These Photos Reveal the Real Reason Why Queen Elizabeth II Loves Her Favorite Dog Breed
Queen Elizabeth II famously loves her dogs. She takes them for walks around the grounds of Buckingham Palace and even feeds them a menu of catered food specifically tailored to each dog’s dietary needs. Most people know the queen loves Pembroke Welsh corgis. But do you know why she has such a devotion to the breed?
The royal corgi lineage has drawn to a close. But you can still get all the details on Queen Elizabeth II’s longstanding love for Pembroke Welsh corgis, including how they serve as a form of therapy for her (page 6).
1. She had dogs, including Pembroke Welsh corgis, from a young age
Good Housekeeping reports that then-Princess Elizabeth’s first dog was a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Dookie. Elizabeth’s father — later King George VI but then the Duke of York — brought the puppy home in 1933. But Dookie didn’t remain the only dog in the household for long. The family soon got a second corgi, Jane.
The dogs remained part of the household for years. They even went with Elizabeth and Margaret when the princesses evacuated to Windsor Castle, with their parents staying behind to brave the Blitz with Londoners. Dookie had died at the beginning of the war. But Jane mothered a puppy named Crackers. And the two dogs kept the princesses company.
Next: Elizabeth’s first dog of her own
2. The first dog she had of her own was a Pembroke Welsh corgi
Many people grow up with a family dog. But often, it’s the first dog you first have of your own who really plays a role in helping you grow into a devoted (and responsible) dog owner.
The future queen received her very own Pembroke Welsh corgi when she was 18, according to Good Housekeeping. She named the dog Susan. And Susan seems to have had a profound effect on the young royal. In fact, Elizabeth and Susan became inseparable in the years that followed.
Next: Susan even attended this romantic event.
3. She took her corgi on her honeymoon with Prince Philip
An example of just how inseparable Elizabeth and Susan became? Good Housekeeping reports that when Princess Elizabeth went on her 1947 honeymoon with her new husband, Philip Mountbatten, the newlyweds took somebody else along on their getaway: Susan.
Vanity Fair explains, “Hidden under blankets in the royal carriage, Susan rode with Elizabeth as she left with Philip Mountbatten for their honeymoon in Scotland.” What’s not to love about the dog who happily accompanies you on your honeymoon?
Next: Corgis were part of Elizabeth’s growing family.
4. Corgis became members of Elizabeth and Philip’s young family, too
Vanity Fair notes that when Elizabeth and Philip started their family, Susan remained a member of the household. “Susan was such a public figure that the next year, when the princess gave birth to her first baby — Charles — the children’s section of the Mirror asked young readers to advise Elizabeth on how to keep Susan from growing jealous of the infant,” the publication explains.
And as Elizabeth’s family grew, so did Susan’s. A year after Elizabeth gave birth to Charles, Susan became a mother, too. She had a pair of puppies, who marked the beginning of the queen’s dynasty of Pembroke Welsh corgis.
Next: The corgis played this special role for Queen Elizabeth.
5. The corgis gave her an easy way to break the ice with strangers
Vanity Fair notes through the many generations that followed Susan, Queen Elizabeth II’s Pembroke Welsh corgis have served as “symbols of friendliness.” The dogs also lent warmth to her public image. But the publication notes that the dogs the queen has loved so dearly were more than symbols to her.
“In a life ruled by protocol, they provide an easy way for the queen to break the ice with strangers,” Vanity Fair explains. “In what can be an isolating position, she gets from them unlimited amounts of love and physical affection, uncompromised by the knowledge that she is the monarch.”
Next: Elizabeth was an active dog owner.
6. She enjoyed taking them on walks (and traveling with them)
Many dog owners will tell you a daily walk offers the perfect way to bond with your dog (and to step away from the stresses of your day). Queen Elizabeth II seems to agree. Vanity Fair reports Queen Elizabeth II often fed her Pembroke Welsh corgis herself. And she led them on daily walks. The queen’s husband, Prince Philip, said those walks served as a kind of therapy for Elizabeth.
Plus, Queen Elizabeth II’s corgis have traveled extensively with the royal family. The queen seems to have set a record in 1981, when she took 13 dogs along with her on a trip to Aberdeen.
Next: Like mother, like daughter
7. Her mother kept corgis, too
Another reason Queen Elizabeth II probably loves corgis so much? Her mother kept corgis as pets, too. Good Housekeeping reports when the queen mother, Queen Elizabeth I, died in 2002, Queen Elizabeth II even adopted her mother’s remaining corgis.
Vanity Fair reports, “When the Queen went to Clarence House to view her mother’s body, she took the Queen Mum’s corgis home with her, and they were cared for as her own.”
Next: Elizabeth created a corgi dynasty
8. Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed breeding the dogs
All of the queen’s Pembroke Welsh corgis descended from the same line. In fact, they were all bred by the queen (with help from others) on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Purebred puppies from the kennel were registered under the affix of Windsor. And though the queen never sold any of the puppies, she did give many away as gifts.
But the monarch didn’t intend to keep breeding the dogs forever. She reportedly stopped breeding the dogs sometime after the death of her mother in 2002, according to The Telegraph. And according to a horse trainer who worked with the royal family, the queen stopped breeding Pembroke Welsh corgis because “she didn’t want to leave any young dog behind.”
Next: The queen might have liked this corgi trait.
9. Corgis get along well with other dogs
Another reason Queen Elizabeth II might love corgis so much? Most get along well with other dogs. Upon the death of Willow, the last in the queen’s line of Pembroke Welsh corgis, The New York Times reported that the queen had owned dozens of the dogs over the years.
In the 80 years since she received Susan, the queen and her family had continued to breed dogs from Susan’s lineage. She owned at least 30 Pembroke Welsh corgis, all of whom descended from Susan. Willow was believed to be part of the 14th generation of the line. The queen often had numerous dogs at one time, keeping a veritable pack of the adorable pups.
Next: The queen helped to bring the breed to fame.
10. Corgis make great companions for anyone, young or old
Queen Elizabeth II has had Pembroke Welsh corgis throughout her life, experiencing firsthand how these dogs make great companions for anyone, young or old. But not everybody has always realized what the queen always knew about the breed. The Times notes that after people started to see the character of a young Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by corgis on the Netflix series The Crown, their perceptions about the breed started to change.
David Robson of the Kennel Club told The Telegraph, “People used to have the impression that while corgis were in the spotlight, because of the queen, they could be seen by young people as an older person’s dog. Now that’s changed, partly because we are seeing the character of the younger queen surrounded by them.”
Next: But the corgis weren’t always sweet.
11. Corgis do all kinds of unexpected things
For someone who has a lot of routine and tradition in her life, Queen Elizabeth II seems to appreciate the spontaneity of dogs, especially corgis. Like any other dogs, the queen’s corgis have made unexpected appearances in photos. And they likely added some excitement to life at Buckingham Palace, too.
As The New York Times explains, the queen’s Pembroke Welsh corgis even caused trouble on more than one occasion by biting members of the queen’s staff. Plus, both Prince William and Prince Harry remarked on how the dogs barked all the time.
Next: The queen loves their lively nature.
12. Pembroke Welsh corgis are often a little unruly
Many people assume Queen Elizabeth II has simply put up with the hassles and messes of keeping a large number of high-energy dogs, despite her exacting standards and emphasis on rules. But Vanity Fair reports the lively nature of Pembroke Welsh corgis may be part of the appeal for her.
The queen’s first cousin Lady Margaret Rhodes said the queen liked to take long walks on the heath in Scotland with the corgis. “They’re often rather unruly, the dogs. They chase rabbits like mad,” Rhodes explained. There are a lot of rabbits around Balmoral, certainly, and the queen gets excited with the dogs chasing the rabbits, egging them on.”
Next: The corgis didn’t mind their fame.
13. They seem to be up for anything
Some dogs will go along with just about anything. That seems to apply to the queen’s Pembroke Welsh corgis. And it may be one of the reasons why she loves them. One particularly fun accomplishment? The dogs starred in an adorable skit for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, alongside Queen Elizabeth II and Daniel Craig as James Bond.
The sketch saw James Bond traveling to Buckingham Palace to escort the queen (by helicopter) to the opening ceremony at London Stadium. Pembroke Welsh corgis Willow, Holly, and Monty all joined Queen Elizabeth II in the taped skit.
Next: Elizabeth is a true dog person.
14. She enjoys taking care of dogs
It seems the queen truly enjoys taking care of dogs, something she’s done even when the dogs in question didn’t belong to her.
People reported in 2017 that Queen Elizabeth II had adopted a corgi who had belonged to Bill Fenwick, Sandringham’s gamekeeper. When Fenwick’s health began to fail, the queen would take his dogs for walks around the grounds. “She continued the walks after his death,” the publication notes. And then she adopted Whisper, a corgi, for good. That sounds like the mark of a true dog person to us.
Next: Corgis are easy to love.
15. Many other people are corgi fans
The New York Times reports the corgis in the Netflix series The Crown have been credited with renewing interest in the breed in Britain. Many people love Pembroke Welsh corgis. And as Good Housekeeping reports, the queen often meets such people who take their corgis to events and royal appearances.
We don’t know for sure, but based on her infectious smile upon seeing corgis out and about, we’d imagine that Queen Elizabeth II loves bonding with fellow corgi fans (and meeting their adorable dogs).
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