Queen Elizabeth II is 94 years old and looking like she’s going to make a 100. She likes dogs particularly corgis and has owned 30 in her lifetime all of whom are believed to have been descended from Susan, a corgi given to the monarchy as a gift on her 18th birthday.
It’s now reported in the press that Vulcan, a dorgi, has died of old age. Dorgis are a cross between a Dachshund and a corgi. They are loyal, friendly and intelligent and inherit the best qualities of both these breeds. The latest death leaves her Majesty with one dog, Candy, who is is a another dorgi. Elizabeth II has owned at least one corgi at any given time between the years 1933 and 2018. She has also been the human guardian (with her extensive staff) of 5 cocker spaniels and, in all, four dorgis.
The Queen and her corgis are very well known because they are so often seen together. When she welcomed the New Zealand rugby union team, a couple of her dogs preceded her into the reception room. They are probably very good icebreakers and add a bit levity to what might be an overbearing or slightly nerve racking occasion.
On several occasions the Queen and her staff have been injured by corgis. Susan, bit the palace’s clock winder, Leonard Hubbard, in 1954 after he entered the nursery at the Royal Lodge, Windsor. A policeman was bitten by one of the Queen Mother’s corgis while on guard duty in London. It looks as though the Queen inherited her love of corgis from her mother.
At the Queen’s holiday residence in Scotland, Balmoral, one of the corgis bit a postman. A sign was put up, “Beware of the Dog”. The dogs had a habit of nipping the Royal family and staff and so an animal behaviourist and psychiatrist was brought in to see whether they could cure them of the habit.
Corgis are mildly aggressive by nature and they are trained to nip at the heels of cattle and other animals to herd them. This is not an aggressive action when it is delivered to people because it’s in their DNA. They will deliver this nip to children as well. It can appear as if they are biting in an act of aggression. The habit can be trained out using positive reinforcement but not with punishment as it would only teach a dog to be more aggressive.
When I was in my 20s I was nipped by a pain-in-the-bum corgi while walking home from the railway station!