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A blog by Jane Brackman, Ph.D.
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dogs in Medieval Coats of Arms

Now that I've posted dogs in medieval manuscripts and tapestries, I'm finishing  up with dogs in coats of arms.  Greyhounds are the most common breed featured in family crests, especially in England and France.

This family crest appears on the back of a diptych of a portrait of Phillipe de Croy, about 1460.
Koninklijk Museum

The animals on either side of the shield hold and guard it.
The Tudor Family coats of arms - protected by a Greyhound and dragon.
About 1428

A dog represents the loyalty of the master, so I'm not sure what's going on here.


For historians, a family crest can indicate what extinct breeds looked like. 
Below is a short-legged Talbot Hound.

Carter of Castle Martin Crest

The short-legged Talbot may be the ancestor of
the Basset Hound.


It's possible that the word Talbot was a sort of generic term for
any white scent hound.The  dogs in the crest below are also
called Talbot Hounds, but they have long legs.

The St. Hubert's Hound, also extinct, may have been a type of Talbot. Historians claim that the St. Hubert is the direct ancestor of Bloodhounds and other scenting types. The breed disappeared at the end of the 18th century.

The breed has symbolic meaning, as does the collar.  
Collars shaped like crowns indicate a family's nobility.


Collar that is not crown-shaped.

This looks like a collar shaped like a crown.
(Arms of Henry VII)

1 comment:

  1. The greyhound has such sleek, slender and elegant lines, they look wonderful on the Coats of Arms!!!!

    ReplyDelete