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Happy Victoria Day

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Published on: May 20, 2016

Happy Victoria Day

She was history's longest-reigning female monarch (until she was recently surpassed by Queen Elizabeth II) and she lends her name to the unofficial start of a Canadian summer, but did you know that Queen Victoria was a pet lover? In recognition of Victoria Day (Monday, May 23), here are some interesting facts about the Queen and her pets:

  • Victoria frequently donated money to animal charities and was a patron of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), giving the organization permission to add an 'R' (for 'Royal') to their name in 1840.

  • Many of her dogs have been immortalized in paintings, statues and other works of art all over the world. The Queen commissioned a number of portraits of her pets, which was unusual at the time and led to an increase in the popularity of dog art. Previously, dogs had mainly appeared in paintings in a sporting context. 

  • Victoria loved pomeranians, at one point owning 35 of them! She was an avid pomeranian breeder, and thanks in part to her enthusiasm for smaller pomeranians -- which included importing smaller examples of the breed from elsewhere in Europe -- the average size of the breed was reduced by 50% during her lifetime. On her deathbed in 1901, a favourite pomeranian, Turi, remained by her side.

  • Although dogs were clearly her passion, the Queen's menagerie of pets also included ponies, goats, a donkey, a parrot and more.
Happy Victoria Day!