Biden family dog Commander is no longer at the White House after biting incidents

U.S. President Joe Biden’s dog Commander looks down after Biden arrived back to the White House following his visit to Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, U.S., September 30, 2023. 

Ken Cedeno | Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s dog Commander, whose history of biting became public in recent months, is no longer at the White House, a spokesperson for the first lady said Wednesday.

Jill Biden’s spokesperson, Elizabeth Alexander, said the Bidens are still determining what will happen next for the 2-year-old German shepherd, who has been involved in a number of biting incidents, some of which required medical care. 

“The President and First Lady care deeply about the safety of those who work at the White House and those who protect them every day,” Alexander said in a statement. “They remain grateful for the patience and support of the U.S. Secret Service and all involved, as they continue to work through solutions. Commander is not presently on the White House campus while next steps are evaluated.”

The Secret Service declined to comment.

The statement came shortly after CNN published an article saying that Commander had bitten executive residence staff members and White House employees and that the number of nipping incidents was well above the 11 that had been previously reported.

The Daily Mail published photos of Commander and Dale Haney, the superintendent of the White House grounds, who has worked at the White House for more than 50 years.

A senior official said the White House had checked with Haney, who indicated to them that “Commander was being playful, and there was no bite, no pressure of teeth on his skin, no mark — just some dog slobber.”

Haney has been a regular caretaker of Commander. He has cared for several first dogs over the years, including the Obamas’ Bo and Sunny, George W. and Laura Bush’s Barney and Miss Beazley and others going back to Richard Nixon’s pets.

Commander’s biting history was first made public in July, when the conservative group Judicial Watch released records that identified biting incidents of mixed severity from last October to January.

Records released by the group showed that in one of the incidents last year, a Secret Service officer was taken to the hospital after having sustained a bite in an upper arm and a thigh.

Last month, a Secret Service spokesman also confirmed to NBC News that Commander bit a Secret Service Uniformed Division police officer.

Commander, who arrived at the White House as a puppy in 2021, is the second dog that has posed challenges for the Bidens after having demonstrated aggressive behavior. The Bidens’ other dog, Major, was sent to live in Delaware after repeated nipping incidents at the White House.

The Bidens’ older German shepherd Champ died at age 13 in 2021, months after Biden took office.

Kelly O’Donnell reported from Washington. Zoë Richards reported from New York.

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