by Melody Keilig
On Thursday, the 8th of September, the world was saddened by the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing at age 96. Her 70 years and 214 days of reign began on the 6th of February 1952, making her the United Kingdom’s longest serving monarch and the longest recorded female head of state in history.
Queen Elizabeth II leaves quite a legacy, and it has been an honour to have her lead the country. From her reign, we could see that she had a fun side to her personality.
A well-known part of her life was her deep love for corgis. When she was a young child, Elizabeth saw something special in the dog breed. So much so that corgis became synonymous with the monarch.
At seven years old, the then Princess Elizabeth specifically asked for a Pembroke Welsh corgi after visiting a friend who had that dog breed as a pet. That was in 1933, and the queen's passion for corgis never dimmed.
Reportedly, the queen dearly loved corgis due to their "energy and untamed spirit."
In 1944, on her 18th birthday, Elizabeth was given a Pembroke Welsh corgi named Susan. This corgi would become her faithful companion, later accompanying her for her coronation, wedding, and honeymoon with her late husband, Prince Philip.
In the 1970s, she and her sister, Princess Margaret, bred a hybrid breed they called a "dorgi." This dog breed was a cross between a dachshund and a corgi.
The creation of the dorgi was just the beginning of Elizabeth's interest in breeding Pembroke Welsh corgis, as she bred the dogs until her 90s. The queen bred her corgi, Susan, with a dog named Rozavel Lucky Strike.
Susan’s first litter was delivered in 1949, and these offspring became the royal family’s “dog dynasty.” Although Susan passed in 1959, most of the dogs owned by the royal family since then are descended from her.
It’s reported that Elizabeth owned more than 30 corgis during her reign. Now that’s nothing to sniff at! Many of these corgis were also from Susan’s lineage.
During Elizabeth's childhood, Pembroke Welsh corgis weren't a common sight in England. They were more familiar as small cattle dogs in neighbouring Wales. However, with a rise in Pembroke Welsh corgi adoptions within the years Elizabeth got Susan, it was clear that Elizabeth made the corgi a must-have companion.
Elizabeth and her beloved corgis were inseparable and helped shape her warm, public appearance. Of course, dogs are always a favourable sight.
The queen was a serious corgi breeder, especially considering that 14 generations of Susan's descendants lived with her. That is, until Willow passed away in 2015. This unfortunate event was quite difficult on Elizabeth, as Willow was the last corgi of Susan's lineage.
The queen loved her corgis as family, giving them chef-made meals like chicken, filet steak, vegetables, and rice. She was also known for feeding and walking her dogs herself when she was able.
Although she bred many corgis, the queen never sold any of her dogs. Rather, the dogs were kept by her or given to relatives, friends, or breeders.
Where the queen went, her corgis were never far behind. The dogs travelled with her from palaces via helicopters, trains, and limousines.
Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, but the corgis slept inside the queen's private apartment. In the book All The Queen's Corgis by Penny Junor, it is quoted that there is a special room for the corgis where they have raised wicker baskets lined with cushions.
During Christmases at the queen’s Norfolk residence, Sandringham Estate, her corgis were always treated to their own Christmas stockings. These stockings were filled with gifts from the queen herself.
A true dog lover, the queen found solace in her dogs during challenging times, such as the passing of her husband, Prince Philip, in April 2021. The queen leaves behind four dogs, including two corgis named Muick and Sandy. The other two are a dorgi and a cocker spaniel named Candy and Lissy, respectively.
Reportedly, Elizabeth's two corgis will now be cared for by her youngest son, Prince Andrew, and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson. At this time, it is not yet known who will take care of the other two dogs.
With Elizabeth’s long history of being a serious corgi breeder, why did she stop breeding her beloved dogs? According to the queen’s horse trainer, she did not want to leave more dogs behind in the event of her passing.
The queen was quoted as saying, "My corgis are family." And we certainly believe those words from how she loved her dogs so dearly.