Just which little puppy will win the title of First Dog in the White House is still a mystery, but the race for Second Dog is all wrapped up.
Dog lovers the world over will have to wait until next year for President-elect Barack Obama and his family to pick their new puppy, but Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has added a little black and brown ball of fur from Chester County to his family.
Biden, along with his grandson and a seven-car convoy, pulled up to Linda Brown's kennel in Spring City on Saturday to choose a new companion to join him at the vice presidential mansion in Washington.
Biden selected a striking, six-week-old German shepherd who yesterday was lying on a carpet, snuggling with a stuffed animal and his litter mates.
A spokeswoman for Biden said he chose a German shepherd because he has had three others and is familiar with the breed.
"He has been looking forward to getting a dog for a long time," said spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander. "He has promised grandchildren they can name it."
Brown, 63, who advertises as JoLindy's German Shepherds, has been a breeder for 40 years. She was referred to the Bidens by Delaware police-dog trainer Mark Tobin, who will have the task of house training the new pup.
"These are family dogs with longevity," said Brown, who imports stud dogs from Germany.
Brown, who holds a state commercial kennel license under the name Wolf Den, would not divulge the prices of the puppies.
State records show Brown has the largest class size kennel, which allows her to keep more than 250 dogs a year. In July, dog wardens recorded 84 dogs on the property and 192 dogs sold or transferred in 2007.
Many of her adult dogs live inside her ranch house, said Brown, as she showed a reporter around her property, which includes two indoor dog pools. Several dozen dogs live in outside pens surrounding the house with access to utility sheds or dog houses.
Meanwhile, pro-adoption advocates, who appear to have prevailed in an argument with breeders over whether Obama should purchase or adopt a dog, are angry that Biden would choose to buy one.
"We are surprised that Sen. Biden chose to purchase a dog from a commercial kennel since he has been a leader on animal-protection issues and has championed a number of important animal-welfare reforms in the Senate," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States. "President-elect Obama can send a stronger message of hope and change for animals by adopting a homeless dog from an animal shelter or rescue group."
Biden's spokeswoman defended his commitment to animal issues - saying he has gone so far as to personally help animals in need.
"Vice President-elect Biden has a stellar animal-rights record, and was one of only seven senators who in 2008 received a 100 percent rating from the Humane Society, which also called him a 'Humane Champion' and a 'prime-sponsor of pro-animal-rights legislation,' " Alexander said.
She added: "He is an advocate for rescuing animals, as shown by his rescue of the Biden's current cat, Daisy, from a local shelter."