The Biden family’s dog, Commander, bit a Secret Service officer at the White House on Monday — at least the 11th aggressive incident that has prompted questions about the German shepherd’s behavior and the safety of those who interact with him.
“Yesterday around 8 p.m., a Secret Service Uniformed Division police officer came in contact with a First Family pet and was bitten,” Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said Tuesday in a statement. “The officer was treated by medical personnel on complex.”
Commander, who came to the White House as a puppy in 2021, previously bit at least seven people between late 2022 and early 2023, according to records obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch. There are other known incidents in which the dog has run at people or barked aggressively.
Elizabeth Alexander, a spokeswoman for first lady Jill Biden, on Wednesday reiterated her statement from July that the Bidens are working to address the issue. She declined to specify what steps the family has taken.
“As we’ve noted before, the White House can be a stressful environment for family pets, and the First Family continues to work on ways to help Commander handle the often unpredictable nature of the White House grounds,” Alexander said in a statement. “The President and First Lady are incredibly grateful to the Secret Service and Executive Residence staff for all they do to keep them, their family, and the country safe.”
One of the most serious previously documented incidents came in November, when Commander bit a Secret Service officer, unprovoked, on the upper right arm and thigh, according to the records. The officer used a steel cart to try to protect themself from further attacks and required hospitalization for their wounds.
“Feels like I was in a dog fight lol,” the agent later told a colleague in an email.
The Bidens’ older German shepherd, Major, had his own biting incidents, including two in March 2021. He went to President Biden’s home in Delaware for a short period after the first incident. The Bidens then sent Major to live with family friends around the time Commander came to the White House in December 2021.
Commander was a gift from the president’s brother, James Biden, and sister-in-law Sara Biden. The first family also has a cat named Willow. The Bidens had a third German shepherd, named Champ, who died in 2021 at age 13.