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With passing of Queen Elizabeth II, 96, much attention has been paid to the ruler’s lifelong passion for Pembroke Welsh Corgis. During her 70 years on the throne, the Queen became practically synonymous with Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Not only did she develop a stellar Pembroke breeding program, but she also brought worldwide focus to the breed.

Lifelong Love

Even as a child, the then-Princess Elizabeth of York adored dogs. In her 1950 memoir The Little Princesses, the princess’s governess, Marion Crawford, wrote, “Lilibet [the Queen’s childhood nickname] has real affection for dogs. She loves them and makes friends of them.”

The Queen, sitting on a grassy bank with the corgis, at Virginia Water to watch competitors, including Prince Philip in the Marathon of the European Driving Championship, part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

That continued throughout her life with the Queen’s Pembroke Welsh Corgis. “The Queen was respected in every manner, and one of her attributes was breeding quality dogs and horses. She also brought attention by the fact of being the patron of the Kennel Club for the past 70 years,” says AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung.

HM The Queen sitting on rocks beside a waterfall on the Garbh Allt burn with two corgis on the Estate at Balmoral Castle, Scotland during the Royal Family's annual summer holiday in September 1971. Part of a series of photographs taken for use during the Silver Wedding Celebrations in 1972.
Photo by Lichfield Archive via Getty Images

Her Majesty’s love of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi helped popularize these dogs worldwide. “Without question, she brought attention to the breed,” Sprung notes. “She was interested in quality dogs; certainly, discussing dogs with her brought a smile to her face. And I was privileged on numerous occasions to have those conversations.” He adds, “There was no question that Her Majesty was interested in the pedigrees and the progeny of everything she bred.”

A Family Tradition

Anne Bowes, owner of Heronsway Pembroke Welsh Corgis, shared, “When I first got into the breed, it was not very well known, so many people would ask me what they were.  I would respond by saying, ‘This is the breed that the Queen of England has.’ And they would often say, ‘Oh yes, I know now.’ So, from that point of view, the Queen had a large impact on the breed.”

Bowes cites the monarch’s participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies. She notes, “The wonderful video of the Queen, her Corgis, and James Bond really put Pembrokes in the spotlight as a humorous and loyal breed!”

Queen Elizabeth II talks with members of the Manitoba Corgi Association during a visit to Winnipeg 08 October 2002. The queen, making her 20th trip to Canada, is the last stop on the year-long jubilee tour celebrating her 50-year reign.
ADRIAN WYLD/AFP via Getty Images

The Queen inherited her love for Pembrokes from her own mother. Bowes observes of the Queen Mother, “She was the one who purchased a Pembroke for her children and loved Pembroke Welsh Corgis above any other breed.” British Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeder Simon Parsons notes, “I believe it was a charming photo of Dookie and Princess Elizabeth at a railway station on a visit to the Duchess [of York, later the Queen Mother]’s ancestral home at Glamis in Scotland that first drew public attention to this rather quaint, fox-like breed.”

Queen Elizabeth II with some of her corgis walking the Cross Country course during the second day of the Windsor Horse Trials.
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

And Her Majesty continued her mother’s royal tradition, and her current dogs will go to her second son, Prince Andrew. “The Queen has had a very positive impact on Pembroke Welsh Corgis over the years,” Bowes says. “All Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeders are grateful for her and her mother’s admiration of the breed.”




Related article: What Will Happen to the Queens Beloved Dogs?
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