Bridgerton: Would Mary actually have had a Corgi during the Regency era?

Bridgerton. Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma in episode 201 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022
Bridgerton. Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma in episode 201 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022 /

All anyone seems to be talking about these days is the Netflix series, Bridgerton. Set in a version of the Regency era, its a romantic fantasy fiction brought to life with plenty of liberties taken. But perhaps the greatest liberty of Season 2 might just be the Corgi!

While Newton the Corgi (played by a Corgi named Austin) is an adorable little scene stealer every time her appears on our screens, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he actually belongs in those scenes. (Although we are definitely happy to have him and he is the real reason we tuned in for Season 2 of Bridgerton.)

What exactly are we talking about you may wonder. The reality is that while dogs may have been companions even during the Regency era, it wasn’t the same dogs as we might have today.

Is the Bridgerton Corgi a time period accurate furry companion?

According to a very fascinating essay over on Slate, even knowing that Bridgerton is not truly an accurate representation of the Regency era, the Corgi is not one of the known companion dogs of the time.

While the Corgi may have been bred since the medieval era, they were agricultural dogs. This means that they were working dogs, not so much companion dogs. Not only that, but there seems to be signs that the the dogs that were known under the Corgi moniker at the time were more in line with a fox!

So when it comes to a Regency era companion, Newton would likely not have been a Corgi. So when we look to Bridgerton, it seems that it is Newton who is out of place this time around.

"Corgis don’t make any appearances in books about animals and dogs during this period. It seems safe to say you probably wouldn’t find one as a pet in London’s West End, where the Sharmas are the guests of Lady Danbury in the course of Bridgerton Season 2; the only “corgi” an educated woman living in London would have been familiar with was Pennant’s corgi fox.…Although Corgis did eventually end up as fixtures of high society, it happened more than 100 years after the Regency period, the inspiration for Bridgerton. But it doesn’t matter that no self-respecting member of the ton would, in reality, ever dream of owning a Corgi. Bridgerton is, of course, a fantasy take on the world of the Regency romance, and it deliberately plays with anachronism. The author of the Bridgerton book series, Julia Quinn, herself acknowledges that Corgis weren’t officially recognised as a breed until a century after the books’ timeline."

Clearly Newton is not a fox in the series, and we are okay with that. And even more than that, we totally understand that any dog of the actual Regency may not reflect the dogs of today. After all, 200 years is a long time and evolution of dogs has definitely created plenty of changes between the dogs of the early 1800s and the dogs of 2022.

Even though the Corgi doesn’t seem to be historically accurate in Season 2, we are still here for him. In fact, he is truly the reason we are watching the season. We are loving Newton and we hope to see even more of him popping up in future seasons (or maybe even other pups).

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