Why Queen Elizabeth was obsessed with corgis

For Queen Elizabeth II, her passion for corgis dates back to her childhood.

The dog breed was synonymous with the monarch, who died on Thursday aged 96, and the partnership between her and her beloved canines began long before she met and married Prince Philip or even became queen.

And while dogs have been a part of the royal family since at least the days of Queen Victoria, according to Vanity Fair, the queen’s association with corgis was something entirely unique.

In fact, the Queen loved her dogs so much that in the 1970s she created her own hybrid breed called “Dorgi” – a cross between a Dachshund and a Corgi – with her sister Princess Margaret.

Her obsession with the cattle dog dates back to 1933, when the then 7-year-old princess specifically requested a Pembroke Welsh Corgi after meeting her friend’s pet.

It’s not known exactly why the young princess was so attracted to the breed, although royal family insiders told the press that she enjoyed them for their energy and temperament.

Bred mainly in Wales at the time, the lively dogs were still fairly uncommon in England, but their father, King George VI – who was himself a dog lover – found a breeder for the pup.

A full length black and white photograph of Queen Elizabeth as a child holding a corgi while another corgi walks past her on the ground.
Princess Elizabeth with her corgi at home in London in 1936.
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Black and white photograph shows a younger Queen Elizabeth and her younger sister Princess Margaret seated in a carriage with a corgi, 1940.
Princess Elizabeth (left) and her younger sister Princess Margaret in 1940. The sisters later created a hybrid mix of a Dachshund and a Corgi called “Dorgi”.
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The puppy named Dookie became a member of the royal family. His arrival marked the beginning of a long relationship between Princess Elizabeth and Corgis.

Dookie was the first of 30 corgis and dorgis owned by the monarch during her lifetime and was later joined by another corgi named Jane, who was frequently photographed with the young princess.

Susan’s rule

On her 18th birthday in 1944, the Queen was gifted a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy named Susan, who would become the King’s faithful companion through some of the biggest milestones in her life. Susan accompanied the Queen to her coronation, wedding and even her honeymoon with Prince Philip.

The Queen bred Susan to a dog named Rozavel Lucky Strike and gave birth to her first litter in 1949. Her descendants established the royal family’s “dog dynasty” – most of the dogs the Queen has owned since then are descendants of her beloved Susan, who died in 1959 aged almost 15.

The Queen stopped breeding dogs when she hit her 90s, but 14 generations of Susan’s descendants lived with the Queen until her last corgi, Willow, died in 2015. The Queen was reportedly particularly hard hit by Willow’s death, as it marked the end of Susan’s line.

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Queen Elizabeth II of England at Balmoral Castle with one of her corgis in September 1952.
Queen Elizabeth II of England at Balmoral Castle with one of her corgis in September 1952.
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Queen Elizabeth wore a headscarf and coat in the'70s and held a tiny corgi under one arm.
Queen Elizabeth II at the 1976 Badminton Horse Trials with one of her prized dogs.
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Queen Elizabeth II smiles brightly during a photo session in the drawing room at Sandringham House
Queen Elizabeth II smiles brightly during a photo session with one of her pets in the drawing room at Sandringham House
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Queen Elizabeth II wearing purple and holding flowers in front of her with two people holding two of her corgis on a leash.
The Wueen made the decision to stop breeding corgis in their 90s as they didn’t want them to outlive them.
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In a 2013 book titled ‘Royal Pets by Appointment’ by Brian Hoey, it was revealed that the Queen’s Corgis were treated just as lavishly as one would expect.

Hoey wrote that the dogs were served dinner every night at 5:00 p.m., eating chef-prepared meals fit for a king or queen, such as fillet steak and chicken breasts.

The queen reportedly occasionally fed the dogs herself, with the book’s author saying she sometimes lovingly drizzled gravy over their food for them.

The dogs were originally thought to be good for the Queen’s image, with several people noting that being accompanied by animals made her look “warmer” in public. They were also seen as a way for her to break the ice when meeting new people.

Members of the royal family credited the dogs with keeping the monarch happy and calm as she struggled with tragedy throughout her life. It was also reported that she tried to walk and feed her dogs herself whenever she could.

According to the Express, when the queen felt overwhelmed, she managed to reach down to feed her corgis under the table. When Prince Philip died in April 2021, she reportedly turned to her faithful companions for comfort and even received two new corgi puppies to help her grieve.

Unfortunately, one of the puppies, Fergus, died just a month after her husband. It’s unclear why the 5-month-old pup died, with some publications reporting that the pup was unwell for several months before dying.

The Queen leaves behind four dogs, including two corgis, a dorgi named Candy and a cocker spaniel named Lissy.

No doubt the puppies are also mourning their loss. As Her Royal Highness once said, “My corgis are family.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/08/why-queen-elizabeth-was-obsessed-with-corgis/ Why Queen Elizabeth was obsessed with corgis

Emma Bowman

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