Friday, June 22, 2018

British Class Signaling and Dog Ownership

"Etiquette expert" William Hanson writes about the sniffing pretensions and class distinctions of dog ownership in Britain:

As with humans, there is a social hierarchy when it comes to the dog world, too.

At the top of the social scale are Labradors, particularly black ones (yellow ones don't have the same cachet). Smart breeds also include Jack Russells, terriers, King Charles spaniels, Springer Spaniels, whippets and (of course) corgis. (It was The Queen's father, King George VI, who first developed a penchant for the breed.)

The uppers traditionally felt it was preferable to have a 'working' dog (even if it doesn't actually 'work') so maximum social brownie points if your dog is actually used for shoots and hunts.

The Dalmatians, English setter, golden retriever, Weimaraner and rottweiler breeds place your pet (and you) as upper middle class, whereas rougher haired terriers, great danes, wolfhounds, red setters and Cocker Spaniels are more mainstream middle class - largely due to the slightly pretty, more cuddly appearance and temperament.

The lower middle class usually hate all dogs - so have none - on account of the smell.

New money (i.e. celebrities and folk who used to be termed barrow boys) will usually have small, low-maintenance dogs like Yorkshire terriers, poodles, West Highland terriers and chihuahuas and see them more as accessories rather than practically, like the upper classes and gentry.

Meghan Markle's beagle, Guy, will be a good and appropriate addition to the canine cognoscenti when she marries into the British royal family in May.

It is reported that her other dog, a Lab-shepherd mix, will have to stay behind in the USA, for reasons that are unknown. (Perhaps as it's not pedigree?)

The upper classes will usually always prefer a pedigree specimen.

There are top drawer owners who have mongrels (to rhyme with 'dung') but they may outwardly lie in smart places and say that the dogs are lurchers.

Lower class households may have mongrels, too (but these rhyme with 'long').

For the record, both of Meghan Markle's dogs are rescues, and the larger older mix-breed (named Bogart) has health issues. Because of his age and health, Ms. Markle opted to leave Bogart in Canada with a friend and care giver that the dog has known his entire life. 

The lesson to learnThe Daily Mail is in the business of selling stories, not telling the whole and complicated truth.  Why let facts get in the way?

1 comment:

geonni banner said...

Where are the Border Collies?