Written by Ella White
Companions, confidantes, and cuddle buddies: dogs are an irreplaceable force in our lives. The health and mental benefits of dog ownership are well documented and, as Oprah Winfrey said, "They're happy to see you no matter what and there's never any judgement." So it’s no surprise that some of the world’s most powerful women have canine partners that they couldn’t be without.
They show unconditional love, they boost our confidence, and they never question us: three qualities that female leaders surely need. So this International Women’s day, we’re celebrating powerful women and their dogs.
Queen Elizabeth II has bred over 30 dogs in her lifetime and at 95, she’s still welcoming new furry friends to the menagerie. She received her first ever corgi, Susan, for her 18th birthday in 1944. And though the Queen is most famous for her love of the corgi breed, she has recently taken on a four-year-old cocker spaniel nicknamed Lissy and also owns a ten-year-old dorgi named Candy.
Though Queen Elizabeth II is currently the most famous dog-loving monarch, her predecessor Queen Victoria was also partial to canine company. Her dogs included a collie called Noble and a dachshund called Boz, both of which she was photographed with throughout her reign.
Dogs are near-permanent residents of the White House, and the Kennedys embraced plenty of pets, from parakeets to hamsters, throughout their two and a half years in office. But Jackie’s main interest was dogs, of which she owned a Welsh terrier named Charlie, a poodle named Gaullie, an Irish cocker spaniel named Shannon, an Irish wolfhound called Wolf, a German shepherd named Clipper, and Pushinka who was the offspring of Strelka the Soviet space dog. Pushinka even went on to have four puppies with Charlie.
Iconic actress Elizabeth Taylor famously loved animals. She was once reported as saying “some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses” and she owned a number of Maltese terriers and a miniature poodle throughout her lifetime.
Another actress known for her love of animals was Audrey Hepburn, who she secured starring roles for in her films. As well as Pippin, her famous pet fawn, Hepburn owned a number of Yorkshire terriers – most notably Mr Famous who appeared in her 1957 movie Funny Face. She also owned a poodle that starred with her in Sabrina.
Dorothy Parker loved, owned, and wrote about animals all through her life. She was never without a pet dog and wrote fervently about her love for her pets. Parker even once rescued a stray dog that she found on Sixth Avenue in New York. She took it home, cleaned it up, and gifted it to wealthy friends. She also loved horses and once wrote, “Don’t let me take any horses home with me. It doesn’t matter so much about stray dogs and kittens, but elevator boys get awfully stuffy when you try to bring in a horse.”
So it seems that behind every successful woman is a much-loved pet dog cheering her on from the sidelines – or sometimes even alongside them on screen.