Royal Canines: Dogs in Historical Courts and Palaces

Royal Court Dog Tales

Welcome to a fascinating journey through the history of royal courts and palaces, where dogs have reigned as cherished companions for centuries. From ancient Egypt to medieval Europe and beyond, these loyal and esteemed canines have left indelible pawprints in the annals of royal history. Join us as we uncover the captivating tales of these regal dogs and their enduring bond with royalty.

Key Takeaways:

  • Royal courts and palaces have long been home to beloved dogs throughout history.
  • Ancient Egypt revered the elegant and swift Saluki as the “Royal Dog of Egypt.”
  • The Shih Tzu was highly cherished as the “holy pet of the palace” in China.
  • The King Charles Spaniel has been a favored companion of kings and queens for centuries.
  • Dogs like Poodles, Pugs, Bichon Frises, Pekingese, Greyhounds, and Pembroke Welsh Corgis have all held a special place in royal households.

The Royal Dogs of Ancient Egypt: The Saluki

Ancient Egypt has a rich history of royal dogs, and one breed that stands out is the majestic Saluki. These dogs were highly regarded by Egyptian royalty for their grace, beauty, stamina, and incredible speed. Depicted in engravings found in tombs dating back over 2000 years, the Saluki was often seen accompanying pharaohs on hunting expeditions. There is even evidence of Tutankhamen, the famous Egyptian ruler, enjoying the company of his beloved Salukis while out hunting.

The Saluki breed holds a special place in history as one of the oldest living dog breeds. Their strong association with ancient Egyptian royalty is a testament to their regal nature and the admiration they garnered from the ruling elite. The Saluki’s unique appearance and outstanding hunting abilities made them highly prized companions in the palaces and courts of ancient Egypt.

These noble dogs were not only beloved companions but also symbols of power and status within the royal courts. Their sleek bodies, long legs, and elegant presence made them the perfect hunting partners for pharaohs and the nobility. The Saluki truly embodied the grace and majesty of Egyptian royalty.

The Saluki in Modern Times

Although the Saluki has ancient roots, its influence has spread far beyond the palaces of ancient Egypt. The breed was introduced to Europe during the crusades and eventually made its way to America in the 20th century. Today, Salukis continue to fascinate dog enthusiasts with their graceful appearance and noble character. They are cherished as family pets and admired for their athleticism in various dog sports.

The legacy of the Saluki as a royal dog of ancient Egypt lives on, and these magnificent canines continue to capture the hearts of dog lovers around the world. Their history as companions to pharaohs and their enduring elegance make them a breed worth celebrating and honoring.

Royal Dogs of Ancient Egypt - Saluki Image

Saluki Breed Characteristics

Temperament Size Coat Lifespan Exercise Needs
Graceful, Reserved, Gentle Medium to Large Short and Smooth 12-14 years Moderate

The Regal Shih Tzu: The Holy Pet of the Palace

The shih tzu is a breed with a long and fascinating history, deeply intertwined with Chinese royalty. These regal dogs were highly revered for their lion-like features, as it was believed that Buddha himself rode on the back of a lion. In fact, during the Ming and Manchu dynasties, owning a shih tzu outside the imperial court was punishable by death.

It was Empress Tzu Hsi’s breeding program in the late 19th century that played a crucial role in shaping the modern-day shih tzu. Empress Tzu Hsi, also known as the Empress Dowager Cixi, was a powerful figure in Chinese history, and she took a particular interest in these magnificent dogs. Through careful breeding, she refined the breed to its current standard, and many of the offspring were given as gifts to European nobility.

The shih tzu’s popularity continued to grow, eventually making its way to the United States in the 1930s. Today, they are a popular choice with celebrities and dog lovers alike. Known for their luxurious, flowing coats and friendly personalities, the shih tzu has become a beloved companion cherished for its regal heritage.

“The shih tzu is the embodiment of grace, beauty, and royal history. Its presence in the imperial court was a symbol of power and prestige.”

Characteristics Description
Physical Appearance The shih tzu is a small, sturdy dog with a long, flowing coat. Their distinctive facial features include a flat face, large round eyes, and a short muzzle. They have a stocky body and a tail that curves over their back.
Temperament Shih tzus are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities. They are playful, affectionate, and social dogs that get along well with both humans and other pets. They thrive in a loving and nurturing environment.
Grooming Needs The shih tzu’s long coat requires regular grooming to keep it clean and tangle-free. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent matting, and regular baths, ear cleaning, and nail trimming are essential for their overall well-being.

Regal Shih Tzu

  • The shih tzu is a breed with a royal history, treasured by Chinese emperors as the “holy pet of the palace.”
  • Empress Tzu Hsi’s breeding program in the late 19th century refined the breed to its current standard and introduced it to European nobility.
  • Today, the shih tzu continues to be a popular choice for dog lovers worldwide, cherished for its regal heritage and friendly nature.

Discover the elegance and majesty of the shih tzu, a dog that embodies the grandeur of Chinese royal history. Their lion-like appearance and affectionate nature make them the perfect companions for those seeking a regal and loyal pet.

The King Charles Spaniel: A Companion Fit for Royalty

King Charles Spaniel

If you’re looking for a loyal and regal companion, look no further than the King Charles Spaniel, also known as the English Toy Spaniel. This breed has a long-standing association with royalty and has been cherished by kings and queens for centuries.

The King Charles Spaniel’s history dates back to the reign of the Tudors, where they were kept as lapdogs by the likes of Henry VIII and his daughters. Their small size and affectionate nature made them perfect comfort dogs in medieval castles, providing companionship to royalty during their most vulnerable moments.

One of the most famous fans of the King Charles Spaniel was Charles II, who was often seen with his beloved canine companions. Their elegant appearance and sweet temperament endeared them to the king, and they became known as the ultimate companions for royalty.

Key Features Characteristics
Size Small
Temperament Gentle, Affectionate, Calm
Coat Type Long and Silky
Colors Black and Tan, Blenheim, Ruby, Tricolor

Today, the King Charles Spaniel continues to be a popular choice as a companion dog, known for their gentle and affectionate temperament. They are well-suited to apartment living and make great family pets. With their regal appearance and charming personality, it’s no wonder they have remained a favorite among both royalty and commoners alike.


Throughout history, aristocratic dogs have held a special place in the hearts of royalty. From the majestic saluki in ancient Egypt to the regal shih tzu in China, these palace dogs have captured the imagination of their royal owners and the people around them.

Each breed has its own fascinating story to tell. The saluki, with its grace and speed, was a favorite of Ancient Egyptian rulers, often depicted hunting alongside pharaohs in ancient tombs. The shih tzu, revered for its lion-like features, was considered the holy pet of the palace in China and was even protected by severe punishments for ownership outside the imperial court.

The King Charles spaniel, known for its gentle companionship, has been a trusted companion of kings and queens for centuries. From the Tudor era to modern royalty, these spaniels have provided comfort and love to their royal owners.

But it’s not just these breeds that have found favor with aristocracy. Poodles, pugs, bichon frises, pekingese, greyhounds, and Pembroke Welsh corgis have all graced the palaces and courts of royalty throughout history.

Whether it’s their elegance, loyalty, or simply their adorable presence, these palace dogs have left an indelible mark on the history of aristocracy, reminding us of the enduring bond between humans and their beloved canine companions.


Were dogs really popular pets of royalty in ancient times?

Yes, dogs have been cherished companions of royalty for thousands of years.

What dog breeds were favored by royalty in ancient Egypt?

The saluki was known as the “Royal Dog of Egypt” and was highly regarded for its grace and beauty.

Why were shih tzus revered by Chinese royalty?

Shih tzus were regarded as the “holy pet of the palace” in China and highly revered for their lion-like features.

Which dog breed was beloved by King Charles II?

The King Charles spaniel has been associated with kings and queens for centuries and was particularly beloved by Charles II.

Which dog breeds were popular in the French court?

Poodles were a popular choice in the French court and were known as the ultimate fashion accessory.

Are there any other dog breeds that were favored by royalty?

Yes, breeds like the pug, bichon frise, pekingese, greyhound, and Pembroke Welsh corgi have also been favored by royalty throughout history.

What is the history of the saluki breed?

The saluki is one of the oldest living dog breeds and was highly regarded by Ancient Egyptian royalty for its grace, beauty, stamina, and speed.

Why were shih tzus considered holy pets in China?

Shih tzus were highly revered in China due to their association with lion-like features and the belief that Buddha rode on the back of a lion.

Who owned King Charles spaniels throughout history?

King Charles spaniels have been associated with kings and queens throughout history, including Henry VIII, Charles II, Queen Victoria, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret.

What is the significance of dogs in royal history?

Dogs have been cherished companions of royals throughout history, bringing joy and companionship to their owners.

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