Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Royal Pets

William and Catherine have made an addition to their little family - a black cocker spaniel puppy. By choosing a dog, they are following a royal tradition. Dogs have long been associated with members of the royal family. The Queen favours corgis and breeds Labradors, but the types of dogs owned over the years vary by the individual. Some have been adopted and some have been received as gifts. Here is a brief history of royals and their favorite pets.

Princess Victoria with her spaniel, Dash
via Wikipedia
Over the course of her long life, Queen Victoria owned several breeds - terriers, collies, dachshunds, greyhounds and Tibetan Mastiff. When Queen Victoria was presented with a Pekingese, he was the first of his breed to arrive in Britain. She also owned pugs - a favorite of her great-grandson, the Duke of Windsor. Her dogs were commemorated in paintings, photographs, and when they died, statues to mark their graves. One of the last dogs she owned, a Pomeranian named Turi, was at her side when she died in 1901.

Marble effigy of Caesar
Image from the
St George's Chapel website
King Edward VII was partial to terriers and his favorite was an Irish terrier named Jack. He admired Jack's independence and disdain for others. In 1903 Jack died during a trip to Ireland with the King and Queen. After Jack's death the king kept a locket containing strands of the terrier's hair on his writing desk.

Shortly after Jack's death, the King was presented with a fox terrier called Caesar, who accompanied his master everywhere. In 1907 the King he commissioned Faberge to create a group of small carved animals, including one of Caesar. The miniature features ruby eyes and a gold collar that reads 'I am Caesar. I belong to the King'. After the king's death in 1910 he gained fame as part of the king's funeral procession, walking behind the late king's favorite horse. As a result of his notoriety, Where's Master? a book supposedly written by Caesar, was published in June 1910 . He died in 1914 and is buried in the grounds of Marlborough house. In 1927 an effigy of him was included on the tombs of the King and Queen Alexandra in St George's Chapel. He lies curled up at the foot of his master.

King George V owned five dogs, the first was a collie called Heather. After Heather died, the King adopted Happy, the first of four terriers he would own. Like Caesar, he wrote his own book If I were King George, which was published in 1911.

The Royal Family in the gardens of Frogmore House in 1968
The Royal family in 1968
via British Monarchy flickr
His son, King George VI, owned several Labrador Retrievers, and bred yellow Labradors. He introduced the corgi to the royal family in 1933 when he bought one named Dookie from a local kennel. At present, the Queen owns three Corgis: Monty, Willow and Holly and three Dorgis: Cider, Candy and Vulcan.  On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Elizabeth was given a corgi named Susan, who accompanied her on honeymoon in 1947. Some of the royal corgis have mated with daschunds, resulting in the 'Dorgi' breed. The Queen is one of the longest-established breeders of Pembroke corgis in the world.

The Duchess of Cornwall is patron of several organizations for animals. She owns three Jack Russell terriers, Tosca, Rosie and in August 2011 she adopted another named Beth from the Battersea Dogs and Cats home.

© Marilyn Braun 2012

Thank you for enjoying this article. If you use the information for research purposes, a link to credit the work I've put into writing it would be appreciated.


Noble Hounds and Dear Companions: The Royal Photograph Collection

The Official site of the British Monarchy

1 comment:

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I think it's wonderful that William and Catherine have a new puppy. They can practice on the puppy until they have a baby.