Corgis, Dorgis & Gundogs

Over the years, the Royal Family seem to have embraced dogs as their favoured pets. Formal portraits from the 17th century onwards show kings, queens and their children happily posing with their beloved animals, from pugs to greyhounds, King Charles Spaniels to Corgis.

Some pets have even merited their own portraits, and, as in many households, were considered very much members of the family. When Queen Victoria’s beloved Collie, Noble, died at Balmoral in 1887, he was buried in the grounds of the castle and given his own gravestone, which read:

'Noble by name by nature noble too
Faithful companion sympathetic true
His remains are interred here'

Two dogs and man with shotun

A terrier named Caesar belonging to King Edward VII was given even greater status when, having outlived the king, he walked behind His Majesty’s coffin in the funeral procession.

The current Queen is, of course, associated with the Corgi. The breed was introduced to the Royal Family by her father, King George VI, in 1933 when he bought a Corgi called Dookie from a local kennels. The animal proved popular with his daughters and was described as ‘unquestionably the character of the Princesses’ delightful canine family’ and ‘a born sentimentalist’. A second Corgi was acquired called Jane who had puppies, two of which, Crackers and Carol, were kept.

Corgi dog
A classic Pembroke Welsh Corgi

For her eighteenth birthday, The Queen was given a Corgi named Susan from whom numerous successive dogs were bred. Some Corgis were mated with dachsunds (most notably Pipkin, who belonged to Princess Margaret) to create ‘Dorgis’.

At present, The Queen owns three Corgis: Monty, Willow and Holly and three Dorgis: Cider, Candy and Vulcan.
The Queen’s corgis travel with her to the various residences, with Her Majesty looking after them herself as much as possible given her busy schedule.

In this year of the Diamond Jubilee newspaper reports have indicated that sales of Corgis in the UK have escalated dramatically.

Other members of the Royal Family own dogs of various breeds. The Duchess of Cornwall owns two Jack Russell terriers, Tosca and Rosie.

Established by King Edward VII in 1879 to house 100 dogs, the Sandringham kennels and the labradors which are bred there have become firm favourites of the Royal Family.

The Queen takes a very great interest in the Sandringham kennels. Since her accession to the throne in 1952, the breeding programme has gone from strength to strength, culminating in the training of five Field Trial Champions.

All the puppies born at Sandringham are named by The Queen and are registered at the Kennel Club with the prefix Sandringham.

The kennels now house approximately twenty fully grown dogs of varying ages, including labradors and cocker spaniels. These range from the older and more experienced gundogs used by members of the Royal Family during the shooting season, to the younger dogs under training as gundogs.

In addition to providing dogs for the Royal Family, the Estate gamekeepers are supplied with working Labradors and spaniels.

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