The Biden Family Has Rehomed Rescue Dog Major, Will Welcome a Cat to the White House in 2022

Major, the first rescue dog to live at the White House, is now residing with family friends of the Bidens, according to a spokesperson for First Lady Dr. Jill Biden

Jill Biden
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden (right) with dogs Champ and Major. Photo: White House/News Pictures/Shutterstock

It's a busy week for pet news at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

On Dec. 20, President Joe Biden introduced his new dog to the world.

"Welcome to the White House, Commander," Biden, 79, tweeted along with a photo of the adorable puppy running through the grass with a tennis ball in its mouth. The president also shared a video welcoming the new pet.

Michael LaRosa, a spokesman for First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, tells PEOPLE that Commander is a male, pure-bred German shepherd born in September who arrived at the White House on Monday afternoon. He was a birthday gift from Joe Biden's brother James and James' wife, Sara.

Commander is the third dog to move into the famous residence during Biden's presidency.

For more on the Bidens' new dog Commander, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

In January, the president and first lady arrived at the White House with their dogs Champ and Major. It marked the first time in four years that a pet had lived at the presidential residence and the very first time a rescue dog called 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home. The Bidens adopted Major from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018.

On June 19, the Bidens announced 13-year-old Champ's death with a touching tribute to the German shepherd.

"Our hearts are heavy today as we let you all know that our beloved German Shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home. He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family," the president and first lady wrote in a joint statement at the time.

The Bidens' 2-year-old dog, Major, initially left the White House earlier this year to undergo additional training following several "biting incidents" at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. LaRosa said in a statement that the canine would not be returning to live at the White House, as that is what the first family believes is what is best for the pet.

"After consulting with dog trainers, animal behaviorists, and veterinarians, the First Family has decided to follow the experts' collective recommendation that it would be safest for Major to live in a quieter environment with family friends," LaRosa said. "This is not in reaction to any new or specific incident, but rather a decision reached after several months of deliberation as a family and discussions with experts."

This news leaves Commander as the sole pet residing at the White House, but the puppy won't be alone for long. According to LaRosa, the Bidens plan to welcome a cat, who is currently residing with a foster family, to the White House in January.

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