Poo­dle peo­ple

Country Life Every Week - - In The Garden -

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.

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