All You Need To Know About The Queen's Corgis

All You Need To Know About The Queen's Corgis

Queen Elizabeth II was the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom for 70 years, and during her reign, she had several royal Corgis as loyal companions. In this blog post, we'll take a look at the history of Queen Elizabeth's Corgis and some of the most famous ones she has owned. We'll also discuss why Corgis are such popular pets and how to care for them. If you're a dog lover or considering adding a Corgi to your family, then you won't want to miss this blog post!

A Brief History

The queen tending to her dogs

It all began in 1944 when the young Queen Elizabeth II was given her first Corgi, named Susan. Initially, Susan was registered as "Hickathrift Pippa." However, the dog soon began to go by Sue before eventually becoming Susan. Elizabeth and Susan grew so attached to each other that during Princess Elizabeth's honeymoon with Prince Philip, Susan rode along hidden under blankets in the royal carriage. It is said that the Queen owned more than 30 Corgis since then, and a good majority of them were descended from Susan.

One thing to note is that Susan wasn't the first time Queen Elizabeth encountered a Corgi. The Queen developed a fondness for corgis when she was young, as she loved the ones owned by the children of the Marquess of Bath. Asides from this, King George VI also brought home Dookie (a Corgi) in 1933, years before Queen Elizabeth II had her first corgi.

 

According to the Royal Collection Trust, "Dookie," formally known as Rozavel Golden Eagle, was given his name when he was sent away to be trained. The staff noticed that the dog was destined for the Duke of York's household and began referring to him as Dookie. When the dog returned to his new family, it became clear that he only responded to his new name, so they left it that way.

A picture from George VI's photo album also depicts a ten-year-old Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) feeding Dookie with a footman. From a dish held by a footman, Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret would feed Dookie by hand.

Queen Elizabeth II's mother, known as Queen Elizabeth at the time, set a rigorous training routine for the dogs; each was assigned its own wicker basket, and each received its own plate with food that veterinary experts had recommended. They were not allowed any scraps from the royal table.

To begin the day, the royal dogs were given a type of meat biscuit. For their evening meal, they were served dog food with gravy, and extra biscuits were given to them as rewards or for special occasions.

How Were The Dogs Bred?

The Queen With Her Dogs

The Queen Mother had been personally involved in a program to breed Pembroke Welsh Corgis at Windsor Castle; Her Majesty's purebred puppies incorporate the kennel name "Windsor" into their names. Much of this information was not previously known, as the breeders who took part in the Queen's program never discussed their duties publicly or even with each other, due to strict unwritten rules.

But now, we know that Susan was the common ancestor of all Queen Elizabeth's Pembrokes, an incredible genetic legacy. Two of her final pups, Holly and Willow, appear to have been the 14th generation of Susan's descendants. Over the years, the Queen called on prominent breeders—such as Gray or Maureen Johnston—to help her continue her lines.

Have The Corgis Ever Attacked The Queen Before?

On several occasions, the Queen and her royal staff have been bitten by corgis. The first recorded incident took place in 1954 when Susan – the Pembroke corgi gifted to the Queen on her 18th birthday - chomped down on Royal clock winder Leonard Hubbard at Windsor's Royal Lodge.

How Did The Queen Take Care Of Her Corgis?

An old photo of the queen and her corgi  

The Queen's pets were treated like royalty and had a staff of at least two people, from what we know of, to take care of them. Bill Fenwick was one of the people known to have cared for the Queen's dogs.

As Windsor's head gamekeeper, Bill Fenwick and his wife Nancy took on the responsibility of caring for the Pembrokes. Nancy trained the dogs to walk upstairs, fed and looked after them, and assisted with finding matches to mate with.

When Nancy Fenwick passed away, the Queen and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, went to her memorial service. The monarch does not attend employee funerals under royal tradition. However, it appears here that an exception was made.

Here's a fun fact; The Queen's corgis used to have their own special corgi room at Buckingham Palace. Darren McGrady, a chef who worked at the palace for 15 years, said: "They slept in little wicker baskets in the corgi room and were looked after by two footmen called Doggie 1 and Doggie 2.

Is The Queen Mother's Dog Breeding Program Still On?

 A photo of a corgi sitting down on a royal chair

Upon the Queen Mother's passing in 2002, those close to her began to realize that the royal family's Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeding program had stopped. In 2012, Monty Roberts - the Queen's equine advisor - asked Elizabeth II about continuing the tradition. The monarch reportedly said she didn't want to have more young dogs. As she didn't want to leave any young dog behind.

In addition to owning several mixed-breed dogs, the Queen has also lost many of them throughout the years. According to The Washington Post, the death of Willow in 2018 hit her particularly hard. Out of all her dogs, Willow was reportedly the last tie she had to Susan--the first dog she ever owned.

The Queen's Passing

Elizabeth II, The Queen Mother, died on the 8th of September 2022, aged 95. As the reigning monarch, she was succeeded by her eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales. It is unclear if the Windsors will continue to breed Pembroke Welsh Corgis now that Elizabeth II has died.

However, it seems unlikely, given that the program was stopped years ago, and Elizabeth II was reportedly reluctant to start it up again. Either way, the impact that Elizabeth II and her Corgis have had on the breed is undeniable. Thanks to them, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of the most popular dogs in the world.

Want To Own A Corgi? Here's What You Need To Know

The Royal Corgis

Below, we'll go over some things you need to know if you're interested in owning a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

What Are Corgis?

Corgis are a type of herding dog that originated from Wales. They are small in size, with short legs and long bodies. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are the more common type of Corgi; they are outgoing and have a reputation for being very friendly. Cardigan Welsh Corgis are less common; they are shy and reserved and were actually the first type of Corgi to be bred.

What Do Corgis Look Like?

Corgis have short legs and long bodies, which makes them look a bit like little foxes. They have pointy ears, and their tails are either docked or natural (meaning they have a bobtail). Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be either red, sable, fawn, or black and tan in color. They typically weigh between 20 and 30 pounds, and they stand about 12 inches tall at the shoulder.

What Do Corgis Temperament?

Corgis make loyal and loving companions, getting along well with all types of families. They are known for being great watchdogs, even though they aren't the biggest dogs around. Corgis will bark at anything that seems out of place - strangers included!

Corgis are generally non-aggressive, with notable exceptions. They're highly intelligent due to their herding history, and they enjoy "working" with a family - they will happily follow you about while you do chores. Corgis are social creatures that don't enjoy being left alone for extended periods of time. If you have to leave them home during a typical workday, they'll be just fine, but coming home to an empty house after a long vacation can cause significant stress.

Grooming Routines For Corgis

A corgi with black fur

Corgis have two layers of fur. This means they shed a lot. They also have two shedding seasons: spring and fall, when they will shed even more. While grooming won't entirely prevent loose hair from spreading across your home, it will help.

During shedding seasons, you'll need to brush more frequently - at least a few times a week. You should also bathe your Corgi as needed; once every few weeks should suffice unless they get particularly dirty.

Corgis are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, but their nails will need to be trimmed on a regular basis. You can do this yourself at home with a dog nail trimmer, or you can take them to a groomer or vet to have it done.

Do Corgis Need A Lot Of Exercise?

Corgis are high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercise. They were bred for herding, so they have a lot of stamina. A daily walk is a must, and they'll also enjoy playing fetch or going for a run.

If you live in an apartment or don't have a lot of space for them to run around, you'll need to get creative with their exercise. As herding dogs, they have a natural instinct to chase things. This can be other animals, vehicles, or even people. It's important to socialize them early on and teach them that not everything is something to be herded.

Do Corgis Get Along With Other Pets?

Corgis generally get along well with other pets, especially if they are raised with them from a young age. They can be territorial, so it's important to introduce any new animals slowly and make sure everyone has their own space.

With that said, Corgis can be aggressive towards other dogs if they feel their territory is being threatened. Male Corgis are especially prone to this, but it can happen with females as well.

Conclusion

Corgis are great companion dogs for active families. They need a lot of exercise, but they're also intelligent and loving animals that will quickly become a part of the family. If you're thinking about getting a Corgi, be prepared to vacuum frequently and give them plenty of space to run around. We hope you've enjoyed learning a little bit more about this amazing breed!

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