Champ, one of President Joe Biden
's two White House dogs
, has passed away.
The senior German shepherd "died peacefully at home," according to a statement released by Biden and first lady Jill Biden
on Saturday morning.
Champ, our family's loving companion, passed away today; I will miss him. pic.twitter.com/sePqXBIAsE — President Biden (@POTUS) June 19, 2021
“We love our sweet, good boy and will always miss him,” read the statement.
Champ's good nature
and devotion to his family were lauded by the couple.
“Even as Champ’s strength waned in his final 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 statement said, without elaborating on the senior dog’s cause of death
Champ was purchased as a puppy by the Bidens in 2008, drawing some criticism for going to a breeder rather than adopting from a shelter or rescue
. (Their next dog, Major, a German shepherd, was adopted from a shelter in 2018.)
Pic.twitter.com/EuxtWjfyPi — Rob Flaherty (@RFlaherty46) June 19, 2021
Champ lived with the Biden family at the US Naval Observatory while Biden was vice president.
According to the Presidential Pet Museum, Biden once told Champ, "He thinks he's Secret Service
because he is."
According to the museum, the dog's name was given to him by Biden's granddaughters, Finnegan and Maisy, who chose the name "Champ" because their grandfather used to say, "Anytime you get knocked down, champ, get back up!"
Although Major's time in the White House was marred by a series of nipping incidents, Champ's life was relatively free of controversy, with the exception of a bizarre right-wing attack
on his appearance and a minor mystery
Champ's death was announced just weeks after Barack and Michelle Obama
announced the death of former first dog Bo.