Queen Elizabeth II is known for her love of the stubby little Corgi, a breed of dog introduced to the Royal Family by her father in 1933.
The then-Duke of York surprised little Elizabeth with Dookie, a Corgi from a local kennel. It was love at first sight, and history was made. Several years later on her eighteenth birthday, Princess Elizabeth was given another Corgi, whom she named Susan. This is the Corgi “matriarch” from whom the rest of the dogs were bred. Today, the Queen still has two Corgis from Susan’s line: Willow and Holly.
Her Majesty also owns two of the more recent breed of ‘Dorgis’. She bred a Corgi with one of her sister Margaret’s dachshunds, resulting in a splendid litter of dogs. The Queen still retains two descendants from that litter: Candy and Vulcan.
The Queen’s dogs travel with her everywhere, whether by train or plane. The Corgis are seen tagging along to Her Majesty’s various residences, who cares for them herself in between various duties. She’s known to allow them free reign of the royal residence she happens to be in at the time. The Queen is also very particular about their feeding habits. They are given freshly prepared food, never from a tin!
The Royal family is well-known for their love of dogs, and horses are another beloved animal. Cats, however, don’t rank high on their list. You’d be hard pressed to find any member of the family with a cat except for Princess Michael of Kent. She adores her Burmese and Siamese cats.
The Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, loves dogs but is said to hate corgis. They are too small and “yap too much” for Philip’s tastes, according to royal biographer Brian Hoey. The Duke has a fondess instead for Labradors, who are more relaxed and are his loyal companions during his favorite pastime of shooting.
The specific breed of Corgi that has had the Queen’s heart for decades is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. These intelligent little beasts hail from Wales and are working dogs trained to herd and protect their farm.
So wee are Corgis compared to most dogs, the Welsh people imagined that they were “fairy dogs, used by the fairies and elves to pull fairy coaches, work fairy cattle, and serve as a steed for the fairy warriors.”
These Corgis are fox-like in appearance, with a pointed muzzle and big, erect ears. They are described as friendly, but can be protective and tenacious.