Commander Biden: The White House Dog's Journey from Popularity to Controversy

Commander Biden, a German Shepherd who lived in the White House from December 2020 to October 2023, became both a beloved figure and a source of concern during his tenure as a presidential pet. This article explores Commander's journey, from his arrival as a puppy to his eventual departure following multiple biting incidents.

Early Days iPhoto ofJoe Biden and Commandern the White House

Arrival and Settling In

Commander arrived at the White House on December 20, 2020, as a three-month-old puppy. A birthday gift to President Joe Biden from his brother James and sister-in-law Sara, Commander quickly became an integral part of the First Family.

The young German Shepherd adapted well to his new environment, forming a bond with the Bidens' older dog, Champ. Commander's energetic personality was evident as he was often seen playing fetch on the South Lawn or accompanying the First Family on walks around the White House grounds.

Photo of Joe Biden and Commander

Public Appearances and Popularity

Commander's charm and playful nature soon captured the public's attention. His first major public appearance came in February 2021 when he participated in Puppy Bowl XVIII, an event aimed at promoting animal adoption.

The young dog's popularity soared as he became a frequent subject of White House photos and videos. He even met with foreign dignitaries, including Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in March 2021. Commander's friendly demeanor during these encounters endeared him to many.

In July 2021, the American Kennel Club survey named Commander one of the most popular presidential pets of all time, ranking fourth behind Bo Obama, Millie Bush, and Barney Bush. This recognition culminated in his appearance on the cover of People magazine, which dubbed him "America's First Dog."

Rising Concerns: Biting Incidents

Timeline of Reported Incidents

Despite Commander's popularity, a series of biting incidents involving White House staff and U.S. Secret Service agents began to surface:

  • October 26, 2020: An agent reported being bitten on the hand when Commander "came charging."
  • November 2, 2020: An agent was bitten twice while securing an area for President Biden's arrival.
  • Between October 2020 and July 2023: At least 10 biting or attacking incidents were recorded, according to documents released by Judicial Watch.
  • September 13, 2023: White House superintendent Dale Haney suffered a minor hand injury from a bite.
  • September 26, 2023: Another Secret Service agent required medical treatment after being bitten.

Impact on White House Staff and Secret Service

The frequency and severity of these incidents raised significant concerns about the safety of those working in and around the White House. Some bites required medical treatment at the scene, while others necessitated hospital visits.

The situation prompted discussions about the stress levels of animals in high-profile environments and the challenges of managing a young, energetic dog in a complex setting like the White House.

Departure from the White House

Official Announcement and Reasons

On October 5, 2023, the White House announced that Commander would be leaving the premises. Elizabeth Alexander, a spokeswoman for First Lady Jill Biden, stated that Commander was "not presently on the White House campus while next steps are evaluated."

The decision came after reports surfaced suggesting that the number of biting incidents was higher than initially acknowledged. The White House cited an "abundance of caution" as the primary reason for Commander's removal.

Aftermath and Public Reaction

The news about the dog at the White House caused a stir. Some people thought putting the safety of staff first was the right call. Others were concerned about the dog's well-being and whether the situation could have been handled differently. The White House tried to assure everyone that they loved the dog and were working with experts to help him behave better. They also thanked the staff for being understanding throughout the whole ordeal.

Lessons Learned and Moving Forward

There was a bit of a ruff situation at the White House! One of the President's dogs, Commander, wasn't used to the hustle and bustle of life there. This led to some bad doggy behavior. Experts say training for pets in such stressful places is key.

The good news is the Biden family still loves their furry friend. This whole thing is a reminder that having a pet, especially when you're in the public eye, comes with both happy moments and some challenges.


1. Q: Where is Commander Biden now?
   A: The exact location of Commander Biden after leaving the White House has not been disclosed for privacy reasons.

2. Q: Will Commander return to the White House?
   A: As of the last official statement, it's uncertain whether Commander will return to the White House.

3. Q: How common are biting incidents with presidential pets?
   A: While not common, there have been occasional incidents with presidential pets in the past. Commander's case was notable for the frequency of incidents.

4. Q: What measures were taken to prevent the biting incidents?
   A: The White House says they're working with dog trainers to help train their dog to behave better.

5. Q: How did Commander's departure affect the Biden family
   A: The Bidens described Commander as a beloved family member, indicating that his departure was a difficult decision made with safety in mind.
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