Dash (1830–1840) was a King Charles spaniel owned by Queen Victoria. Victoria’s biographer Elizabeth Longford, called him “the Queen’s closest childhood companion”, & in the words of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, he “was the first in a long line of beloved little dogs”.
He was given to Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent, on 14 January 1833 by Sir John Conroy, the Comptroller of the Duchess’s household. By the end of April 1833, he had become Victoria’s companion, & by Christmas that year she was doting on him, giving him a set of rubber balls & two pieces of gingerbread as presents. In return, the dog was loyal to Victoria; on one occasion she went sailing on a yacht, & Dash leapt from the coastline into the sea to swim after her.
Victoria, who was 13 when given Dash, had few if any childhood friends as she was raised largely isolated from other children under the so-called “Kensington System”, an elaborate set of rules & protocols devised by the Duchess and Conroy. The only girl of a similar age with whom she had regular contact was Conroy’s youngest daughter, Victoire, but they seemed to have had only a formal acquaintanceship. In her diary, Victoria refers to Victoire as “Miss Conroy” but the dog is showered with endearments: “dear sweet little Dash” & “dear Dashy”.
Have a pawsome good day,
CEO Olivia ❤