Dog save the Queen: Corgis surge in popularity

Corgi sales are soaring, spurred on by the Jubilee. Liz Hoggard explains how the royal pet has become the subject of artworks, topiary and blogs.

They have their own quarters at Buckingham Palace, and they’re never far away from the royal ankles, but – until recently – it was feared that the faithful old corgi might die out altogether.

With their stumpy legs, pointed snouts and oversized ears, this breed doesn’t win many beauty awards. However, thanks to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Her Majesty’s favourite hound has enjoyed a large leap in popularity. According to Caroline Kisko, the Kennel Club’s secretary: “It is a wonderful tribute to the Queen that the popularity of her chosen breed [the Pembroke Welsh corgi], as well as of the Cardigan Welsh corgi, has increased in her Diamond Jubilee year, which will have raised people’s awareness of the breeds.”

In fact, 11 corgis feature on Topshop’s latest summer tote bag, while another (in a tiara, naturally) has landed the June cover of Tatler.

The Kennel Club reported a 10 per cent increase in the number of Pembroke Welsh corgi puppy registrations in the first three months of 2012, while a staggering 5,783 people searched for corgis on its website. Meanwhile, searches for the Cardigan Welsh corgi — an endangered breed which is cousin to the Queen’s Pembroke Welsh corgis — has soared by 59 per cent in the first four months of 2012 and the breed is one of 29 native dogs considered vulnerable to extinction because fewer than 300 puppies are registered each year.

The royal family has a long association with corgis. The breed was introduced to the family by the Queen’s father, King George VI, in 1933 when he bought one named Dookie. For her 18th birthday, the Queen was given a corgi named Susan — from whom numerous successive puppies were bred.

Today, the Queen has three Pembroke Welsh corgis, Monty, Willow and Holly, who travel with her everywhere. She also has three corgi/dachshund mixes named Cider, Candy and Vulcan. These “dorgis” resulted from one of her corgis mating with Princess Margaret’s dachshund.

When she lives at Buckingham Palace the corgis and dorgis sleep in raised wicker baskets in a special boot room near the royal apartments, where they “wander freely”. When the Queen is being fitted for a dress, she even carries a special magnet to pick up the pins to save the corgis pricking their paws.

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