Her Royal Corgis: Inside the Life of Queen Elizabeth's Pampered Pooches
To say the Queen’s beloved dogs get the Royal treatment is an understatement.
When it comes to canines, the Queen's corgis might be some of the most famous furry faces in the world. First developing a fondness for the breed when she was a young girl, Her Royal Highness hasn't stopped loving the short, long-bodied, sheep herding breed. According to reports, she has owned 30 corgis (and also some dorgis – dachshunds mixed with corgi) in her lifetime. "My corgis are family," the Queen famously said. The life of the Queen's canines isn't quite as public as some of the other members of the Royal Family. "The corgis are a private matter," the Queen's press secretary told Vanity Fair when they were working on a story about the dogs. Here is everything we know about the lives of the most pampered pooches in the kingdom.
In a Town & Country feature about the corgis, it was revealed that each has an "individually designed menu," served by hand in strict order of each dog's age. According to royal dog trainer Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist and behavioral therapist, the dogs eat like royalty. "At feeding times, each dog had an individually designed menu, including an array of homeopathic and herbal remedies. Their food was served by a butler in an eclectic collection of battered silver and porcelain dishes," he said. "As I watched, the queen got the corgis to sit in a semi-circle around her, and then fed them one by one, in order of seniority. The others just sat and patiently waited their turn."
Former royal chef Darren McGrady added to HELLO that they often ate better than the humans who served them: "When I worked at the palace, we actually had a royal menu for the dogs. It would be chosen and sent to us in the kitchen every month by Mrs Fennick, who took care of all the dogs at Sandringham," he said. "It would list each day what the dogs were to have. One day it would be beef, the next day chicken, the next day lamb, the next day rabbit and it alternated through those days."
According to Brian Hoey, author of Not In Front Of The Corgis, disciplining the dogs is a no-no. "Nobody is allowed to raise a finger or a voice to any of the dogs. They cock their legs and do what Corgis do wherever they want — on antique furniture, priceless carpets," he said. He added that royal staffers carry around blotting paper in case of accidents.
"The queen has definite views about how dogs should be cared for: She doesn't tolerate unkindness, and I remember she took a very dim view of President Lyndon B. Johnson picking his dogs up by their ears. When she's talking about her dogs or her horses, you see a completely different side to her: She relaxes," Mugford told Town & Country. "Dogs are great levelers, and they're not influenced by social status, which must be a great relief to her. No wonder she enjoys being around them." Her late husband, Prince Philip, once explained that the Queen enjoyed caring for the dogs herself, as it was a form of therapy he referred to as his wife's "dog mechanism."
At Buckingham Palace there is an entire room devoted to the dogs. They sleep in wicker baskets. When not in the room, they roam freely around the palace. "Because the dogs hold such an important place in Her Majesty's affections, the staff are careful not to offend them in any way. They dare not utter a remark in royal hearing criticizing the animals. The queen's Corgis are allowed unrestricted access to any part of any royal residence; nowhere is off-limits… The palace footmen loathe the animals, as they are yappy and snappy. They also are not fully house-trained, so a supply of soda water and blotting paper is kept at hand just in case of any 'little accidents,'" Hoey wrote in his book.
The Queen's first cousin Lady Margaret Rhodes revealed that the Queen loves to take long walks on the heath in Scotland, where they demonstrate their hunting skills. "They're often rather unruly, the dogs. They chase rabbits like mad," she told Vanity Fair. "There are a lot of rabbits around Balmoral, certainly, and the Queen gets excited with the dogs chasing the rabbits, egging them on. Telling them to keep going—'Keep on going!'"
Unlike most commoners, who hire a pet sitter or leave their dogs at a boarding facility when they travel, the Queen's corgis often travel with her via private jet. The dogs are so accustomed to flying like VIPs, when they get out of her car on the tarmac they know to run up the stairs of the private jet to board the plane. There are several videos depicting the herd of corgis boarding flights with Her Majesty.