President Biden’s two German shepherds were shipped back home to Delaware for a temporary vacation after Major, the youngest, showed aggressive behavior toward an “unfamiliar person” who surprised him, Mr. Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
“The dogs will return to the White House soon,” after spending time with a caretaker at the family house in Wilmington, Ms. Psaki told reporters at the White House.
Ms. Psaki did not provide many details. She did, however, say there had been some kind of an incident resulting in a minor injury that was handled by the White House medical unit, with no further treatment needed.
The dogs “are still getting acclimated to their new surroundings,” Ms. Psaki said.
The Delaware trip was already in the works before the episode, she added (At least one media reporter noted that language echoed the formulations used to explain the absence of misbehaving humans).
A report published by CNN on Monday evening said that the dogs, Champ and Major, had been moved after Major had what one person described as a “biting incident” with a member of the White House’s security staff.
A person familiar with the dogs’ whereabouts said it was typical for Champ, and Major, to be shuffled back to Delaware when Jill Biden, the first lady, is on the road; Dr. Biden is currently on the West Coast.
The dogs joined the Bidens at the White House shortly after the family relocated to Washington. Since then, they have been allowed to roam unleashed on the White House grounds. They are often part of the backdrop in Oval Office photos.
“They really don’t have any rules, they’re really good dogs,” Dr. Biden told People magazine during a joint interview with her husband published in February. In that interview, Mr. Biden said that Champ was 14 years old, and Major was about a year-and-a-half old, though the dog, adopted as a puppy in 2018, is likely closer to three.
Major underwent a “special training” to become acclimated to the Biden household, and was fostered for several months before the Bidens officially adopted him, Kerry Bruni, the association’s director of animal care, said at the time.
“I imagine he has to learn how to travel on planes and stuff that normal house dogs don’t have to worry about,” Ms. Bruni said.