World leaders throughout history have always kept pets, but dogs have always held a very special place in their hearts. Whether these leaders belonged to the monarchy, a world-changing political movement, or even an evil regime, their dogs were beloved members of their families who were well-cared for in life, and for the most part, venerated in death. Below are the brief histories of nine world leaders from around the world and their pets.
1. Dowager Empress Cixi’s Shih-Tzus, China
Dowager Empress Cixi ruled China during the Manchu Dynasty. Empress Cixi was directly involved in the breeding, raising, and handling of her dogs; she even was said to have carried her favorite Shih Tzu in her sleeve. Dowager Empress Cixi had an affinity for her Shih Tzu’s and took great pride in attending to them much like modern day pet-lovers. Karen Christensen asserts the well-documented fact that those who were discovered to be in possession of a Shih Tzu outside of royalty “…[were] sentenced to death.”, which defined this ‘lion-head’ breed of dog to be an exclusive and very prized animal for the royals in Manchu Dynasty China, and Dowager Empress Cixi in particular.