Remembering the Dogs of the Titanic

Dogs of the Titanic

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April 14th marks the 100th anniversary of the of the Titanic’s fateful crash into the iceberg that tore a hole in her side and ultimately in the hours that followed sunk the ship killing more then half the passengers and crew. In memory of the the voyage that was supposed to take passengers from England to New York; Widener University will be putting on an exhibit, which will feature the dogs of the Titanic.
Joseph Edgette, the curator of the exhibition, said that eye witness accounts and ship records confirm that there were 12 Dogs of the Titanic. Only 3 dogs survived and all 3 were small enough to be hidden in clothing and blankets. 2 Pomeranians and a Pekingese all owned by some of the most affluent guests aboard the Titanic. Then again to be a first class passenger aboard the Titanic you had to be extremely affluent, in today’s prices one ticket aboard the ship would have cost $50,000.
Some people criticize the fact that 3 dogs survived and were given space on the lifeboats when so many people were killed. As stories of the fateful day have shown these lifeboats at least in the early hours after the ship crashed into the iceberg the lifeboats were sent off not even partially full. People believed that those entering the boats would not survive out on the open water until help could arrive. It wasn’t until the very end that lifeboats were being cast from the Titanic full of passengers trying to get away from the doomed ship. Technically in the early hours after the crash a larger dog might not have been turned away by crew helping passengers to board as there was plenty of room on the lifeboats not being taken by other guests.
The other 9 dogs were all kept in the on board kennel facility a clean and friendly place where the crew was in charge of the dogs needs walking them around the ship and keeping the dogs company. Since the Titanic was supposed to be the unsinkable ship passengers believed that dogs kept in the kennel facility would be fine until help could arrive as the facility was supposed to be water tight and crew were there around the clock to tend to the dogs needs. Two of the dogs that perished that were left behind in the kennels were owned by William Carter, a coal magnate. Carter’s children were worried about their pets a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and an Airedale, but their father assured them the dogs were safe and encouraged his children to get in the lifeboats. The dogs did not survive. They were however insured by Llyods of London and the family receive an insurance settlement on both of the dogs.

Ann Elizabeth Isham, who was already in a lifeboat when she got out to go to the ship’s kennel to retrieve her Great Dane. She never made it back. “Two to three days later, a passenger ship’s crew member, not too far from the site of the sinking, found her,” said Edgette. “She was clutching a Great Dane.”

The exhibit features photos of all 12 dogs plus  an Irish Wolfhound that the Captain had received as a present for his daughter. The Irish Wolfhound was photographed on the ship by press and visitors and then taken off the ship before it set sail and sent to the Captain’s daughter. The only photos of dogs aboard the ship were taken by amateur photographer, Fr. Frank Brown, who disembarked the ship in Queenstown, Ireland. All other photos of the dogs aboard the ship have been given to the exhibit by family members or found through old newspaper clippings of the owners with the dogs.
As a side note Fr. Brown’s are the only photographs of the interior of the Titanic known to be in existence, as the White Star Line had contracted with the Rochester firm, Eastman Kodak, to take photos upon the ship’s arrival in New York, which of course never occurred as the ship broke apart and sank to the bottom of the ocean where it still lies today on April 15th, 1912.

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  1. Great post! I have honestly never considered the dogs that were likely on the Titanic. Not sure why that never occurred to me. Now I’m super interested. – Katy

  2. jody cowan says

    I love you site! I have a cavalier and three other dogs! I’d like to find a site where people can buy things and some of it goes to humane societies and shelters. This is a great post. I’ve written about the Titanic lately, too.

  3. What an interesting perspective to write from for the 100th anniversary. That there were pets aboard has never crossed my mind.

  4. Wow I had no idea there were dog aboard

  5. I live by the Titanic Museum, and they have a pair of King Cavaliers (?) that greet guests.

  6. What a great post. You never consider the dogs that were lost on this terrible tragedy! Thank you!

  7. I love how topical you articles always are. I enjoy your blog more than you’ll ever know. Thanks for reminding us of the fur balls on the titanic too!

  8. How sad. I would love to visit this!

  9. I never knew there were dogs on there!

  10. Mellissa Hanks says

    Wow what an interesting piece of information I never even thought there was dogs on board. I’m glad some were saved though what amazing love there must have been for them :O)

  11. Thank you for posting this information. The dogs that perished with the Titanic have not been mentioned in most of the stories about Titanic.

    Naturally, some people who would have traveled so far might have taken their pets with them. I would not be surprised if there were some cats and dogs that were brought in secretly. It was a big ship.

  12. It is a sad tale. I had no idea there were dogs aboard.

  13. I LOVE hearing about history. I love how you find so many interesting articles about dogs!! I love reading your blog. This is amazing, because I never knew that there were dogs aboard the ship. It is such a tragedy that so many people and animals never made it to safety. I would love to see the exhibit, although I am sure I probably never will!!
    Thanks for posting,


  14. I had no idea that were dogs on board the titanic How sad!

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