For centuries, Kings and Queens and their families have cared for pets of all shapes and sizes. It's a tradition that is still going strong today.
It's no secret that Queen Elizabeth is a massive fan of animals. Her Corgi companions have become synonymous with her reign. But even the youngest members of the royal family seem to enjoy being surrounded by four-legged friends.
History of pet-loving royals
You may think that Corgis are the staple choice of dog among the royal family. However, many different dogs have been responsible for keeping queens, dukes, princes and princesses company throughout history.
King Charles II
King Charles II popularised the King Charles Spaniel breed. From a young age, people would rarely see him without a dog at his heels. The royal dog lover even created a law that allowed King Charles Spaniels in any public place, including the Houses of Parliament.
A young Queen Victoria was another passionate royal owner of King Charles Spaniels. Her favourite was called Dash. Throughout her 64-year reign, her love of dogs remained steadfast.
King Edward VII
King Edward VII had a Wire Fox Terrier called Ceaser of Notts. While King Edward VII adored the pup, rumours said that visitors thought the dog was highly strung and smelly. Nonetheless, the King was devoted to Ceasar. The pup even had his own footman. When the King died, Caesar followed his owner's coffin on the funeral procession ahead of presidents and dignitaries.
King George V
King George V continued the tradition of keeping terriers. However, he also took a keen interest in working dogs such as Labradors.
Duke of York/King George VI
It wasn't until 1933 when the first Corgis joined the Royal family. The Duke of York, who later became King George VI, gave two Corgi pups to Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, beginning Elizabeth's lifelong passion for the breed.
Does today's royal family have pets?
The royal family's tradition of owning pets is still very much alive today. And as you'll see, dogs continue to be head of the pack.
Queen Elizabeth: Corgis and Dorgis
Queen Elizabeth and her beloved Corgis have together become a national institution. It all started when her father, King George VI, gifted her a Corgi called Dookie. Since then, Queen Elizabeth has owned many Corgis, including Susan, given to Elizabeth as an eighteenth birthday present. Subsequently, all future royal Corgis have descended from her. Susan was so important to the Queen that the dog accompanied her on her honeymoon with Prince Philip.
The Queen's passion for dogs has even seen her dabble in breeding Dorgis, a Corgi/Dachshund mix. The Queen has owned over 30 Corgis, all descendants of her beloved Susan. Sadly, however, all have now passed away. The Queen now has one little Dorgi, called Candy and two new Corgi pups, Fergus and Muick, who are helping to comfort the Queen following the passing of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip.
Princess Margaret: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
The late Princess Margaret was famed for enjoying the finer things in life. Perhaps then it's rather appropriate that she was very fond of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, historically bred for nobility. Princess Margaret had a Cavalier King Charles called Rawley.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall: Jack Russell Terriers
Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, have long been fans of Jack Russell Terriers. When Charles lost one of his Jack Russells Pooh in the Balmoral Forest in 1994, it made international news. Sadly, the dog was never found. Another of his pups, Tigga, became a canine celebrity in the 1990s, often posing with Princes William and Harry in family Christmas cards. Tigga lived to an incredible 18 years. Today, Charles and Camilla have two Jack Russell Terries, Beth and Bluebell. The canine pair occasionally assist Camilla with some of her royal duties.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge: English Cocker Spaniels
In 2011, Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, adopted Lupo, an English Cocker Spaniel. He quickly became a close canine companion of Kate as Prince William often spent weeks away from home on Royal Air Force duties. Lupo became an integral part of the family. However, sadly, Lupo passed away in November 2020. William and Kate posted a touching tribute to their beloved four-legged friend:
A few months later, the Cambridge's announced they'd welcomed a new puppy to the family, a black Cocker Spaniel. The pup was given to the couple by Kate's brother James. What makes the new pup extra special is that he's a nephew of the late Lupo.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex: Beagles and Labradors
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are well-known dog lovers. Meghan is a patron of The Mayhew, an animal welfare charity in London. She has previously talked about how her rescue dogs have helped her through difficult times. When Meghan Markle came to the UK, accompanying her was her faithful Beagle, Guy. She and her husband Prince Harry then adopted a black Lab called Pula.
Princess Anne: Bull Terriers
The Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, has a fondness for Bull Terriers. However, her dogs aren't very well behaved. Several years ago, her Bull Terrier Dotty attacked some children in Hyde Park. The following year, her dog Florence fatally attacked the Queen's Corgi Pharos.
Zara and Mike Tindall: Labradors and Boxers
Princess Anne's daughter Zara may be more associated with horses than dogs. Zara has, after all, won Olympic medals for eventing. But along with her husband Mike, she's also a big dog lover. The couple owns three dogs, all named after film characters. The two Labradors are called Storm and Pepper after Iron Man and X-Men characters. Meanwhile, their Boxer Sway is named after Angelina Jolie's Gone in 60 Seconds character.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie: Norfolk Terriers
These two granddaughters of the Queen are huge fans of Norfolk Terriers. They love them so much they even posed with them for British Vogue in 2018. The family has a total of four Norfolk Terriers, Jack, Teddy, Cici and Ginger.
Earl and Countess of Wessex: Cocker Spaniels and Labradors
Prince Edward, the Queen's youngest son, and his wife Sophie share their home with a Cocker Spaniel and black Labrador. However, Sophie has been spotted walking around the grounds of Windsor Castle with a rather unusual pet. In a video call last Summer, Prince Edward admitted that the tortoise "basically runs the house!".
Don't forget the horses!
While the royal family may be passionate about pups, most family members also have a fondness for horses. Queen Elizabeth loves riding and breeding racehorses. Princess Anne grew up to love horses just as much as her mother. She competed in the Olympics as an equestrian. Her daughter Zara would later do the same. Prince Charles, William and Harry are all keen polo players.
If you didn't know it already, this confirms just how much of an animal-loving bunch the royal family really are. Even when things get tough, just like us, they turn to the comfort and friendship of their canine companions. And tortoise.