Forgotten in Time: Dogs of the Titanic

Last month marked the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic. In the years that have passed since, the ship was discovered and had a major motion picture (and countless documentaries) made about it. The facts about the Titanic are stark; the ship was exceeding all prudent speed boundaries when it clipped an iceberg in the middle of the night in the North Atlantic, and disappeared below the surface within a few excruciating hours.

Watery Graves – But Not for All

Everyone knows the results of the fateful voyage. 1,514 people perished in one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history. What many people do not know, however, is that there were also a dozen dogs listed on Titanic’s registries. Three of them managed to survive. As one might expect, all of the dogs were the pets of wealthy families; two of those families even collected on insurance policies after their dogs did not survive Titanic‘s maiden voyage.

High and Dry

Even so, nobody begrudged those three dogs their survival, since two of them were Pomeranians and the other a Pekingese – all tiny breeds that hardly could have been accused of taking a seat from someone in the lifeboats. One Pomeranian was named Lady, owned by one Margaret Hays, and the other was owned by the Rothschild family. The Pekingese, named Sun Yat-Sen, was a member of the Harper family, best known by their New York City publishing company, Harper and Row.

One dog who was luckily not aboard Titanic was one that was mistaken for Captain Smith’s dog only because it appeared in a famous photograph with him. In fact, the large Irish Wolfhound was a gift from Benjamin Guggenheim (who nobly went down with most of the men on board the ship), but it was sent home with Smith’s daughter before Titanic left port. Among the dogs who did not survive were millionaire John Jacob Astor’s prized Aieredale, Kitty, who was kept as most of the dogs were, as cargo instead of as pets in their owners’ cabins.