Londoners love a four-legged friend, and there are plenty of them to love: you can’t walk a city street round here without having to stop to admire some handsome hound. But which are London’s most memorable mutts? Here’s our top ten.
England might have had little more to show for their 1966 World Cup triumph than photos of Bobby Charlton’s combover if it hadn’t been for this keen-nosed Collie from South Norwood. When the Jules Rimet trophy (aka the World Cup) was stolen from an exhibition, the heroic Pickles came to the rescue: he found it wrapped in newspaper under a hedge on his daily walk. They should have given him his own TV detective show. With a sidekick named Cheese.
2. Nipper (see above)
You know that famous image of a dog peering quizzically into a gramophone horn – the one used by HMV and EMI? Well that’s Nipper, a nineteenth-century jack russell who appeared in the painting ‘His Master’s Voice’. The late Nipper was buried in Kingston upon Thames,never knowing how famous he would become. It’s a dog’s life.
3. Pongo and Missis
Famously hunted by Cruella de Vil, this canine couple were the stars of 1956 novel ‘The Hundred and One Dalmatians’. They lived rather pleasantly in the desirable Outer Circle in Regent’s Park. And no, not all of the 99 pups were theirs – most of them they adopted, presumably to get a bigger council house.
Not all our entries are lovable critters – this vicious bull terrier belonged to superlative brute Bill Sikes in ‘Oliver Twist’, and according to Dickens exhibited ‘faults of temper in common with his owner’. That said,even the nicest of animals would probably get a bit edgy if they had to listen to Mark Lester singing all day.
Canine internet sensation Fenton is to dogs what Justin Bieber is to morons. Not that you’d recognise him: his 15 seconds of fame consist of his arse and tail disappearing in hot pursuit of a herd of peaceable Richmond deer. If you’re a saddo, Fenton merchandise can be had. Jesus Christ!
The brilliantly named Wellard is up there with the Mitchell brothers in the pantheon of ‘EastEnders’ greats. Like the rest of the cast, the long-serving Belgian shepherd had a pretty hard life on the square – passed among countless owners, run over, nearly put down for biting Ian Beale (totally understandable), then finally killed by chocolate poisoning. And it turns out the supposedly ‘well hard’ male dog was actually a female the whole time. It’s Pat Butcher all over again!
7. The Black Dog of Newgate
London has more ghosts than it has Pret a Mangers, and one of the scariest of all is the spectral hound of old Newgate Prison. Supposedly the avenging spirit of a young prisoner who was murdered and eaten by his fellow inmates in the twelfth century, the terrifying beast was usually seen by condemned prisoners, an omen of their impending doom.
8. Barking Lord Scruff
Highgate has its fair share of blue plaques, including an unofficial one in Pond Square which pays tribute to ‘Music critic, dog poet, photographic model and all-round good egg, Barking Lord Scruff of Highgate’. It’s nice to know that even the animals in N6 are keeping up the area’s literary traditions – with suitably pompous names to match.
9. The Queen’s corgis
No list of prominent pups would be complete without the little royal yappers. Dear old Liz has had more than 30 of the furry equerry-biters since she became queen in 1952. They even made it into the Bond segment of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, which is more than you can say for the Duke of Edinburgh.
10. Tatler Alan
This adorable young dachshund was a beloved presence at posho lifestyle mag Tatler, and even had his own Twitter account. Then, in January last year, tragedy struck when Alan ended up on the wrong end of an argument with a revolving door. The style world mourned his passing, but he was soon replaced – by Tatler Geoffrey. Fashion waits for no dog.
For more barking lists and laughs go to timeout.com/topten.