Queen's doggy dynasty sprang from 18th birthday gift called Susan

The Queen is synonymous with her love of corgis.

The snappy little dogs had a penchant for nipping servants' ankles, but the Queen has always been devoted to them.

She has owned more than 30 of the breed, as well as dorgis, black Labradors and cocker spaniels.

Her first corgi, Susan, was given to her as an 18th birthday present by her parents in 1944.

Royalty - Queen and Corgi
Royalty - Queen and Corgi

The Queen had fallen in love with her father's dog Dookie, a Pembrokeshire corgi, and wanted one of her own.

Susan became the founder of the Queen's royal dog dynasty, and was even taken on honeymoon by Princess Elizabeth.

But Susan was not always well-behaved. She bit a royal clockwinder on the ankle and was also rather partial to going for servants' legs.

Her grandson, Whisky, apparently tore the seat out of a Guards officer's trousers.

The Queen has looked after her own dogs as much as possible.

Royal platinum wedding anniversary
Royal platinum wedding anniversary

She now has Whisper - a corgi she adopted after the death of its owner, a Sandringham gamekeeper - and two dorgis, Vulcan and Candy.

During weekends at Windsor, the corgis went too and lived in her private apartments.

She fed them herself, whenever her busy schedule permitted. She mixed their feed with a spoon and fork, from ingredients brought on a tray by a footman.

She also enjoyed walking her corgis and they knew when it was time for their exercise.

If the Queen came in wearing a tiara, they laid glumly on the carpet; if she was in a headscarf, they knew it was time for walkies.

Royalty - Queen Elizabeth II Visit to Canada
Royalty - Queen Elizabeth II Visit to Canada

The Duke of York said his mother's love of her corgis has helped to keep her fit.

"She is just amazing at her age and she walks a long way, the dogs keep her active," Andrew said.

Corgis are liable to bite people's legs because their forebears rounded up sheep by snapping at their feet.

One footman at the Palace found a novel way of getting his own back.

He spiked the dogs' food and water with whisky and gin, then watched in amusement as the tipsy animals staggered around. But he was discovered and demoted.

At one stage, the Queen was forced to call in a dog psychiatrist when her corgis kept setting upon each other.

The worst incident was when Ranger, who belonged to the Queen Mother, killed the Queen's dorgi Chipper in 1989.

Two years later the Queen was bitten on the left hand while trying to break up a fight between six of her corgis and two of the Queen Mother's at Windsor.

She needed three stitches and her chauffeur needed a tetanus jab.

Audience at Windsor Castle
Audience at Windsor Castle

Canine psychiatrist Roger Mugford prescribed an ear-piercing rape alarm which the Queen used to break up the dog fights.

He also sent the leader of the pack, Apollo, to live with the Princess Royal.

But sometimes it was the corgis who found themselves under attack.

In 2003, as the royals were gathering for Christmas at Sandringham in Norfolk, one suffered a tragic fate.

Pharos - then one of the Queen's oldest corgis - was savaged by another dog and had to be put down.

The Queen was devastated at the death of one of her favourite pets.

Dottie, an English bull terrier owned by the Princess Royal, was blamed. The year before, Anne had been fined £500 when the same dog attacked two children in Windsor Great Park.

But some days later, an announcement from the Palace revealed it was a case of mistaken identity. The real killer of Pharos was Florence, another of Anne's dogs.

Pharos was buried in the Sandringham grounds, joining Susan and some of the other corgis with gravestones there.

In 2012, the Queen's remaining corgis had a starring role in the James Bond sketch the Queen recorded for the London Olympics opening ceremony.

Monty, Willow and Holly greeted the secret agent, played by Daniel Craig, as he arrived at the Palace to accept a mission from the Queen.

Monty, who was 13, died a couple of months later.

Holly was put down in October 2016 after suffering from an illness, leaving Willow, who died on Sunday, as the Queen's final corgi descended from Susan.