History of the Estate Hounds at Goodwood

04th October 2023
Discover more about the dogs who have occupied the Estate throughout the years.

The Duke of Richmond and his family are not the only residents of Goodwood House. Enter the family wing and two faithful canine companions, Lito and Winston will dash across the entrance hall to greet you. While both are small, Lito a Cocker Spaniel and Winston a Dachshund both have strong vocal cords which they like to exercise on a regular basis!

Goodwood has always been filled with woofing and the sound of pattering paws. For over 300 years, dogs have been very much part of the family. The magnificent paintings that hang within Goodwood House, ranging from the seventeenth-century to the twenty-first, feature many family members accompanied by their trusty hounds. Louise de Keroualle, mother of the 1st Duke of Richmond was captured in oil-paint by Sir Godfrey Kneller with a lively-looking Sussex Spaniel as early as c. 1685. Her daughter-in-law, Anne, Duchess of Richmond was depicted with a small grey and white hound around the turn of the century.

The 3rd Duke of Richmond, like his great-grandmother, was fond of Sussex Spaniels, and took two with him on his Grand Tour through Europe in 1755. When the 3rd Duke modelled for Pompeo Batoni in Rome, his two Spaniels took centre-stage; one in particular steals the limelight, looking adoringly at his master and resting his paw loyally on his sleeve. It may be that these are the same Sussex Spaniels that make an appearance in two of the three sporting scenes undertaken by George Stubbs for the 3rd Duke in 1759/60. Whilst it is the Sussex Spaniel that is celebrated in Shooting at Goodwood and Racehorses Exercising at Goodwood, it is the fox-hound which takes centre-stage in The Charlton Hunt. The 3rd Duke, who features in the artwork riding an enormous black hunter, took a keen interest in his hounds, knowing each of them by name. Much more recently, Duchess Susan, The Duke of Richmond’s late mother, was painted with her faithful white German Shepherd and Lurcher by Paul Brason.

The Dukes of Richmond and members of their family have owned an extraordinary variety of dogs over the centuries. Spaniels have been the dominant breed. The 4th Duke of Richmond named his Spaniel Blücher after the Prussian general, and took it with him on a tour of Upper Canada in 1819. One day, Blücher was attacked by a pet fox belonging to a soldier, and in trying to separate them, The 4th Duke was bitten on the hand by the fox. Tragically, he caught rabies and died shortly afterwards. In the nineteenth-century however, Frances, Duchess of Richmond veered away from Spaniels, keeping two Pekingese. These were two of the first Pekingese dogs in England. In 1860, when the Old Summer Palace in Peking was destroyed by British troops during the Second Opium War, five Pekingese dogs were discovered. One was presented to Queen Victoria and two to Frances, named Guh and Meh.

The family’s dogs, whether pets or working animals have always been housed in the finest quarters. The 3rd Duke of Richmond in particular was known for treating his dogs to a spot of luxury. When he moved his pack of foxhounds, known as The Duke of Richmond’s Hounds to Goodwood in 1787 he spent £6,000 on The Kennels, a state-of-the-art building, which included central heating and water and air-flow systems. Goodwood House did not gain central heating for another century! Function combined with form in the aesthetic design of The Kennels; classical ideals of symmetry, harmony and proportion ensured the building had an elegance and grandeur that at the time superseded Goodwood House.

The family’s dogs are not the only canine creatures to have enjoyed the Estate. In the twentieth-century, King Edward VII brought his little Norfolk Terrier called Caesar to Goodwood. Caesar accompanied the King wherever he went, and so when the King came to Goodwood for the horseracing, Caesar came too. It is said that Caesar would sleep beside the King in his own little chair, and so it may be that he slept in the King’s Bedroom at Goodwood, curled up on one of the chairs that remains in the Collection today!

So, when Lito and Winston exercise their vocal cords in Goodwood House today, they are keeping alive Goodwood’s canine spirit, which has been at the heart of the Estate for over 300 years!

Become a part of Goodwoof history and join us for a fun-filled weekend in May. We have so much in store for both days at Goodwoof, including the celebrations of the Labrador parade, the excitement as the Barkitecture competition unfolds and our free to try have-a-go activities, including hoopers and hurdles.



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