill Biden had promised the family could get a dog post-election, according to Politico. Champ was given his name by Biden’s grandchildren on Christmas that year.

"I've had German shepherds my -- from the time I was a kid. And I've actually trained them and shown them in the past, my past life. So I wanted a German shepherd," Biden said on ABC's "This Week" in December 2008.

MORE: Biden's dogs bring return of presidential pets to the White House

While in the White House, 13-year-old Champ showed signs of his age. After a visit to the North Lawn on Valentine's day, he could be seen limping back inside.

"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," the family recalled.

Champ also helped to bring Major Biden, the family’s younger German shepherd, into the mix.

MORE: Biden's German shepherd Major back in doghouse for another biting incident

"I have two German shepherds. One thinks he's Secret Service and he is," Biden said of Champ while campaigning in Iowa during the 2020 election.

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Adam Schultz/Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz - PHOTO: President Joe Biden is pictured with the Biden family dogs Champ, left, and Major on Feb. 9, 2021 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C.

"And the other one is a puppy. My vet said, 'your shepherd's 12 -years-old. He's getting slow. The best thing to keep him going is get another little puppy.'"

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Adam Schultz/The White House - PHOTO: President Joe Biden greets the Biden's dogs Champ and Major in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Jan. 25, 2021.

While Major has gotten much of the attention during the Bidens' time at the White House, Champ also got his share of the limelight when the then-vice president showed him off in an interview with CBS in 2015.

When Biden asked Champ if he wanted to go play golf, the dog eagerly began yelping with excitement, stealing some hearts as he did.

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