The Bidens' dog Champ has died: 'He was our constant, cherished companion'

The couple first got the dog after Joe Biden won the 2008 election with Barack Obama

The Bidens have announced their beloved German Shepherd Champ, who has been with the family since 2008, has died aged 13.

"Our hearts are heavy today as we let you all know that our beloved German Shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home," President Joe Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden said.

"He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family.

“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. 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."

In recent months, the German Shepherd’s health had declined mostly because of old age.

Champ joined the family in December 2008 during the presidential transition after Joe Biden had become vice president-elect. The couple got him as a promise kept by Jill Biden, who said her husband could get the dog if he and former president Barack Obama won the election.

The Bidens also have another German Shepherd named Major, a pup aged 3 they adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in November 2018. He is the first rescue dog in the White House. Biden told reporters in the past that they adopted Major in part as a companion for Champ, to keep the older dog busy and active.

The Bidens' dogs were the first to take office since Obama’s Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny. Over the years, the White House has been home to dozens of dogs and other pets, but former president Donald Trump did not carry on that tradition.

While not a big part of their campaign strategy, the Biden team played to American dog lovers and promoted the idea of putting pooches back in the White House during the 2020 election.