A Royal Pedigree

By on December 17, 2013

Dogs play a large part in the heritage of the Royal family. Certain breeds have taken their names from particular Royals while other breeds wouldn’t have existed at all had it not been by Royal request. To this day, all of the Royal families from the Plantagenets to the House of Orange have had within them dog fanciers of royal proportions.

Here, Patrick Ellis takes a retrospective look at the many muses of our monarchs.

1. King Canute, the great. (1016-1035)

King Canute, who was the second Dane to rule England, was quite passionate about animal rights, which was unusual for him, given his other passion, which was for beheading any Londoner who still claimed Edmund II as the King. And in being so passionate about the rights of Rabbits and other small quarry, he gave cause to the concept of ‘toy dogs’.

During his reign, which began upon his conquering of England, with the exception of London, he passed a law stating that ‘no dog that could fit through a gauge of eleven inches in diameter can be used for hunting.’ This law was passed because the King saw no sport or fairness in large dogs such as Spaniels, hunting small quarry. In response, hunters began to breed only the smallest Spaniels, until the breed known then as the Toy Spaniel was founded.

king canute toy spaniel

A modern day Toy Spaniel

2. Edward VI of England (1547-1553)

King Edward VI was the long awaited son of King Henry VIII. During his private education the King was surrounded by ‘privileged’ children who were to share in schooling. One of them, Barnaby Fitzpatrick, the cousin of the Earl of Ormonde, was appointed as Edward’s whipping boy, meaning that any punishments due to the naughty young King (who ascended to the throne at age nine) were delivered instead to the hapless Barnaby Fitzpatrick. All because you simply couldn’t whip the King.

In spite of this rather unfortunate role, Barnaby and the King became good friends, and in later life Barnaby was given the title Baron of Upper Ossory. Another of the Kings friends, Thomas Seymour became jealous at apparently being ousted from the King’s favours and one night paid a visit to the King armed with a pistol. Unable to find the King, the unstable Admiral shot one of the King’s beloved dogs instead. Fearing his punishment, he fled.

3. King James I (1603-1625)

King James, who was ruling monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland during his reign, was a huge dog lover. He had many hounds, with whom he would go out hunting. He had one hound that he held in particular favour, called Jewel.




Will Ludo, the canine companion to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge make this list in years to come? Who is your canine favourite of the Monarch world? Let us know!

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