Poodle History Project: Army dogs

Army dogs

Prince Rupert of the Rhine and Boy

Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1619-1682), nephew of the ill-fated Charles I of England, was taken prisoner at the Battle of Lemgo in 1638 and confined at Lintz until 1641. During this hiatus, Lord Arundell, English ambassador to Vienna, gave him a white Poodle, Boy, '"of a breede so famous that the Grand Turk gave it in particular injunction to his ambassador to obtain him a puppie thereof,"' (Eliot Warburton, Memoires of Prince Rupert and the Cavaliers, London: 1849, 3 vols, vol. 1, p. 99). Warburton adds dryly: "It is curious to observe this daring and restless man amusing himself by teaching a dog that discipline he himself could never learn."

This Poodle was Prince Rupert's constant companion until the dog's death at the Battle of Marston Moor (2 July 1644). Boy was the subject of Roundhead satire:

  • Observations vpon Prince Ruperts White Dog, called Boy...(1643 corrected to 2 February 1642) Early English Books, 1641-1700 (University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI), 266 E245 #33;
  • A Dialogue or, Rather a Parley betweene Prince Ruperts Dogge whose name is Pvddle, and Tobies Dog whose name is Pepper...(1643 corrected to 3 February 1642) Ibid. 266 E246 #23;
  • The Parliaments vnspotted-bitch: In Answer to Prince Roberts Dog called Boy, And his Malignant She-Monkey.(1643 corrected to 8 March, 1642) Ibid. 243 E92 #13;
  • A Dogs Elegy, or Rvpert's Tears, for the late Defeat...at Marston Moore...Where his beloved Dog, named Boy, was killed by a Valiant Souldier...17 July 1644, Ibid. 228 E3 #17.

  • Also see: woodcut from Roundhead pamphlet The Bloody Prince...22 April 1643, republished in Maurice Ashley, The English Civil War (London: Thames & Hudson, 1974) p. 78: Boy runs beside Prince Rupert's horse (see head-piece, above.) NB: Cover illustrations of pamphlets Observations and A Dialogue are reprinted in Mackey J. Irick, The New Poodle, 6th edition (NY: Howell, 1986), pp. 18 and 20 respectively.

    Finally: "Dutch engraving of Cromwell's dissolution of the Rump of the Long Parliament (Radio Times Hulton Picture Library)." It is April 1643 and has Cromwell saying "Be gone you rogues You have sat long enough" while his small Poodle in continental clip runs "growling" at the departing parliamentarians. Perhaps the Dutch got Prince Rupert's Poodle Boye mixed up with Cromwell? Perhaps Cromwell himself owned a Poodle? Antonia Fraser, Cromwell--Our Chief of Men (London: Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1973) ISBN 029776556 6, between pp. 412 and 413.

    Unfortunately, although Prince Rupert was a popular subject for portraits as a result of his combination of noble birth and military heroism, and although at that time dogs were often painted with their noble masters, there is no indication that he was ever painted with his Poodle. Incidentally, Boy was reputed (in Roundhead circles) to know many tricks (at "Charles", he jumped for joy); he slept in Prince Rupert's bed, had more haircuts than his master, sat in the king's chair, played with his children, enjoyed a sung Mass (headed straight for the altar), lay with his paw on young Prince Charles' foot, and Charles I fed him choice morsels of roast beef and breast of capon from the table. Among more sinister accusations: he could go invisible (that's how he spied), and delved into necromancy.

    Sadly, the master was not worthy of his dog. Although Boy was killed by a Roundhead soldier at Marston Moor, the primary reason for his death was that somebody fecklessly forgot to tie him up (Anne Osborne, "Rupert of the Rhine, Anecdotes in the life of Prince Rupert--dog lover", Tail-Wagger Magazine, June 1950, p. 146; however this detail is unreferenced, and, judging from handling of regimental mascots, and dogs belonging to individuals in the armies during the Napoleonic Wars, it may have been customary to allow such dogs their freedom).

    If Prince Rupert forgot to tie up his dog, it's less surprising that he arrived late at the Battle of Nasby (14 June 1645) because he had stopped on the way to eat ice cream. Illustration at left: the death of Boy, from A Dogs Elegy; note the support the soldier is using for his gun (for more about firearms in the mid-17th century, see Duck dogs -- guns).

    Note: Beatty, John Louis (1922-1975) and Patricia Beatty, Witch Dog (NY: Morrow, 1968), 254 p. geneal. table, map. 22 cm (juvenile fiction). However good an introduction to the English Civil War this book may give a juvenile reader, the character of Boy is developed in an unlikely direction for any dog, let alone a clever Poodle who became a favorite with Charles I and his children. In case the forgiving thought springs to your mind that breed-specific temperament of the Poodle has entirely changed in 350 years, Markham's description of the Water Dog (1621) is very recognizable to today's Poodle-lovers. Sources used by the authors may be useful to a Poodle-fancier setting forth on an independent study of Boy: Alfred H. Burne and Peter Young, The Great Civil War, 1642-1646 (1959); Clennel Wilkinson, Prince Rupert the Cavalier (1934); Eva Scott, Rupert, Prince Palatine (1900); Eliot Warburton, Memoirs of Prince Rupert and the Cavaliers, Including Their Private Correspondence, 3 vols (from which we quote, above); the Earl of Clarendon, History of the Rebellion. Witch Dog contains a useful note (p. 252) on Thomas Howard, second Earl of Arundel ("a plain, quiet man, but a great lover of art, as well as an extremely well educated person"), who gave Boy to the imprisoned prince. In the novel, Boy's breeder is a Baron Von Furstenberg; it's not evident whether this is fiction or based on primary documentation. So...if you're ever in Vienna, and into local history, please check!

    Mascots during the Napoleonic Wars

    Lydia Hopkins, in The Complete Poodle, 3rd edition (NY: Howell, 1962), pp. 281-3, mentions Poodles who accompanied their masters during the Napoleonic Wars, for example, that Emperor Napoleon recollected in his memoirs the faithfulness of a Poodle who died at the battle of Marengo, licking the face of his fallen master, a Grenadier. (We infer from a reference in Estelle Ross, The Book of Noble Dogs, New York: Century, 1922, p. 283, that this recollection is contained in Napoleon I, Memorial de St. Hélène).

    Barbuche "was one of three inseparable friends that fought in the Italian campaign. He was the pet of Petit Jean, a waif who had been lost, and of old Sergeant Fougasse, who took them both under his protection." Petit Jean became a drummer boy; he died in battle; Barbuche lost a front leg defending his dying master; after the war, Fougasse earned his living through Barbuche's tricks; through this, met Petit Jean's mother and was able to tell his story. (Hopkins, pp. 282-3.)

    Buff. See "Gordon's Poodle Visuals" for a reference to the portrait by Ward of Buff, who accompanied his master, Lt. Col. Chestmaster, during the Peninsula War.

    Magrita. "Magrita, a humanitarian dog that served with Zouaves of the Guard, carried in a sack hung around his neck bandages which he offered as first aid to the wounded." Alice Lang Rogers, Poodles in Particular (NY: Howell, 1967, p. 31.

    Moffino was separated from his master in the confusion at Berezina, but, having followed the trail of the army for many thousands of miles, reunited himself a year later at Milan: "alors qu'il se remettait de ses blessures...il eut lui aussi la surprise d'ouvrir un jour sa porte sur un fantôme de caniche et d'y reconnaître son Moffino. L'homme et le chien à se soigner et vécurent encore côte à côte de nombreuses années." Philippe de Wailly, Les Caniches (Paris: Solar, 1988), new edition; first published in 1972; p. 10. In a slightly different version of the story, Moffino, whose companion-in-arms, an Italian corporal, was supposed to have been lost while crossing the Berezina River, travelled from Russia to Italy to find him; when he reached Milan, he was barely recognized by the Corporal: Paul-Marc Henry, Poodlestan: A Poodle's Eye View of History (NY: Reynal, 1965), pp. 37.

    Mohiloff. "Napoleon was not so secure on the throne of France that he did not dread royalists' plots. For suspected conspiracy in one the Duc d'Enghein fell under his ban, and was arrested at Metz. Bidden to prepare for a long journey, he requested that two of his friends should accompany him, which was refused; but his captors grudgingly permitted his poodle, Mohiloff, a present from the king of Sweden, to be with him..." Ross, p. 96, refers to: H. Welsingher, Le Duc d'Enghein. The Duc d'Enghein was transported in secrecy to the fortress of Vincennes; was shot at dawn without judgement or warning (an act strongly condemned by Tallyrand); Mohiloff insisted on staying with his master until the last moment; had to be forcibly removed from his grave; was adopted by the commander of the fortress; after the Poodle's death, he was stuffed and placed under a glass globe. Henry, pp. 40-1.

    Moustache. "Moustache, a black poodle [born in Normandy in 1799, Der Deutsche Pudel (Munich: The German Poodle Clubs, 1907), summary/translation by HB, 8/'97], the pet of a regiment of French grenadiers, took an active part in the Austrian campaign during the Napoleonic wars. He was present at Marengo and is credited with having detected an Austrian spy and saving a detachment of his company from a surprise attack by the enemy [de Wally states, p. 10, that this latter event occured at Aboukir]. His crowning achievement was at Austerlitz. A young ensign, bearing the regimental colours, mortally wounded and surrounded by the enemy, with a dying effort attempted to save the flag by wrapping it round his body. Moustache went to the rescue; he could do nothing for the young soldier but attempt to recover what he had given his life to save. Dexterously with his teeth and paws he unwound the standard, and, carrying it in his mouth, bore it back in triumph to his own lines. [Philippe de Wailly, a veterinarian, simply states that the dog dashed under fire to the corpse of the unfortunate flagbearer and retrieved the flag.] For this he was awarded a medal for gallantry, and his name was placed on the regimental books as a full-fledged soldier drawing rations and pay. [Henry, pp. 33-4, states that he was entitled to wear a tri-colour collar with a silver medal, engraved on one side: "Moustache, A French dog, a brave fighter entitled to respect," and on the other: "At the Battle of Austerlitz, he had his leg broken while saving the flag of his regiment," and that he was presented to the Emperor Napoleon, for whom he performed varous tricks, including his most famous one, lifting his leg at the mention of the Emperor's enemies.] He followed his battalion when it was ordered to the Peninsula, and at the seige of Badajoz a cannon ball laid him low. His comrades buried him where he fell and put up a stone to his memory with but one word of tribute: "'Brave' Moustache." Ross, pp. 92-3; incidentally, Ross also presents an enjoyable account of Boy (pp. 57-63; illus. opposite p. 64). Hopkins states that Moustache was decorated by Le Maréchal Jean Lannes (1769-1809) on the eve of the Battle of Austerlitz, by which she may mean the evening after the battle. Der Deutsche Pudel: "He was interred...with collar and medal under a modest stone with the simple words 'Ci gît le brave Moustache.' Unfortunately the Spaniards destroyed the stone after the war and on order of the Inquisition the brave dog's bones were burned." For an illustration of this event dating from the 1860s (?), see: Hopkins, p. 280 (de Wally credits a painting of the event to Job). See also Mad. Jeancourt-Galignani, Les Caniches et leur Elevage (Paris: 1958; originally published in 1937), p. 186. See: J. Jupin, Les Chiens Militaires dans l'Armee Francaise (Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1887). 175 pp. (See War Dogs Bibliography; for a review of this book, see "The Use of Dogs in War: A Frenchman's Notion of them as Soldiers," The New York Times, 7 April 1889, p. 17.) Here's Moustache's story retold in a 19th century French-language reader: Alain Auguste Victor de Fivas, The Classic French Reader: For the Advanced Students, or Beauties of the French Writers, Ancient and Modern (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1864), pp. 169-173, on line at Google Book Search.

    Mouton. "Sergeant Bourgogne met another sergeant of his regiment carrying the regimental dog, Mouton, on his back, since the unfortunate creature had all four legs frozen and could not walk. Mouton was a poodle they had picked up in Spain in 1808, and had followed the regiment to Germany the following year, been in battle at Essling and Wagram, then accompanied it back to Spain in 1810. It had set off with the regiment for Russia in the spring of 1812, but got lost in Saxony. It had subsequently recognized an echelon of the regiment by the uniform, and followed it all the way to Moscow." Adam Zamoyski, Moscow, 1812 (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), p. 490. The source for the story is: Adrien Bourgogne, Mémoires du Sergeant Bourgogne, 1812-1813, publiées d'apres le manuscrpt original par Paul Cottin et Maurice Henault (Paris: 1901).

    Muchuch. "After the battle of Talavera [27-28 July 1809], General Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, was told of a dog which lay on the grave of a Spanish officer and refused food. He desired the dog to be brought to his quarters, but the servant returned without him, and said the dog would not allow him to come near. General Graham then ordered him to take as many soldiers as were necessary to secure and bring him away. After a time, the dog was sent to Scotland, to his friend Graham of Fintry (the injudicious patron of Burns), by one of whose family he was given to the father of my informant, who resided in Edinburgh. At that house he remained some years -- the delight of all. He was a large poodle, marked with brown, and had had part of one of his ears shot off in battle. In those days the guns from the Castle announced many victories, and when they were fired Muchuch got into a state of great excitement; the house-door was opened, and he ran direct to the Castle and straight to the battery among the men. After a while he was regularly expected on such occasions, and welcomed and made much of by the soldiers. Frequently he walked out with the governess and young ladies: one morning, in the King's Park, he was seized with asthma, a soldier kindly assisted them to carry him to a stream of water and then to Holyrood. Having heard his history he asked leave to acquaint the guard at the Palace -- the soldiers turned out and paid all respect to the old hero.

    "His friends had reluctantly to part with him, finding that he had become jealous of the youngest member of the family, who was a great favourite, and it being feared he might do her some serious injury. Muchuch ended his days peacefully, at Fintry, acting turkey-herd -- driving his charge afield in the morning, and bringing the flock home every evening." George Richard Jesse, Researches into the History of the British Dog (London: 1866 [2 vols]) vol. 1, pp. 118-119. For the full text on line, see: Researches....

    Sancho. William Youatt, in The Dog (London: 1845), p. 49, mentions Sancho, rescued from the battlefield at Salamanca (22 July 1812) by the Marquis of Worcester (Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset, 1792-1853, Marquis of Worcester future 7th Duke of Beaufort to which title he acceded in 1835). Youatt observed that Sancho's portrait was "familiar to many of our readers" and also mentions another Poodle who died heroically defending the body of his master after the battle of Castella.

    In relation to the "familiar" portrait, perhaps this is that print mentioned by Hopkins "showing him to have been a handsome large white dog," (p. 283): 'A view taken in Hyde Park' (Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort), 1817., which shows "Lord Worcester with his Poodle, Sancho, whom he adopted at the battle of Salamanca in 1812. This faithful Poodle had been found lying on the grave of his master, a Lieutenant in the defeated French army. This story of devotion proved to be extremely popular and another print was issued showing the dog lying upon his master's grave." Eileen Geeson, The Complete Standard Poodle (NY: Howell, 1998), p. 13.

    Or, Youatt's "familiar" portrait may be "Sancho. The Property of the Marchioness of Worcester, taken at the Battle of Salamanca by the Marquis, from the Grave of its Master a French Officer, where it was found exhausted & nearly starved to death, & was with much difficulty forced away from becoming a sacrifice to its Fidelity. Engraved from a Picture by H.B. Chalon, Painted for H.R.H. the Princess Charlotte of Wales [Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales, 1796-1817]." (Please note the correction to Henry, p. 34.)

    Thoutou was the mascot of a regiment of Zouaves; the dog captured a number of spies (and was once upon a time smuggled in a drum). (Hopkins, p. 282.)

    Leo (1819)

    "The fate [1 May 1819] of poor Acton was particularly melancholy, and so, in its proportion, was that of his favorite poodle dog, Leo. This fine animal had been for years his most attached and faithful companion. Leo had been sheared and trimmed up into the shape and appearance of a most ferocious Lion, but this was only in outward resemblance; for Leo had a kind and playful spirit. He possessed wonderful instinct and sagacity, and performed many amusing pranks and tricks, such as fetching anything from his master's room which he desired him to bring. His forte, however, was in aquatic displays, particularly in diving, or leaping overboard, and then scrambling up again by a rope thrown over the side. Leo was the constant attendant on his master, on all occasions of bathing. Acton had been an out-picquet on the night preceding the surprise, and, on returning, had remained to bathe. While enjoying this luxury, after the fatigue of the night, being helpless and defenceless, the enemy came rapidly on, escape was impossible--and these cruel agents of oppression bayoneted him in cold blood. His faithful Leo made a vigorous attack on the barbarous miscreants, and likewise full, covered with wounds, in the vain endeavour to defend his master." The Court Journal: Court Circular & Fashionable Gasette, from January to December 1835 (London), p. 469 (see: Google books). Acton was part of a piratical expedition to Porto Bello in Panama in 1819 headed up by the "Cacique of Poyais" aka the adventurer Sir Gregor M'Gregor (see Google books; The Edinburgh magazine, July-December 1819, p. 71).

    Poodles in WWII

    Thanks to the author, who very generously contributed this to the Poodle History Project, we have attached the following article: "Poodles in WW II" by Suzanne Carter Isaacson.

    For navy dogs, see Ships' dogs...

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