The British Royal Family and Their Pets: Which Is Your Favorite?
The British royal family love their dogs and horses, but they’ve had some unusual pets, too, (can you guess who had a crocodile or a bear cub?). Here’s the low-down on those pampered royal pets.
The Queen’s love of the Pembrokeshire corgi is legendary. On her 18th birthday, her father gave her a corgi named Susan, and since then every royal corgi (more than 30 of them) descended from her original pet. In 2018, after her last corgi died, the Queen decided to stop breeding corgis due to her age, but when her gamekeeper died, she decided to adopt his corgi that she had been dog-walking for the last two years.
The Queen also has dorgis—a cross between a corgi and a dachshund. The royal dogs have their own room, and food specially prepared by a chef, but the Queen feeds them personally at 5 p.m. sharp each day and walks them herself.
Of course, the royal family members are often given exotic animals as pets when on their international visits. Prince Philip was once given a pair of pygmy hippopotami as a gift from President Tubman of Liberia. The Prince sent them on permanent loan to London Zoo! He was also given a baby elephant when visiting Sri Lanka, which also found a forever home at London Zoo. It’s not only the British royal family that has bizarre pets. Learn about the most famous pets that have lived in the White House.
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
William and Kate have carried on the royal tradition of owning a dog: a black cocker spaniel named Lupo. However, Prince George caused something of a scandal when he was photographed offering Lupo a lick of his ice cream (not considered good for dogs). The Cambridges also have a pet hamster, said to be a great favorite with Princess Charlotte because the whiskers tickle her face. Make sure that you don’t feed Fido any of these toxic foods for dogs.
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Meghan was said to be broken-hearted at having to leave her beloved rescue lab Bogart in Canada, as he was too old to settle in a new home. But she brought her other rescued pooch, a beagle named Guy, with her. It’s rumored that the Sussexes have recently welcomed another dog into the family, this time a Labrador retriever. Beagles and retrievers both shed their hair readily, so regular grooming is important. So is keeping your house from smelling like dogs—here are the easiest ways to remove pet odors.
Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall
It caused a bit of a scandal when Prince Charles admitted that he preferred labradors to the traditional royal corgi as a breed, but he’s owned several in his time. One beloved lab, Tigga, lived to be 18 years old, before dying in 2002.
Camilla is also a fan of rescue dogs, owning two Jack Russells she adopted from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. To see the family’s beloved canines of the past, check out these vintage photos of royal dogs.
Princess Anne, the Princess Royal
Best known for her love of horses—Princess Anne competed for Great Britain at the 1972 Olympics— the princess also own bulldogs. Known as a tough and hardy breed, bulldogs are strong and loyal, and the princess can often be seen walking them herself. The Princess Royal is no stranger to unusual pets either. In 1956, she was given a three-month-old bear cub by Russian President Nikita Khrushchev. The cub was named Nikki, presumably after the president himself. Some dogs are resilient enough to be kept outside rather than in the home. To be sure, find out how to keep your pets safe in the winter.
As the Princess Royal’s daughter, it’s hardly surprising that Zara Tindall inherited her mom’s love of horses, and she too represented Great Britain in the Olympics, winning a silver medal at London 2012. Although not strictly a pet, Zara was devoted to her horse Toytown, and they won many equestrian events together. When he died in 2017 at the age of 24, Zara herself said she was “heartbroken.”
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York
On a visit to The Gambia in West Africa, the Queen was once given a crocodile as a pet for Prince Andrew. It’s said that her Private Secretary, Sir Martin Charteris, was persuaded to keep the reptile in his bathtub before it was sent on to London Zoo! Now, Prince Andrew’s pets are more mainstream—he has five Norfolk Terriers. We don’t know about keeping pets in a bathtub, but you might need to give your pets a bath. Here’s how often you have to wash your dog.
Princess Michael of Kent
You might think it would be a brave royal who preferred cats to dogs, but Princess Michael (while owning dogs and horses), has a deep love of cats. She owns several Siamese and Burmese cats, as well as supporting rhino and elephant conservation organizations in Africa. Now that you know all about the Queen and her family’s favorite pets, find out these 50 things you didn’t know about the royal family.