Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Queen Victoria, a Good Friend to Dogs

On Sunday, Mom and Aunt LaDene went to the movies, and what they saw was a movie called The Young Victoria.  This movie was about a queen of England back in the old days, who was on the throne for 63 years and 7 months.  Which is a really long time to sit on a throne, if you ask me!

The best part about the movie was that it had dogs in it, because Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, loved dogs.  One dog that was in the movie was a dog named Dash, who was a King Charles Spaniel.  Back in those days, they didn't call them Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.  That was something that got started later.

Anyway, Victoria loved Dash because he was one of her few companions, on account of she wasn't allowed to go to school or play with other children.  I looked in Mom's book of dog paintings from 1840 to 1940, and there is a painting of Dash that was made by Sir Edwin Landseer.  But I could not find this painting online in the public domain, so you won't get to see it in my blog.

When Dash died, he was buried in a garden, and here's what it said on the grave marker:

Here lies DASH, The Favourite Spaniel of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, By whose command this Memorial was Erected.  He died on the 20th December, 1840, in his 9th year.
     His attachment was without selfishness,
     His playfulness without malice,
     His fidelity without deceit.
READER, if you would live beloved and die regretted, profit by the example of DASH.

So you can kind of get the idea of how much Queen Victoria loved dogs by reading this.  Her husband, who was called the "prince consort," also loved dogs.  In the movie, he was shown with two greyhounds.  His favorite greyhound was named Eos.  Her picture was also painted by Sir Edwin Landseer, who painted a lot of pictures of the royal family's dogs.

Here's a painting by Sir Edwin that does have Dash in it and also Eos, plus a Scottish deerhound and a parrot.

Victoria and Albert loved each other very much, and they had a whole bunch of kids.  In fact, they had 9 of them and 42 grandchildren.  I couldn't find out how many dogs they owned, but I think it was a lot.  Also they had horses.

After Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria mostly wore black for the rest of her life.  She still had lots of dogs, and she had special kennels for them at Windsor and special people to take care of them.  People sometimes gave her dogs as gifts, and she liked to bring dogs to England from exotic places.

Queen Victoria really liked Skye Terriers and collies.  These breeds came from Scotland.  She helped make these types of dogs more popular in England.  She brought dachshunds from Germany and also Pomeranians.  At first, Pomeranians were much bigger than they are today, like about 30 pounds.  But Queen Victoria liked them smaller, so people started breeding and showing them that way.

Another thing Queen Victoria did for dogs was to make it popular to have paintings of dogs as pets instead of as show dogs that are standing around in a formal pose.  During Victorian times, people were very sentimental, so they liked paintings that told a story.  Like for example, there might be a dog looking sad, with some gloves and a hat, and the name of the painting would be "Waiting for Master."  Then you wonder if the master will ever return, or if he's dead or something.  And you also wonder why the dog does not chew up the gloves and hat, which would help pass the time while waiting for the master to come back.

Anyway, I guess that's all I can tell you about Queen Victoria.  Everybody always thinks that the most famous thing she said was "We are not amused," but I don't know if she really said that or not.  I think that watching her dogs play was amusing to her or else she wouldn't have done it so often!


  1. Great blog....anyone that loves dogs or animals for that matter are a big OK in my book!!
    Love, AP