William and Kate’s heartache after death of their dog Lupo

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have revealed that their beloved dog Lupo has passed away.

The nine-year-old black cocker spaniel was a wedding present from Kate's brother James.

William and Kate said in a heart breaking Instagram post on Sunday: "Very sadly last weekend our dear dog, Lupo, passed away.

"He has been at the heart of our family for the past nine years and we will miss him so much."

Following the birth of Prince George in July 2013, William said Lupo had coped very well with the upheaval in the house.

"He's coping all right, actually," he said.

"As a lot of people know who have got dogs and bring a newborn back, they take a little bit of time to adapt, but, no he's been all right so far."

He added: "He's been slobbering sort of around the house a bit, so he's perfectly happy."

In pictures taken to mark Prince George's third birthday, the little royal caused controversy by offering Lupo a lick of his ice cream.

Prince George's third birthday
Prince's birthday snap prompted a warning about not feeding dairy products to dogs (PA)

It prompted the RSPCA to warn people not to give dairy products to their dogs, as they can be toxic, although the animal welfare charity praised George for trying to help Lupo keep cool in the summer heat.

Spaniels, which were bred as gun dogs, are known for being high energy and Kate once wistfully commented on a charity worker's well behaved dogs on a visit to Keswick in the Lake District.

"Maybe we should lend you Lupo," she joked.

As recently as March, Kate revealed table tennis was a difficult activity in their household because of Lupo's determination to get involved.

During the couple's visit to the Republic of Ireland, she told young people at a respite centre in County Kildare: "We try to do this at home but our dog keeps catching the ping pong balls."

Prince Harry and Prince William
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Prince Harry and Prince William
The Prince and Princess of Wales and their two children, Prince William, 9, and Prince Harry, 7, wave goodbye from the deck of the Royal Yacht Britannia to the people of Toronto at the end of the Royal couple's five-day official visit to the city.
The Prince of Wales arrives at Aberdeen rail station on his way to the Royal Family's retreat at Balmoral. He took his two sons, six-year-old Prince William, left, and four-year-old Prince Harry, accompanied by their nanny Ruth Wallace.
Princess Diana, Princess of Wales with Prince William and Prince Harry on holiday in Majorca, Spain on August 10, 1987. Also present were the Spanish Royal Family and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
Princes William and Harry are swamped by dogs at the Badminton horse trials. Royals, Full length, Animal, Dog, William, Harry ©Anwar Hussein/allaction.co.uk
Six year old Prince William shields his eyes from the Spanish sunshine as he poses for photographs on the steps of the Marivent Palace with his brother Prince Harry, mother The Princess of Wales (lower right), and father the Prince of Wales (left). With them are King Juan Carlos (centre) and Queen Sofia of Spain and their children the Infantes Cristina and Elena and Prince Felipe.
The Prince and Princess of Wales on holiday with their sons, Prince William and Prince Harry (riding pillion behind his father), on Tresco, Scilly Isles.
The young Princes William and Harry at the Polo. Photo. Anwar Hussein
Prince William, along with the Duke of Edinburgh, the Earl of Wessex, the Queen, the Princess Royal, the Prince of Wales, Prince Harry and the Princess of Wales look on from the balcony of Buckingham Palace at Trooping the Colour. Royals, Philip, Queen, Minor Royal, Edward, Anne, William, Charles, Diana, Balcony, Family shot, Half length, Uniform, Hat. ©Anwar Hussein/allaction.co.uk
The Princess of wales follows her sons Prince Harry (right), five years old, and Prince William, seven, on Harry's first day at the Wetherby School in Notting Hill, West London.
The Princess of Wales rides a chair lift up the Kriegerhorn with her sons Prince William, left, and Prince Harry, in Lech, Austria.
The Princess of Wales, accompanied by Prince William and Prince Harry, arrives at the Queen's Medical Centre to visit Prince Charles.
Princes William and Prince Harry with the Diana, Princess of Wales in Austria during their 1992 skiing holiday. At the time the Princess was going through her break up with Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
The Prince and Princess of Wales, with young Prince William and Harry at the wedding of Duke Hussey's daughter in Bath, May 1989. Photo. Anwar Hussein
Prince William signs the traditional Entrance Book watched by his parents, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and younger brother, Prince Harry, at Eton College.
Diana, Princess of Wales with young Princes William and Harry at Niagara Falls, Canada in 1991. Photo. Anwar Hussein
The Prince of Wales and his sons, Princes William (left) and Harry, leave church this morning (Sunday).
The Prince and Princess of Wales with sons Prince William (right) and Prince Harry, attending the VJ Day commemorations at Buckingham Palace.
(L-R) The Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry looks on as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother waves to the crowds outside Clarence House, London, on the day of her 101st birthday. *31/08/01 The fourth anniversary of the death of the princess was, being marked privately by her sons William and Harry. The teenage princes and their father, the Prince of Wales, would remember her in their own way, said St James's Palace. Charles was finishing his autumn holiday at Birkhall on the Balmoral estates in Scotland, and William was understood to be in Scotland too. As in the two previous years, there are no official plans to commemorate the day Diana died in a Paris car crash in 1997.
Note to Editors: This picture transmitted 17 August 1998 to accompany package of stories in advance of the first anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Library filer dated 6/9/97 of (L-R) The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales following the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, to Westminster Abbey for her funeral service. Photo by Adam Butler/PA/WPA ROTA.
Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the Service to celebrate the life of Princess Diana, Princess of Wales at the Guards Chapel in London.
The Prince and Princess of Wales with sons Prince William, right, and Prince Harry relaxing in Tresco during their holiday in the Scilly Isles.
Princes William and Harry at Cirencester Polo Club in 2001. Photo. Anwar Hussein
The Earl of Spencer, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in September 1997. Photo. Anwar Hussein
The Prince and Princess of Wales, with Princes William (centre, r) and Harry, at the VJ Commemorations at Buckingham Palace.
The Prince of Wales and his sons Princes Harry and William (R) leave church on the Sandringham Estate after the traditional Christmas Day service, attended by the Queen and other members of her immediate family.
The Prince of Wales flanked by his sons Princes William (left) and Harry during a photocall at Prince Charles country home, Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire, at the beginning of the two young princes summer holidays. * Earlier Prince William, 17, arrived for the photocall at a wheel of car in which he his learning to drive.
The Prince of Wales followed by Princes Harry and William arrive for the BBC Songs of Praise Millennium Service at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The Prince of Wales and his sons, Prince William (left) and Prince Harry, pose for photographers on the Madrisa ski slopes above Klosters. They are on the third day of their traditional skiing holiday in Swiss resort.
The Queen Mother stands with Queen Elizabeth II, and great grand children, Prince William and his brother Prince Harry on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, for her celebrations on her 100th birthday.
Left-right: Prince Harry and Prince William after their Highgrove polo team beat Cirencester Park in the ladbrokescasino.com trophy at Cirencester Park Polo Club.
Princes William and Harry at the Queen Mother's funeral at Westminster Abbey, London in April 2002. Photo. Anwar Hussein

Lupo's mother Ella is understood to be owned by Kate's mother Carol.

James Middleton was very affected by the death.

He posted on Instagram: "Nothing can ever prepare you for the loss of a dog. For those who have never had a dog, it might be hard to understand the loss.

"However for those who have loved a dog know the truth: a dog is not just a pet; it is a member of the family, a best friend, a loyal companion, a teacher and a therapist."

Mr Middleton described himself as "Dog Dad to Ella, Zulu, Inka, Luna, Mabel & Nala" on his Instagram page.

He said he took Ella for a long walk and lit a candle in memory of Lupo after he got the sad news.

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