Meet the 3 Dogs That Survived the Sinking of the Titanic

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: March 1, 2023
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It’s not unusual to see dogs as travel companions on planes, trains, boats, and cars. Back in 1912, folks also invited their pets onto different modes of transportation. On April 10, 1912, it wasn’t just human families that boarded the Titanic. Pets, including dogs, also made it onto that fateful passenger liner. Plenty has been written about the events that followed a few days later when the luxury steamship struck an iceberg and over 1,500 people tragically died.

It is believed that approximately 12 dogs were on board when it sank, though there may have been more. Only three dogs survived. These lap dogs could have easily been snuck onto a lifeboat and belonged to first-class passengers, who were the only ones allowed to bring their dogs onto the ship. Their survival had less to do with having wealthy owners and more to do with how small they were, able to go unnoticed in the midst of all the chaos in those final moments when passengers were scrambling.

3 dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic
It is believed that there were approximately 12 dogs on board, but only 3 dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic.


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Types of Dogs on the Titanic

J. Joseph Edgette, Ph.D., a professor at Widener University, pioneered research on the Titanic. The university hosted an exhibit on the Titanic, with a part of it highlighting the dogs on the ship. Eyewitness accounts led to the belief that a dozen dogs were on board, only three of whom survived. Those that survived were two Pomeranians and a Pekingese, two types of tiny, easy-to-carry-and-conceal pups.

Pomeranians are lively and extremely affectionate dogs. They have long, fluffy coats, and unlike some larger dogs, are quite tidy, without drooling everywhere. They can be very vocal and have moderate energy levels. They don’t need a job constantly and can lounge with their owners. They can be very protective and are highly adaptable, not requiring a stringent routine to remain content.

Prettiest / Cutest Dogs - Pomeranian dog
The affectionate and adaptable nature of a Pomeranian makes it a wonderful companion dog, even on sea voyages.


The Pekingese is a luxurious breed initially created for the well-to-do in ancient China. They’re known for their sophisticated appearance, devoted nature, and affection. Like Pomeranians, these pups have long coats and remain tidy. They are very playful, adaptable, and protective. Unlike Pomeranians, these pups aren’t very vocal. They may bark on occasion but only to alert.

Other types of dogs on the Titanic included a Great Dane, a newly purchased champion French bulldog, a chow-chow, two Airedales, and a King Charles spaniel. The prize bulldog, spaniel, and one of the Airedales were insured. Their owners filed insurance claims after losing them. Charles Moore, an exceptional horseman, intended to bring 100 English foxhounds on board but they ended up traveling separately, so they did not meet the same fate Moore met in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

Cute and nice golden Pekingese dog in park playing
The Pekingese are dogs bred specifically for the upper class. They are loyal, affectionate, and generally quiet.


Were There Other Types of Animals on the Titanic?

There were other animals besides dogs on board. A first-class passenger, Ella Holmes White, had a rooster and several hens on board. Her plan was to mix these birds in with her stock. She had insured her animals and filed an insurance claim for her loss. Another woman intended to take 30 cockerels with her to the United States. It’s believed there were other birds (canaries in particular) because they were popular at that time.

Although a ship like this typically would keep cats on board to control the rat and mouse population, the female cat that had previously been on the ship had kittens. Before the Titanic departed from Southampton, she removed her kittens one by one, and they were all left behind. There are no details of any other cats that may have been on board, though it’s very possible that there were some on board that went unnoticed, considering their jobs were to stalk and hunt rodents. They weren’t on board as pets like some other animals.

What Happened to the “Unsinkable” Ship and Other Dogs?

The belief that the Titanic was unsinkable slowed down efforts to get passengers toward the lifeboats. They had even scheduled a drill for April 14, 1912, just before the ship sank but unfortunately, it was canceled. Once the efforts were made to retrieve the lifeboats, it was chaos all around. It’s believed someone attempted to open the kennels so the dogs might have a chance at survival, but alas, only the three small lap dogs made it out with their owners that day.

Their owners include Henry and Myra Harper, who carried their Pekingese out onto a lifeboat in their arms. Margaret Hay carried her Pomeranian onto a lifeboat in her arms as well. The final Pomeranian that survived belonged to Elizabeth Rothschild, who refused to board a lifeboat without her small animal companion. Helen Bishop was also on board with her toy dog but sadly, she left it in the cabin when she went to board a lifeboat. She didn’t think any sympathy would be given, considering women and children were at the top of the list of passengers to save.

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The Featured Image

Digital recreation of the Titanic sinking with lifeboat in foreground
Digital recreation of the Titanic sinking with lifeboat in foreground
© Denis---S/

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About the Author

Angie is a writer with over 10 years of experience developing content for product and brand reviews, focusing much of her time on animals of all types. A cat owner herself, she enjoys writing articles on beloved pets that both inform and entertain her audience.

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