Happy Victoria Day!

Or should I say, happy 2-4 day? Or maybe happy barbeque day?  Either way, happy day off to all my Canadian friends! I like to think Queen Victoria would have been honoured to know her reign is celebrated every year with beer and burgers.

Her Majesty was also well-known for her love of dogs and her patronage of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). She was one of the first to take in collie dogs as pets. Previously they were treated purely as shepherd’s working dogs and were never seen inside fine aristocratic homes. Queen Victoria developed a fondness for the working dogs while spending time on her estate in Balmoral. It was her love of the collie that eventually moved the breed into a position of prominence in the show ring.

 However, the dogs Queen Victoria admired so much do not resemble the collies we see at Westminster or Crufts. Though her collies were definitely pets, she primarily encouraged those who promoted the dogs as working breeds.

One of her favourites was Sharp, seen in the photograph on the left. To me he looks more like a cross between a labrador retriever and a border collie, than the collies I am familiar with in 2012. I imagine it was due to her influence that the breed standard changed as much as it did in the last 150 years. Without Queen Victoria, border collies may not have nearly as many championship titles in conformation, agility, and other dog events as they do today.

Sharp lived for fifteen years. After his passing, a statue was erected in his memory in the queen’s garden at Windsor Home Park in Berkshire. As a result Sharp will forever be known as the “favourite and faithful Collie of Queen Victoria.” If only all dogs could be so honoured.

It is believe that in old age, Queen Victoria derived great consolation from mementoes of the past, including pictures and sculptures of her favourite animals. A silver statue of Sharp even decorated her dining room table. She wrote often of her beloved pets in her diary, noting their quirks and personalities. In some small form, she was almost dog blogger too.

Though we may not have much in common with the long-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, I think we can all relate to her close boned she had with her dogs. So as I sip from my glass this May Long weekend, I also raise it in memory of Queen Victoria and Sharp, a relationship that shall live on in history.

15 thoughts on “Happy Victoria Day!

  1. Hi Kristine, from the rainy, cloudy and damp until this Thursday or so West Coast, happy Victoria Day. We hope that your ankle held up. You did well I’m sure. Thanks to your efforts and your fellow participants, some animals will be better off.


  2. The shepherd dogs of Victoria’s time seem so superior to the overbred show dogs of today. Most of them have never seen a sheep and would have no idea what to do as a working dog.
    I’m a fan of Victoria, think I’ll just take the day off too. 🙂


  3. I saw Victoria Day on my calendar this morning and wondered if it was really a holiday to commemorate Queen Victoria. I learn something new every day.

    Although some terrible things were done to defend her empire, I think Victoria was an amazing monarch. I can’t imagine being born to a job and having to do it with no choice. If she hadn’t been royal, she probably would have retired upon Albert’s death and enjoyed playing with her dogs. But she kept on for decades afterward.

    I’d lift my glass to her and eat a veggie burger in celebration of her. 🙂

    BTW, congratulations on being a BlogPaws finalist for best writing. Well deserved! Are you sure you can’t make it to Salt Lake City? You might have a prize to pick up.


  4. I have to say, when we were in England, we saw a number of the working dogs, border collie mixes, I’m sure, but to me, more border collie than the “pure bred” ones, as they were all obviously working dogs. (Not that I don’t love love love BCs, but I even more love to see dogs doing what they were made to do.)


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  6. Happy Victoria Day! Also, congratulations on finishing your race despite a bum ankle. You’re legend!

    I didn’t know that about the Queen. We have a lovely old building in Sydney called QVB (Queen Vuctoria Building). It’s a shopping centre now but still pretty and very much a meeting place. Just outside one of the entrances is a wishing well with a littledog that talks. I wonder if it’s Sharp! Though it looks more like Jenny from Maurice Sendak’s Higglety Pigglety Pop. I shall have to suss it out now 🙂

    Have a great day! x


  7. You always teach me so much! Happy Victoria Day!
    And congrats on being a BlogPaw finalist for best blog wrinting! , you totally deserve this!


  8. Awesome! I love to see historical figures that are as dog crazy as we are 🙂 Hope you had a great holiday – how was your race? I hope your ankle is feeling better! And HUGE CONGRATS for being nominated for best blog writing – very much deserved!!!


  9. Happy Victoria Day! I love historical tales of people and dogs. I can imagine how many times a queen would need a canine companion to share secrets with, or maybe just enjoy being a woman with her dog for a few minutes!


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  11. I love that statue of Sharp, I wish I could visit it and rub his nose. That was great to learn about Queen Victoria and her dogs. Thanks! And Happy Victoria day!


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