After 70 years on the British throne, Queen Elizabeth II‘s reign will be marked with a historic Platinum Jubilee — and in her time as monarch, she has made no secret of her love for the waddling, fluffy tufts of fuzz known as corgis.
Or, alternatively, if you prefer the affectionate pet name of the fans online, “bread loaves.”
They may not be equal to Beatlemania or on par with the Cool Britannia pop culture wave of the 1990s, but one thing is clear: Pembroke Welsh corgis, furry, loaf-like back ends and all, are having a moment.
As the United Kingdom prepares to mark the Jubilee, search traffic for all things related to the Queen’s favourite breed and its most social media-famous owner are spiking to the highest levels in years, while fans take to the streets in Jubilee-related corgi cafes and parties in the British capital.
Searches for “corgis” and “Queen’s corgis” appear to be heading for all-time highs in the United Kingdom, according to Google Trends data, while searches for “corgi puppies” appear to have just hit their highest point in five years.
There’s a corgi trail treasure hunt in the streets around Buckingham Palace, with corgi statues as long as two metres hidden in public parks and storefronts, each one decorated by a different artist and named after one of the Queen’s own dogs.
Twitter has a special crowned corgi emoji in place for any of the Platinum Jubilee-related hashtags, while one of the U.K.’s major grocers is selling a specialty chocolate Swiss roll corgi cake to celebrate the occasion, known as Clarence the Corgi.
But it was just a few years ago that the breed was deemed “vulnerable” by the Kennel Club, with just three puppy registrations recorded in the U.K. capital in 2011.
That was one year before the 2012 London Olympics, when the Queen and her corgis make a surprise cameo appearance on video with Daniel Craig for the Opening Ceremony.
Skip forward to the launch of Netflix’s The Crown in 2016 — and the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 that left urbanites scrambling for companionship and entertainment during the months of ensuing lockdowns — and the breed’s popularity appears to be at a new high.
Corgis are now among London’s top 20 most popular dog breeds for the first time, with the Kennel Club pegging the increase at “almost 200 per cent, tripling the increase seen across the rest of the UK.”
“As a nation of dog lovers, Corgis certainly have a special place in Britain’s heart, and in this, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, the breed seems to be enjoying a resurgence in popularity after a worrying period of decline,” said Bill Lambert, spokesperson for the Kennel Club, in a statement.
“When Netflix series The Crown, featuring the Queen and her dogs, first aired on TV the breed’s profile started to rise and continuing with Corgis appearing increasingly in popular culture, like the hit Netflix show Bridgerton and in trend-driven videos on TikTok.”
The breed has become, as the Kennel Club puts it, “iconic,” with popularity growing across the pond in Canada as well.
Corgi owners gathered over the weekend in a parade down the pedestrian lane of Ottawa’s Sparks Street, just steps from Parliament Hill, for a procession of the regal pups celebrating the Platinum Jubilee.
But there is a risk in the quick rise of the corgi’s popularity, one expert warned.
‘Backyard breeding’ of corgis can cause problems: expert
Breeder Kristen Francis says the popularity can come with “detrimental” consequences if people aren’t careful in choosing their pets.
“It all has to do with social media,” Francis said, pointing to the growth of corgis in movies and commercials on television as well.
Francis has owned Pembroke Welsh corgis, the breed loved by the Queen, for 52 years. She now breeds and shows them through her kennel, Stonecroft Corgis.
She says she has never seen a surge in corgi popularity as it has over the past five years.
“Every other commercial you see, ‘Oh, there’s another corgi,’ which to us longtime breeders, we’re not all that happy about it,” she said. “You have all these, for lack of a better word, backyard breeders jumping on the bandwagon and thinking they’re going to become millionaires by selling a load of puppies.”
Francis said the risks come in the form of health problems for the dog, particularly those to do with bleeding disorders, hip problems and eye problems like degenerative myopathy.
She said backyard breeding can also cause temperament problems, leading to “nasty” personalities.
“Corgis are not nasty,” she said. “They’re sweet… they’re like a big dog in a little package.”
Global News’ Amanda Connolly is in London for the entirety of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Come back to GlobalNews.ca for the latest coverage.
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