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How did Champ die? Joe Biden's beloved German Shepherd dies at 13

Joe Biden's elder German Shepherd Champ died at the age of 13; he was the first shelter dog to live in the White House
UPDATED JUN 20, 2021
President Joe Biden's dog Champ (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden's dog Champ (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Champ, one of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden's pet dogs, died on Saturday, June 19. The German Shepherd was hailed as a "constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years" by the president and first lady in a joint statement released through the White House Briefing Room.

In January this year, Champ and Biden's other German Shepherd Major officially joined the first family in the White House. Major became the first dog to go from a shelter to the White House. In February this year, Newsmax host Greg Kelly was dubbed an 'insipid ghoul' for saying Champ looks like he's 'from the junkyard'.


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Major was brought from a shelter run by the Delaware Humane Association as a companion for the elderly Champ, who has been living with the Bidens since 2008 when Biden was serving as the US vice president under Barack Obama.


How did Champ die?

Although no details are out, it is possible that Champ died of old age. The average German Shepherd's life is between 9 and 13 years. “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. Wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything was instantly better when he was next to us," the joint statement by the Bidens read.

According to Saturday's statement, Champ's favorite pastimes were cuddling up in front of the fire and "sunning himself" in the White House garden. He used to chase golf balls and play with the Bidens' grandchildren in his younger years. “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. We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always,” the statement concluded.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Vice President Joe Biden's dog, Champ, stands during a speech during a Joining Forces service event at the Vice President's residence at the Naval Observatory May 10, 2012, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Messages for Champ poured into Twitter all through Saturday. "Champ was such a good boy, and we know how much he meant to your family over the years. Barack and I are sending all our love to you, @POTUS, and the entire Biden family," wrote Michelle Obama. "As a crazy-in-love dog owner, my heart goes out to ⁦@POTUS⁩ and @FLOTUS on the loss of their pal Champ. These guys have a way of wheedling their way into our hearts!" said David Axelrod, former senior advisor to the US president.

"I spent a lot of time with Champ at the Naval Observatory when I was national security advisor to then VP Biden. Champ was a beautiful, loyal, and loving creature. And boy oh boy did he love chasing golf balls! You will be missed. R.I.P.," said Colin Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.