JoAnna Lou
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Dogs of the Titanic
The doomed ship's survivors included three canines
Captain Smith with an Irish Wolfhound from Benjamin Guggenheim.

April 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Knowing that only 31 percent of the ship's human passengers survived, I was surprised to learn that three dogs made it safely to New York.

Only first class passengers were allowed to bring dogs on the voyage and many belonged to prominent families. There were 12 confirmed dogs on board the Titanic including a Toy Poodle, a Fox Terrier, a French Bulldog and millionaire John Jacob Astor's Airedale named Kitty. The three survivors were all small enough to be smuggled onto the lifeboats—two Pomeranians, one named Lady, and a Pekinese named Sun Yat-Sen who belonged to the Harpers, of publishing firm Harper & Row.

Most of the dogs did not live in the cabins with their family and instead were cared for by crew members in the ship's kennel. Some of the pets were even insured, but mostly because they were considered property. However, that wasn't the case for all of the dogs aboard the Titanic.

There are many heartbreaking stories that came out of the disaster, but as a dog lover, I'll never forget the one about Ann Elizabeth Isham and her beloved Great Dane. Although many passengers regarded their animals as material possessions, Ann was said to have visited her dog every day at the ship's kennel.

Legend says that when Ann tried to evacuate with her Great Dane, she was told that he was too large. Ann refused to leave without him and got out of the lifeboat. When a recovery ship toured the wreckage days later, the crew spotted the body of a woman holding onto a large dog. It's assumed that the bodies recovered were that of Ann and her Great Dane, but the information is unverified. However, whoever the woman and dog were, one thing is for sure—they were there for each other until the very end.

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
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Submitted by shirley zindler | April 17 2012 |

I've owned several Borzoi (Russian Wolfhounds) and the dog in the photo is a Borzoi, not an Irish Wolfhound. What a fascinating article. I currently own a Dane and can identify with the owners refusal to leave her dog. How heartbreaking and touching.

Submitted by Pippin | April 17 2012 |

There is a beautiful book about some of the dogs of the Titanic, called Titanic's Dogs: Lost and Found. You can find it here:

Submitted by Anonymous | April 17 2012 |

Captain Smith's dog looks like a Russian Wolfhound (or Borzoi) to me.

Submitted by rosete rose | June 22 2013 |

I am reading a book and was interested. Thanks for the info

Submitted by Ella engel | October 27 2013 |

That lady really loved her dog.

Submitted by Paul Bending | June 23 2014 |

La légende sous la photo est erronée il s'agit d'un "Borzoï", il était répondait au nom de "Ben".

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