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.
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.”
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.
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!”
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.”
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.”