If you own a poodle, you’re in good company. Victor Hugo had one, as did John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, Grace Kelly and Barbra Streisand.
Counter intuitively, so did that great British bulldog Sir Winston Churchill. He had two miniature brown ones, both called Rufus. He was devastated when Rufus I was killed by a car just after the Second World War.
He was held so high in his master’s estimation that the rest of the family was not allowed to start supper until the butler had served Rufus. A letter that came to light a couple of years ago revealed that Churchill was so affected by the loss of Rufus l that ‘I would rather not have a dog right now’.
Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Charles l’s nephew, took his white hunting poodle to war with him. Boye was a present from Lord Arundel, the English ambassador to Vienna, and diarist Eliot Warburton noted: ‘It is curious to observe this daring and restless man amusing himself by teaching a dog that discipline he himself could never learn.’ Boye went everywhere with the flamboyant Cavalier—the dog was suspected of being a spy and legend has it he caught bullets in his teeth—until someone forgot to tie him up during the Battle of Marston Moor and he was killed by a Roundhead.