The Queen has been a dog lover since she was young when her parents gave her three dogs. The Queen has bred over 30 dogs during her seven-decade reign, and she’s had her share of sad goodbyes to various pets, including the death of her beloved Corgi puppy in May 2021. We dig further into the Queen’s long-standing affection for her cherished canine companions and who will care for them now that she’s gone.
The Queen’s love for dogs stemmed from her childhood when she grew up with the Pembrook Welsh breed. Her father, King George VI, was a dog lover. In 1933, he acquired the family’s first corgi, a puppy named Dookie.
The Queen was immediately taken with the young dog, selecting Dookie over two others for his long tail, which indicated “whether he is pleased or not.”
In 1944, Susan became the Queen’s first corgi and served as a special 18th birthday present. The two shared such a strong bond that the Queen sneakily brought Susan along on her honeymoon in 1947, to the dismay of Prince Phillip.
In his book Not in Front of the Corgis, royal biographer Brian Hoey claimed the Duke of Edinburgh “loathed” the corgis for being “too yappy.”
The Queen, on the other hand, did not stop breeding dogs for more than 50 years. Previous pals include Bisto, Oxo, Flash, Spick, and Span, and dorgis Tinker, Harris, Pickles, Brandy, Berry, Cider, Chipper, and Piper.
The Queen herself is responsible for creating the dorgi. This hybrid is a mix of a dachshund and a corgi. One day, one of her corgis mated with her sister Princess Margaret’s dachshund, Pipkin.
The late monarch welcomed a new furry family member in 2022, joining the other pups – including one gifted for the Queen’s second birthday last year. Queen Elizabeth II was an avid animal lover among her many beautiful qualities, and she especially loved spending time with her pet dogs.
In January 2022, the late Queen Elizabeth welcomed a new four-year-old cocker spaniel into her life and named her Lissy. This is a break from tradition as previous royal dogs have been corgis or dorgis.
The Daily Mail reported that the Queen’s first-ever cocker spaniel is also a prize winner. Wolferton Drama, her pedigree name, competed in and won the 91st Kennel Club Cocker Spaniel Championship held earlier this year in Windsor Great Park. Beating out 38 others, she was crowned gun champion at the event.
“Lissy used to be a bit of a monkey when she was younger, but she has really come into her own now,” Ian Openshaw, her alleged trainer, told the paper.
While Prince Philip was in the hospital, she was given three more dogs as a present in 2021.
According to the Sun, a royal insider stated Her Majesty was “delighted” by the new pets, who were “brought in to cheer her up during a very difficult period.” They added that the “adorable” pups were responsible for bringing “a lot of noise and energy into the castle” when Prince Philip was ill in hospital.
Fergus was one of two dogs Prince Andrew gifted to his mother in February 2021; sadly, one of the pups from last year – five-month-old Fergus – died in May, leaving the Queen heartbroken.
While Fergus passed away, Muick survived. Pronounced Mick, this corgi was named after a picturesque location near Balmoral Castle— the Queen’s Scottish residence. In May 2021, a royal source described Muick as “livewire” and needing “a playmate to keep him busy” following Fergus’s death.
For her 95th birthday in June 2021, Prince Andrew and his children Princess Eugenie and Beatrice surprised the Queen with another corgi.
A source close to Windsor Castle said: “The Queen has had a rough time and she is absolutely delighted to have a new corgi. She was distraught when Fergus died suddenly, but this new dog will be perfect company for Muick going forward.”
The new corgi was named Sandy. Previous corgis have been named Dookie, Emma, Susan Linnet, and the beloved Willow, who passed away in April 2018.
Queen Elizabeth II left four dogs – two corgis, one dorgi, and a cocker spaniel. The two corgis are named Sandy and Muick. The remaining dorgi is called Candy. Candy is believed to be the eldest canine and has been alive for at least ten years.
According to reports, Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice will take care of the Queen’s two corgis and dorgi while a decision is still pending on who will own cocker spaniel Lissy.
The Daily Mail reported that Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice decided to gift the Queen her corgis last year, understanding that they would take care of them if something happened to Her Majesty.
They will look after Muick and Sandy. It’s suggested that Candy the dorgi will join them as well, “as the dogs are used to each other’s company.”
The Queen’s other dog, known as Lissy – the actual name is Wolferton Drama – currently lives with her trainer Ian Openshaw. It is uncertain whether she will stay with him or be relocated to a different home.
The Queen was known for taking her dogs on two daily walks. The first walk would happen after the corgis had eaten their lunch, and a footman would usually join her. Then, for their second outing of the day, they would explore the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
During the final year of her life, when she was debilitated by poor health, The Queen was said to have given up her favorite pastime of walking the dogs for a week. However, family and friends of the late Queen credited the exercise with being a “tonic” for her age of 96, keeping her active and healthy while also assisting in the recovery process following Prince Philip’s death.
The Queen’s corgis once lived in a special corgi room at Buckingham Palace.
Darren McGrady, a chef in the palace for 15 years, said, “They sleep in little wicker baskets in the corgi room and [are] looked after by two footman called Doggie 1 and Doggie 2, that’s what they called them.” The sheets in the wicker baskets were replaced every day, following a tradition started by the Queen Mother.
The Queen’s corgis typically joined her indoors in her private apartments in Windsor Palace. There, she fed them herself by mixing their food with a fork and spoon, which one of the servant staff brought to her on a tray.
Not only were the puppies pampered, but someone also served food, prepared fresh by staff in the Buckingham Palace kitchen.
“One of the first jobs I had was cooking for the corgis – the Royal Corgis – making fresh food every day,” adds Darren. [The corgis had] their own menu.” Meals usually consisted of rabbit, chicken, liver, beef, cabbage, and rice.
“The most important part of the meat was everything had to be cut into a fine dice … to be sure there were no bones at all in the meat,” said Darren. “Imagine if any of the dogs were to choke on them — I’d be in real trouble.”
Prince William has stated that the Queen’s pets are the key to keeping his grandmother happy throughout her reign.
“I would definitely argue the sanity of all the corgis barking the whole time, I don’t know how she copes with it,” the Duke of Cambridge said in a 2012 TV interview.
The late Princess Diana once referred to the Queen’s corgis as a “moving carpet” due to their tendency to follow her everywhere.
Harry, Prince William’s brother, also revealed that the Queen’s corgis took an instant shine to Meghan Markle on their first meeting.
“The corgis took to you straight away,” Harry revealed in the couple’s 2017 engagement interview with ITV. “I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at – this one walks in, absolutely nothing.”
According to Meghan, they were “just laying on my feet during tea, it was very sweet.”