For National Dog Day, meet those who could be America’s ‘First Pooch’

The 2020 Democratic candidates for president are everywhere. We know their policies. We know their playlists. But do we know their dogs?

Donald Trump eschewed tradition when he entered the White House pet-less. The last pups to live in the Oval Office were the Obamas’ Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny, and there is a long tradition of canines-in-chief.

In honor of National Dog Day (annually on August 26), meet the canines vying to become America’s next First Pup.

Joe Biden, Major and Champ

Joe and Jill Biden adopted a German shepherd named Major from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018. The former foster pup befriended the family’s other German shepherd, Champ, who’s known to accompany the former VP to his office in Washington from time to time.

Clearly, Major is already media-trained–look at that smile!

Elizabeth Warren and Bailey

After losing her beloved golden retriever Otis in 2012, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren feared she wouldn’t be able to love another dog. That’s until the summer of 2018, when her husband, Harvard law professor Bruce Mann, gifted her a new retriever named Bailey.

Is there anyone on Earth (except maybe cat purists and people with allergies) who could resist a slobbery kiss from this angelic ball of fur? Warren certainly couldn’t.

In an Instagram post, the senator said Mann sends her daily Bailey pupdates whenever she’s on the road. It seems even when it comes to her dog, she’s got a plan for that.

Pete Buttigieg, Truman and Buddy

Both of the South Bend mayor’s dogs are rescues, and now they’re social media stars, too. Truman and Buddy share a Twitter account, where they explore their Indiana digs and root for their presidential candidate dad.

Buttigieg and his husband Chasten adopted Labrador-beagle mix Truman in 2017 and Buddy, a portly one-eyed puggle, came home one year later.

Kirsten Gillibrand and Maple

Gillibrand adopted Maple, a labradoodle as sweet as her name, in 2017. She’s known to make appearances at the New York senator’s campaign headquarters, where she’s showered in love and even plays some basketball.

Beto O’Rourke and Artemis (and a handful of other animals)

The former Senate hopeful from Texas seems to add an animal to his collection every day, and he regularly spotlights them on his Instagram stories.

The family lost their 16-year-old black Labrador retriever, Rosie, in July. But O’Rourke proudly shared his Vanity Fair cover with his other black lab, Artemis. He’s filmed himself rescuing dogs, too, but for now, he’s keeping just this one.

As of press time, his family also has a cat named Silver, two turtles named Gus and Dan, a snake named Monty, a gerbil (who has not yet been fed to the snake) and what appears to be a bearded dragon his wife calls Sandman. If he’s elected, his White House would closely resemble the National Zoo.

Tim Ryan, Bear and Buckeye

The Ohio congressman went to a shelter for one dog and came home with these two sweet-eyed Labrador mixes. Buckeye shares his name with Ohio’s state tree, and Bear shares his with any teddy that’s as fluffy as him.

Michael Bennet and Pepper

The Colorado senator promised his three daughters if he won his first campaign, he’d get them a dog. He did, so they ended up with Pepper, a tiny black Pomeranian mix they adopted through a Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program. Dogs are rescued from shelters statewide and paired with prisoners who train them before they’re adopted by people outside of prison.

You just know this feisty fluffball would stir up trouble in the Oval Office. The pup’s partner in crime is a cat named Captain Flint.

Honorable Mention: Cory Booker and Cha Cha

New Jersey senator Cory Booker might not have a dog, but he did rescue a freezing pooch named Cha Cha who was stuck outside in the New Jersey winter in 2013, which seems like it merits a spot on a list of noted puppy lovers.

Kamala Harris doesn’t have a dog of her own, but she welcomes them in her Senate office. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has admitted he does not own a dog, missing an opportunity to name a St. Bernard after himself.

Representatives for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Marianne Williamson confirmed to CNN they, too, are pet-less, and the remaining candidates either didn’t respond to CNN’s requests for comment or haven’t publicly discussed the pressing issue of their dog ownership.