Dog Stories: The Biden’s Two German Shepherds Have Been Exiled to Delaware; Bush 41’s Springer Spaniel Was Once Called Washington’s Ugliest Dog

Major and Champ, the Biden family’s two German Shepherds, have been sent to the Biden family home in Delaware after “aggressive behavior,” meaning that Major had bitten a member of the White House’s security staff.

The Washingtonian says “The Biden’s adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association after their daughter, Ashley, shared a Facebook post about a littler of puppies in need of a home.

“The older of the two dogs, Champ, is also a German Shepherd. He was adopted from a breeder in Pennsylvania after the 2008 election, which put Biden in the White House as Vice President.

“President Biden is reportedly partial to German Shepherds, because his family had them when he was growing up.

“Major is not the first First Dog to menace someone at the executive mansion. TMZ reported in 2017 that Sunny, one of the Obama family’s Portuguese Water Dogs, had bitten a White House guest; Sunny also once knocked down a toddler at a Christmas party. George W. Bush’s Scottish terrier, Barney, once bit a reporter. After Barney died, Bush’s daughter said on the Today show that the dog was “a real jerk.”

For a more sympathetic White House dog story, here’s what happened when the Washingtonian featured President George H.W. Bush’s dog Millie on a July 1989 cover and called her “Washington’s ugliest dog”:

The White House reacted with restrained dismay to this slight: “Imagine picking on a guy’s dog,” Bush told the Los Angeles Times afterward. Bush, the Times reported, called Washingtonian to ask how we chose Millie for this dishonor, but the editor who put her on the cover, Jack Limpert, wasn’t available when he rang. Limpert later sent a letter to the White House apologizing for the selection: “It’s clear that our words were unpopular as as well as impolite,” Limpert wrote, sending along some dog treats. “Not to worry!” Bush replied. “Millie, you see, likes publicity. Arf, arf for the dog biscuits.”

The germ of the ugly dog cover idea came from when Limpert was walking his Golden Retriever and spoke with a neighbor walking a Springer Spaniel. “When I said something nice about her dog, she began to talk about the virtues of Springer Spaniels and she mentioned that her dog was a lot better looking than Millie,” Limpert said. “I’m not sure she called Millie ugly but she didn’t think the President’s dog was a good representative of the breed.”

Limpert says that when The Washingtonian’s art director “showed me her idea for that July’s Best & Worst cover—it was mostly type with the cover art a picture of a gold crown.” He decided to name Millie Washington’s ugliest dog and feature her on the cover.

Afterward there was more reaction from members of the media than readers, Limpert remembers, “but those friends and readers I talked with thought it was a great story that showed the President as a human being who loved and wanted to defend his dog, not just a political leader.”

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