Recent photographs published by the Daily Mail appear to depict President Joe Biden’s German Shepherd, Commander, snapping at Dale Haney, a White House staff member. According to White House insiders, the two-year-old canine occasionally reacts to individuals with “unfriendly expressions,” primarily those from the president’s security team. However, Haney, 71, photographed playing with Commander, is not affiliated with the security detail.
The incident, captured on September 13 in the White House gardens, displays the dog with its teeth around Haney’s arm. Interestingly, the image was snapped by a tourist visiting the White House gift shop. The tourist mentioned to the Daily Mail, “I was initially drawn to photograph Commander, who was quite energetic and playful at that time. Only afterward did I notice he had seemingly bitten the groundskeeper.”
With over half a century of service at the White House, Haney has often been seen accompanying presidential pets on their walks, beginning his tenure during Richard Nixon’s time with the Irish Setter, King Timahoe.
The bystander, reflecting on the incident, remarked, “While it might have been an innocent, playful gesture, considering Commander’s size, it’s concerning. To my eyes, that’s more than just a nip.”
Earlier incidents have noted Commander’s aggressive behavior, including when a Secret Service Agent reportedly required medical attention after a bite. The most alarming episode occurred on November 3, 2022, when the dog bit a Secret Service Uniformed Division officer, necessitating his hospitalization.
Commander, a German Shepherd born on September 1, 2021, is the official first family dog of the Bidens.
The canine was gifted to Joe Biden by his brother, James Biden, and sister-in-law, Sara Biden. Commander made his entrance to the White House on December 20, 2021. Later, on February 13, 2022, he made his television appearance on the show Puppy Bowl XVIII.
As of July 25, 2023, the conservative group Judicial Watch documents indicate that Commander had incidents with Secret Service agents on ten separate occasions from October 2022 to July 2023.
Since July, bites have increased to 12 recorded incidents involving Commander’s interactions with staff members.