6 Dog Breeds Beloved by Royalty

From Pomeranians to Greyhounds, many pups have been preferred by the ruling elite throughout history. See why here!

Apr 8, 2024By Nikita Hillier
dog breeds beloved by royalty

We all love dogs, right? Big, small, smart, and silly. But among the many dog breeds, some were beloved by some very special people. Think kings and queens.

Throughout history, dogs have been cherished companions, offering loyalty, protection, companionship, and so much more to their friends in high places. In this article, we will explore six dog breeds that were particularly loved by royalty.

We will also examine their temperaments, unique characteristics, and lifestyles. Are you ready?

6. Pomeranians

close up pomeranian dog staring away from camera
Image Credit: 一凡 邓 on Unsplash

Ahh, Pomeranians. Cute little dogs with fluffy coats, super spirited personalities, and temperaments favored by royals, including Queen Victoria. Despite their size, these bright little dogs have a gorgeous charm about them. We can see why they were so deeply loved by royalty throughout time.

They only weigh a few pounds, but in saying that, they make up for it in personality and looks. They are renowned for their very extroverted temperaments because they're so lively and intelligent. This made them amazing companions for royals, who loved their entertainment and affection.

With a fearless disposition, they often served as alert dogs who loved to warn their owners of any potential threats or trespassing. They also lived lavish lifestyles, biding their time snoozing on windowsills or exploring palace grounds.

Fast forward to modern times, and Pomeranians are among the most popular dogs in the world, ranking 23 out of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) 201 registered breeds. While they have aristocratic origins, today, they’re known for being perfect apartment dogs.

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

brown and white cavalier king charles spaniel laying down
Image Credit: Geoff Oliver on Unsplash

The gorgeous, fluffy, and small Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has captured many hearts around the world, including those of royals.

These elegant, kind, and loving creatures have been popular since around the time of Queen Mary I, but it was a King that made them truly gain traction. King Charles II, who was King of Scotland from 1649 until 1651, absolutely loved these bold little canines. Some said that the monarch was more interested in raising dogs than running a nation! It’s from him that these dogs get their namesake.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is well known for its silky, feathered coats and expressive, large, dark eyes. It’s no surprise that royals loved these dogs, as their loyalty and companionship made them perfect lapdogs.

It wasn’t until the 19th and 20th centuries, when social attitudes around animals evolved, that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rose in popularity among everyday people. Today, the AKC ranks these small dogs 14 out of 201 registered breeds!

4. Greyhounds

white greyhound staring into camera
Image Credit: Juan Gomez on Unsplash

Hundreds of years ago, Greyhounds were symbols of elegance and prestige. They were handy dogs, happy to be used for both hunting and companionship. Being natural-born couch potatoes, Greyhounds adapted easily to their lavish lifestyles, participating in grand hunts and lounging beside thrones.

One royal lover of Greyhounds was Frederick the Great, who ruled Prussia (a Germanic state) in the mid-1700s. He was particularly fond of the smaller Italian Greyhound, a sensitive, shy breed that resembles its larger relatives. But make no mistake: these sleek little guys are known for their lightning-fast speed and agility.

With the outlaw of Greyhound racing in many parts of the world, these sighthounds are seeing a dip in their popularity. Once, it was easy to adopt an ex-greyhound racer from shelters and rescue organizations. Nowadays, you likely have to find yourself a reputable breeder if you want one of these skinny, independent dogs.

3. Bichon Frise

bichon frise dog laying in grass
Image Credit: Matt Briney on Unsplash

The Bichon Frise is a fluffy white dog known for its fun and bright demeanor. They were originally cherished companions in the world of French and Spanish monarchs.

These dogs were particularly favored by King Francis I (1494–1547) and King Henry III (1551–1589), both French kings. The Bichon Frise also stole the heart of King Philip II of Spain (1527–1598), when he was gifted one by none other than King Henry III.

In artwork, the Bichon Frise has appeared alongside many monarchs throughout history. Perhaps one of the most famous paintings was one of Federico II Gonzaga, the Duke of Mantua. The portrait by Titian hangs in the Museo del Prado in Spain.

But why were these dogs so adored? These dogs were known for their comical nature, earning the nickname “court jester.” Today, the AKC ranks the dog 47 out of 201 registered dogs.

2. Dachshunds

dachshund puppy standing in box
Image Credit: Erda Estremera on Unsplash

Dachshunds, loved for their long bodies, distinctive shape, and affectionate temperaments, were once very much favored by European royalty, including Emperor Napoleon III and Queen Victoria. Funnily enough, despite their tiny size, they were once bred for hunting.

During their “reign” in the 1800s, Dachshunds were adored for their loyalty and determination much beyond their size. With their independent yet loving temperament, they made perfect companions for royals, ideal for indoor living and outdoor adventures.

Dachshunds, like Corgis and Basset Hounds, have a congenital form of dwarfism, giving them their low-to-the-ground appearance. Yet, it’s this trait that has made the breed so beloved. They are among the 10 most popular dog breeds in the U.S.

1. Great Pyrenees

white great pyrenees puppy staring at camera
Image Credit: Idella Maeland on Unsplash

Today, these guardian dogs are known for their imposing size and thick, white double coats. Great Pyrenees were favored greatly by European monarchs, including Louis XIV of France. They were originally bred to guard sheep in the Pyrenees Mountains, where they fought off coyotes, wolves, and other threats to livestock. Great Pyrenees also became trusted guardians of royal estates.

Despite how big they are, they are very much considered gentle giants, forming strong bonds with their families. Their majestic presence made them symbols of prestige and power.

Nikita Hillier
By Nikita Hillier

Nikita is a huge animal lover who has grown up on a farm with many different animals, from dogs and cats to horses and cows! She has a lot of experience in the equine industry and is even in the process of studying for an internationally accredited Equine Sports Massage Certificate! In her spare time, she enjoys writing and spending time with her beloved animals!