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Boris, Biden and the battle of the badly behaved dogs

OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

They say that dogs are man’s best friend, so it seems ironic that Britain and America are both being plagued by canine issues at the same time. Joe Biden and Boris Johnson are well-known dog lovers – but it appears that their pampered pooches ­Major and Dilyn are causing no end of trouble for them on either side of the Atlantic.

Biden was praised earlier this year for restoring the White House tradition of the president having dogs after a four-year hiatus under Donald Trump. Actor Mark Hamill hailed the ‘good news’ of their return while Vogue gushed over them as ‘wonderfully cheerful and well-trained, able to face a pack of photographers or board a plane in seamless fashion.’ But it turns out Biden’s choice of pet is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Major is back in the dog house after he ‘nipped someone while on a walk’ on Monday before defecating inside the White House today – the second incident inside a month, following an occasion in which a secret service staff member was left with a ‘minor injury.’ One of two German shepherds inside the White House, Major and his bed mate Champ are both rescue dogs like their transatlantic counterpart Dilyn. Biden previously defended Major as ‘a sweet dog’ and claimed after the first incident that the animal had ‘turned a corner, there’s two people he doesn’t know at all, you know, and they move… to protect.’

In Britain, meanwhile, Dilyn is no stranger to causing such carnage. During the last 18 months, Carrie Symonds’ beloved pet has faced a range of accusations including misuse of public funds, the destruction of priceless historical artifacts and becoming embroiled in a factious Whitehall turf war. He is alleged to have made sexual advances on one of the Prime Minister’s topic aides – humping Dominic Cummings – while cocking his leg on another’s handbag and lumping his owner with four figure repair-bills for various damage.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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