Updated: May 26, 2019
A year or so ago, I was widely lambasted by certain folks when I said curly coated retrievers were often owned by royalty. The 'folks in the know' could hardly uncurl their tongues fast enough to lash out. Curlies were only owned by gamekeepers or poachers, they pontificated, using several exclamation points as if those, alone, were proof positive. After entering several more curly coated retrievers born in the 1800's into our wonderful new breed archive today, I sort of added up in my head how many royal families owned curly coats. I think I have my count of those 'royal' or landed gentry families who owned curlies up to about 25 now. I am going to be entering His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales curly coat into the archive later today. There are all those Lords--Chesterfield, Pomfret, Hill to name a few--and a couple of dukes and duchesses, a viscount or two, as well. Sure, some of the dogs were owned by royalty in name only and trained and bred by servants, gamekeepers, and kennel staff. There were lots of royal folks, however, who were very involved in planned breedings and sales of their dogs. Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, loved dogs, hunting and ladies. (Ahem...read elsewhere for the story of the ladies.) He probably inherited his love for dogs from his mother Queen Victoria, who was mad for dogs. Edward attended Crufts dog show many times, even exhibiting there, and was a royal patron of the Kennel Club. One of his favorite places was the royal country estate, Sandringham House, where wonderful kennels, places to romp and run, and birds, birds, birds were available for dogs. His curly coated retriever, Duchess IV, was listed as "red" in color when his highness registered her with The Kennel Club. There were a couple of other curly coats registered as "red" during the 1800's.