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Champ, beloved Biden family dog, dies at 13

A statement from the White House said, "He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family."
/ Source: TODAY

President Joe Biden and his family are mourning the loss today of their German shepherd, Champ, who on Saturday died at the age of 13. No specific cause of death was shared.

"Our hearts are heavy today as we let you all know that our beloved German Shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home," a statement from the White House said. "He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family.

"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."

President Joe Biden walks with his dogs Major, left, and Champ in the Rose Garden of the White House on Jan. 26, 2021.Adam Schultz / White House

Champ was one of two dogs to move into the White House in January. There hadn't been a presidential pet during former President Donald Trump's administration, but that changed when Champ and Major, who was the first rescue dog to ever live in the White House, bounded into the West Wing.

"Wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything was instantly better when he was next to us," the statement continued. "He loved nothing more than curling up at our feet in front of a fire at the end of the day, joining us as a comforting presence in meetings, or sunning himself in the White House garden."

Champ joined the family in 2008 when he was acquired as a puppy from a breeder. That year, Biden's granddaughters named him Champ on Christmas Day, because the president's father used to call him that.

"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," the statement on Saturday said. "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."

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden walk with Champ in 2012.Saul Loeb / AFP-Getty Images

This is the second presidential pet to pass away this year. In May, former President Barack Obama and his family lost their dog, Bo, who died at the age of 12 after a battle with cancer.