The Royals, they’re just like us. Okay maybe we won’t have 26 million viewers worldwide, but they do love their dogs like us! And it’s not only the British Royal family who hold court with four-legged monarchs – dogs have cemented their regal status throughout history and across the globe.
In honor of Royal Wedding fever, here are several dog breeds that have roots in aristocracy, but today make great companions for commoners and royalty alike!
Pembroke Welsh Corgi: United Kingdom
You can’t enjoy a spot of tea in Buckingham Palace without stumbling over one of Queen Elizbeth’s II famed Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Synonymous with Her Majesty’s reign for more than seven decades, the Queen has had more than 30 of the short-statured fur balls in her lifetime. She received her first corgi, named Susan, at age 18, and raised 14 generations of royal pups. Willow, the last descendent of Susan, recently passed in April of this year.
Although corgis may be her signature, The Queen is fond of many types of dogs and counted Labradors, Cocker Spaniels and Dachshunds among her pack. She currently has two Dorgis, crossbreeds from one of her Corgis (not of Susan’s descent) and a dachshund belonging to Princess Margaret.
Shih Tzu & Pekingese: China
So revered by Chinese royalty, the Ming and Manchu dynasties ruled anyone found owning a ShihTzu or Pekingese outside the imperial court was sentenced to death. Known as the “holy pet of the palace,” it’s been said the small dogs were bred by Tibetan monks for Chinese emperors who desired their lion-like ferocity features, reminiscent of Chinese guardian lions.
In the late 1800’s Empress Tzu Hsi was gifted a pair of Shih Tzu by the Dalai Lama, which she bred and gave puppies to Dutch and English nobility, growing the breed’s popularity in Western culture. Pekingese were also popular gifts among aristocrats, including Queen Victoria, especially during the opium wars of the 19th century. The little lion dogs eventually made way to the US in the 1940s following World War II and have remained as some of the most popular breeds ever since.
One of the rarest dogs on our list, the Saluki is also one of the oldest breeds still living today with evidence of its lineage going back thousands of years. Known as the Royal Dog of Egypt, the Greyhound-like hunting dogs were valued by Ancient Egyptian royalty for their agility, speed, stamina and grace. They were so loved that mummified remains of Salukis have been found in ancient tombs, a sign of great respect and honor. In fact, Egypt’s most notorious king King Tut himself enjoyed the gentle companionship of a Saluki. They remained a popular breed in North Africa for centuries before arriving in America in the early 1900s.
No surprise here: The Poodle is preferred among the French. Both a status symbol and fashion statement, poodles came en vogue thanks to Kings Louis XIV and Louis XVI. Unlike other royal pets who often served their masters as hunters and protectors, these pampered pooches were known for having rule over royal chambers and free-reign of Versailles.
The intelligent and skillful breed remains popular in both Europe and the US, as does the poodle’s reputation as a fashion icon.
Although the pug has its roots in ancient China, it was William, Prince of Orange that made the snub-nose breed a Holland royalty in the 1500s.
Legend has it His Highness’ loyal pug Pompey alerted him of an assassination attempt, saving the prince’s life and earning the fearless pooch the title as the official dog of the House of Orange. While Pompey’s exact species has been questioned, the story helped bolster the breed’s popularity throughout Europe, especially in French royal circles. Both Queen Marie-Antoinette and the Napoleon Bonaparte were proud pug owners.
What royal breed is in your life? Purebred or unique mix, honor those royal genes with some (dog friendly) crumpets this weekend!