Bidens’ German Shepherd, Commander, banished from the White House

The Times headline is “First Dog hounded out of White House”. So, it has finally happened. Commander has been banished from the White House at last after biting at least 11 people. The place simply wasn’t right for him. There were suggestions that he should be re-trained but it has gone too far. The dog was interfering with the running of the White House partly because he was predisposed to biting men in uniform! And there’s lots of Secret Service agents in the White House trying to protect the President and his family and other staff working there.


There are some quite concerning stories of Secret Service agents being worried about the dog’s presence. I recall on one occasion a Secret Service Agent retreating as he was about to go up the stairs because at the top was Commander.

On another occasion, Commander had been on a walk with Jill, the first lady. The Times says that the dog was in a foul temper. I’m not sure that’s correct because Commander’s attacks on people is not about being bad-tempered, it’s about defending the territory of the alpha dog namely President Biden.

The agent wrote in an email that the dog charged at him and that the “first lady couldn’t regain control of Commander and he continued to circle me. I believe it’s only a matter of time before an agent/officer is attacked or bit”. That was an accurate prediction of what was to come. It may have been the first incident when Commander demonstrated to staffers at the White House that he had a predisposition to attack them.

DateCommander’s attack
October 3, 2022The dog inflicted a friendly soft bite on a Secret Service agent’s forearm
October 5, 2022The dog jumped on an emergency response technician within White House grounds and bit that person’s arm/wrist
October 26, 2022A Secret Service agent wrote that “Commander has been exhibiting extremely aggressive behaviour. Today, while posted, he came charging at me. The First Lady couldn’t regain control of Commander and he continued to circle me.”
November 3, 2022The dog bit an officer’s triceps area and quad muscle. They had to go to hospital for treatment.
November 10, 2022Another officer was bitten this time on the thigh.
December 11, 2022The dog cut an agent’s arm and bruised the arm after the president left the dog off its lead.
December 16, 2022An agent was bitten on the left arm causing “superficial laceration, contusion, soreness and bruising”.
December 24, 2022Another officer was bitten and the note says that: “Nearly every official in the room with me today spoke about specific incidents surrounding the first family’s dog.”
January 2, 2023The lower right side of an agent’s back was bitten by the dog.
September 25, 2023A Secret Service officer needed treatment at the White House for a bite by the dog.
Table showing some of the bites inflicted by Commander on staff.

Perhaps it could be said that the dog’s departure simply had to happen at some time. For those protecting the president it will have eased their concerns. In one email between, I believe, Secret Service agents, released under a freedom of information act request, the person wrote: “What a joke – if it wasn’t their dog he would have already been put down.”

Interestingly, in the UK, on those 11 occasions (at least) when Commander bit people at the White House, it would have been a potential crime under the Dangerous Dogs Act and arguably the President would have been prosecuted!

Another staffer at the White House said that the dog needed a muzzle. The two-year-old dog has been sent to an undisclosed location. This follows the banishment of the other German Shepherd of Pres Biden, Major, who used to live at the White House and who now lives with family friends in Delaware. He was sent there permanently in 2021.

Elizabeth Alexander, the communications director for Jill Biden said: “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. They remain grateful for their patience and support of the US 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.”

On another occasion, Haney was playing with the dog last month when a tourist took a photo. Commander attacked the tourist biting their left arm but fortunately the skin was not broken.

The last recorded biting incident, as I understand it, occurred last month when a uniformed officer was treated on site by the White House medical personnel. Although on a previous occasion a Secret Service agent had to attend hospital due to a wound to his leg and arm.

Commander was gifted to the Bidens in December 2021 by the President’s brother, James. It was after the death of their family pet Champ at the age of 13.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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