Why Queen Elizabeth II Has Owned So Many Corgis

The Queen loves her corgis so much, she even calls them "family." But why does she have such an affinity for this particular breed?

Dogs have always been trusted companions for members up and down the British royal family tree, from Charles I’s spaniels to Queen Victoria’s beloved dog, Dash. Yet the latest and longest-reigning British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has outdone them all, breeding 14 generations of corgis during her lifetime. What gives? We found out everything you need to know about Queen Elizabeth’s corgis, including how many she has raised and why she has a soft spot for the breed. You might also be surprised to learn what the queen of England does when she’s not taking care of her pups.

How many corgis has Queen Elizabeth II had?

The Crown has always been fond of her corgis. However, few people know just how many the Queen has owned over the course of her lifetime. It is estimated that she has raised more than 30 corgis over the past 70 years. (That’s longer than her marriage to Prince Philip!) According to royal confidantes, the Queen prefers corgis to other dog breeds because of their energy and untamed spirit. If you’re a fan of The Crown, you’ve probably seen Olivia Colman as Elizabeth II with this favored breed on the show.

Why has Queen Elizabeth II always had corgis?

young queen elizabeth with her corgiLisa Sheridan/Getty Images

The unbreakable bond between Elizabeth and her corgis began when the Queen’s parents welcomed the royal family’s first corgi, named Dookie, in 1933. In 1944, Queen Elizabeth’s father gave her a corgi named Susan for her 18th birthday. After tagging along on Elizabeth’s honeymoon, Susan gave birth to a pair of puppies in 1949. Thus began the line of royal corgis, which the Queen herself engineered and which lasted for at least 14 generations of dogs.

Queen Elizabeth’s corgis have been her canine companions of choice ever since. At one point, she owned nine corgis simultaneously. Her corgis slept in their own room and ate food prepared by a personal gourmet chef. Aside from the endless amounts of love and affection she felt for (and received from!) them, there was also a more practical reason to keep her corgis around. They provided a way for the Queen, like any dog owner, to find common ground with strangers by talking about their pups. Plus, the daily walks and feedings offered a comforting routine for her. Take a look at these adorable corgi pictures and you just may fall in love with the breed, too.

Does Queen Elizabeth II still have corgis?

The Queen And Duke Of Edinburgh Visit Battersea Dogs And Cats HomeWPA Pool/Getty Images

Sadly, Buckingham Palace is no longer echoing with the chirps and barks of the Queen Elizabeth corgis. The last surviving member of the royal corgi family, Willow, died of cancer in April 2018. Whisper, a corgi the Queen inherited from a former staff member, passed away in October of the same year. After the last two of Queen Elizabeth’s corgis, Holly and Willow, were born, the Queen stopped breeding them because she didn’t want to leave any of them behind when she died.

Fortunately, Queen Elizabeth still has a few furry friends roaming around the palace grounds. A corgi named Muick, which was given to her after Prince Philip died, and Candy, a dachshund and corgi mix (also known as a dorgi), keep her company. She also received a corgi for her birthday in June 2021. While Queen Elizabeth’s corgis are the most recent pets to prowl the royal palace, these vintage photos prove that plenty of monarchs have had royal dogs throughout history.

Sources:

  • Royal.uk: “Royal Dogs”
  • BBC: “Corgis: The royal family in danger of dying out”
  • Vanity Fair: “Queen Elizabeth and Her Corgis: A Love Story”
Princess Elizabeth At WindsorLisa Sheridan/Getty Images

Photos of a Young Queen Elizabeth

Brooke Nelson
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for RD.com.