William and Kate's puppy: is it called Charles or Fenton?

Feb 2, 2012

A cocker spaniel make a change from corgis, even if it increases the risk of royal rage

THE AUSTRALIAN magazine Woman's Day has caused a stir by flouting a "gentleman's agreement" with the press to publish only approved images of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It showed the couple walking on the beach with a new addition to their family - a black cocker spaniel. Experts have been discussing the merits of the breed while the media speculate about the dog's name - which a royal spokesman insisted would remain "private".

A dog fit for a duchess
No news on the baby front still, so the Duke and Duchess are having to make do with a puppy, says Valentine Low in The Times. The dog will no doubt provide company for the Duchess while the Duke is on his six-week tour of duty in the Falklands. No rescue mutt for William and Kate, though. In true royal fashion, this puppy comes from "a decent family" – the dog is the offspring of the Middleton family's own spaniel, Ella.

The young royals have bucked Windsor family tradition by opting for cocker spaniel rather than a corgi, says The Washington Post. But despite a recent overhaul in monarchical succession rules (in the future, elder daughters will precede their brothers), "scholars say the dog is not currently in line for the throne".

A good choice of breed
The choice of a spaniel speaks well of the Duke and Duchess, says an editorial in The Daily Telegraph, not just because the puppy will keep Her Royal Highness company in her husband's absence. "The cocker is an outdoorsy sort of dog, just as the Royal family are outdoorsy sort of people... Let's just hope the new arrival can cope with the corgis."

Perhaps there is another reason Kate was attracted to the breed, writes Tazi Philips for Global Animal. Cocker spaniels were originally bred as bird hunting dogs, but over the years have become show dogs. Just this December, Kate took a compassionate turn and opted out of the royal family's annual Boxing Day pheasant hunt. So "perhaps she's trying to teach this pup that a compassionate, and cushioned, lifestyle is the way to go".

On the other hand...
Wikipedia notes that there is a higher risk of Rage Syndrome associated with solid-coloured English cocker spaniels - whether red, golden or black like the royal couple's – than with their multi-coloured counterparts. Rage Syndrome is a rare behavioural problem linked to unprovoked attacks.

So, what's it called?
The pitter patter of a puppy's paws can be heard in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Anglesey home and punters are "barking mad" over puppy names, writes Craig Kemp for Ladbrokes. It's 10/1 the cocker spaniel is named Charles, and 16/1 that it's Philip, after the Duke of Edinburgh. Ladbrokes is offering 66/1 on it being named Fenton.

Last word to Lesley Jones on Twitter. Whatever its name may be, "Now there's a royal with bigger ears than Charles!"

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This "talking point" is so spitefully motivated I would hate to meet the writer.  Nothing better to do with your time?