03/04/2011

Let the royal dog wars begin

The dog wars are on.

Queen-corgi The Queen is well known for her love of Corgis, the stubby-legged pooch with an oversized head and a notorious bad-temper that is amusing to poke fun at until it latches onto your ankle.

But the heir to the throne's bride-to-be Kate is a Spaniel owner.

While it's not as bad as if William's betrothed was a cat lover, Kate's choice of pets has some hits and misses when it comes to joining the royal clan:

Personality: Spaniels are known for their gently and easy-going personality with a propensity for engaging in rough and tumble games.  Bright, intelligent and loyal, Corgis are renowned for their stubborn-going-on-bossy temperament. Described by some as "a twinkie" and legs, it is difficult to imagine the Queen's Corgi posse enjoying being rolled on by Kate's game-loving pooch.

Breed: Here Kate's choice in pet has the edge. Spaniels, a British breed (points here), are known as a hunting dog, retrieving ducks or pheasants after they've been blasted to earth. As Kate joins a family with a long hunting history her pet can really help her fit in with her in-laws by proving its hunting chops.

Corgis are also a British breed.  Originally used to drive flocks of geese to market and protect poultry flocks, the Corgis' usefulness to the royal family is less apparent, unless there is a mouse problem at Buckingham Palace -- Corgis are very good ratters.

Royal pet history: Luckily for Kate, the royal family isn't a one breed operation.  Over the years a number of dogs have graced the royal palaces, some even earning their own portraits and tomb stones, according to the official website of the British monarchy.

Queen Victoria’s had a Collie called Noble who was buried on the grounds of Balmoral when he died in 1887 with a tombstone that read:

Noble by name by nature noble too
Faithful companion sympathetic true
His remains are interred here

King Edward VII's terrier Caesar (a worrying choice of name for a ruling monarch) outlived the king and followed his coffin during the funeral procession.

The Queen now owns four Corgis called Linnet, Monty, Willow and Holly and three Dorgis (a cross-breed of Corgi and Dachsunds) called Cider, Candy and Vulcan. Princess Margaret was also given a Dorgi by the Queen.

And there is good news for Kate -- a daughter-in-law has already rebelled when it comes to her choice of dogs. Camilla Parker Bowles owns two Jack Russell terriers, Tosca and Rosie.

Notoriety: Unfortunately for Kate, her Spaniel Otto has already shown himself to be a rebel in the face of royalty. The dog is rumoured to have eaten a pair of antique, pearl earrings given to Kate as a gift from the Prince for her 28th birthday.  While there was no confirmation from Clarence House whether the story was true, or the earrings ever retrieved, it's probably safest to keep Otto away from the Queen's tiara collection -- just in case.

 

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