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The Queen's dogs: The history behind Her Majesty's love for dogs

The Queen stands with her Corgis

The Queen's favourite breed is the Corgi.

© windsor_tourist_guides_ltd - Instagram

The Queen is famed for her love of dogs (and one breed in particular!). But, exactly where did her love of dogs come from and when did it start? Read on to find out.

By Natasha James

Updated on the 26/04/2021, 10:15

It’s no secret that Her Royal Highness, Her Majesty The Queen (to use her full title), is a huge fan of animals. Whether it’s walking her dogs or riding her horses, Queen Elizabeth seems her happiest when surrounded by four-legged friends.

A quick look back into the history of the royal family reveals that the Queen has an almost lifelong love of dogs since she was gifted one particular breed as a child…

What dog does the Queen have?

If you’re a fan of the Queen (or even hit TV show The Crown), you’ll be very familiar with the Queen’s favourite breed of dog. The Queen is a huge fan of the Welsh Corgi.

The Royal Corgi ©T.Den_Team - Shutterstock

These sweet, short-legged dogs were originally bred as herding dogs. They’re known to be loyal, obedient and eager to please. They also tend to be great with children, which could account for why she’s had them around as she’s raised her four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

She’s also fond of the “Dorgi” – a crossbreed between Corgis and Dachshunds.

Why does the Queen love Corgis?

The Queen’s love of Corgis seems to stem from childhood. At a young age, Queen Elizabeth and her sister Margaret would play with the Corgis owned by the Marquess of Bath. And then, in 1933, the Queen’s father, King George VI brought home their very own Corgi whom they named Dookie.

For her 18th birthday, the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh) was given her very own Corgi whom she named Susan. Her future Corgis were all descendants of Susan until HRH decided to cease breeding the pups.

How many dogs does the Queen have now?

It is thought that the Queen currently has three dogs. The oldest of the dogs is Candy and in early March this year, the Queen was gifted two Corgi pups. We’re sure they’re bringing plenty of fun to Palace!

What has the Queen named her dogs?

The Queen has owned a series of Corgis and Dorgis with a selection of names. From the more traditional Monty, Heather and Emma to the less expected Sugar, Candy and Honey. Other names include Whisky, Sherry, Cider, Willow and Spick and Span! 

Right now, the Queen has two Corgis named Candy and Muick (pronounced Mick) and a Dorgi named Fergus after her uncle Fergus Bowes-Lyon who was sadly killed in combat during the First World War at the age of 26.

8 fascinating facts about the Queen’s dogs

1. They eat gourmet meals

Ever wondered if the Queen’s dogs eat regular old dog food? Well, the answer is absolutely not! The royal pups have their own chef who cooks fillet steak and chicken breast. A new menu is created daily for the fortunate pups and fresh ingredients are used. It is thought that the Queen sometimes puts the finishing touches to their doggy bowls (which may or may not be gilt edged!) and gives the pups their dinner. Lucky dogs!

2. The Queen takes her pups for a lunchtime walk every day

After the royal pups have their lunch, the Queen takes the whole pack (at one point, thought to have been as many as ten dogs) for a walk around the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Their first walk is in the morning and carried out by a dedicate footman – what a job to have!

3. The Queen takes her pups very seriously

It is rumoured that one palace worker was demoted from his position after he spiked the dogs’ food with gin and whisky for a “practical joke”. Unsurprisingly, her majesty didn’t see the funny side and kept the comedian away from her beloved pups from then on.

4. The pups receive Christmas stockings

Wondered how similar the Queen is to us? The answer is, when it comes to her dogs, pretty similar indeed! She reportedly makes up Christmas stockings for the dogs and fills them with treats and toys.

5. The Queen takes her dogs with her when she travels

We all know the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to our pets when we go on holiday or away for work and it seems the Queen feels it too. She takes her pups with her when she travels if she can and allegedly hid her first Corgi, Susan, in the open carriage she took with Philip on her wedding day!

6. No dog houses for these pups

The dogs have their very own room at Buckingham Palace: the Corgi Room! The pups have raised beds and have fresh sheets every day – it is thought that this lavish tradition was started by the queen mother. The dogs can come and go as they please in their room.

7. Ouch! Dog fight leads to hospital trip

In 1999, it is thought that the Queen went to hospital and had three stitches after breaking up a fight between her beloved Corgis. Those pups clearly don’t know who they’re dealing with!

8. There is a royal cemetery for the Queen’s dogs

Her first dog Susan was buried at the Sandringham Estate and all her other pups have followed suit. The tradition was started by Queen Victoria who buried her beloved Collie there. The Queen even has gravestones made up for each of the dogs, Susan’s has “For almost 15 years faithful companion to the Queen” engraved on it.

So, there you have it, everything you wanted to know about the Queen’s dogs. Her Majesty might just be more like us than we thought!

Frequently asked questions

Why does the Queen love Corgis?

Can dogs travel long distances?

What's a Dorgi?