In reading about the personalities of pugs, it struck me that the characteristics mentioned could be applied to Mansfield Park’s Lady Bertram as well: “Not very active … lazy … if you leave them on the couch they will sleep there for hours … needs constant companionship…” Mansfield Park describes how devoted Lady Bertram is to her pet pug, and no doubt if she were a dog, that’s the breed she’d most resemble. Of course there are some characteristics that don’t fit—pugs are often called “playful,” which Lady Bertram is not, and she’s so careful of her appearance that she couldn’t possibly be renowned for her wrinkles!—but there’s enough similarity there for me to put them together.
That got me thinking about what kinds of dogs the other characters would be. Here, just for fun, are my picks:
Mr. Knightley = Golden Retriever: kind, intelligent, helpful, loyal
Mrs. Bennet = Chihuahua: yappy, emotional, likes to run things, not great with children
Mr. Bingley = Golden Doodle: friendly, gentle, accepting of strangers, easy to train
Captain Wentworth = German Shepherd: intelligent, hard working, courageous, needs interesting things to do
Captain Benwick = Bassett Hound. Ok, maybe I’m going more on looks than personality here, but that face! Morose to the last degree.
Sir Walter Elliot = Poodle: how much more high fashion can you get?
Harriet Smith = Havanese: affectionate, companionable, gentle, responsive, intelligen—oh, never mind about that last one
Emma Woodhouse = Lhasa Apso: strong willed, strong headed, and need a strong leader for them to take heed
Mr. Woodhouse = Hairless Chinese Crested: high maintenance, does not like cold, likes a companion, easily spoiled
So there you have it: my picks for the kind of dogs Jane Austen’s characters would be. You may have noticed that I didn’t make a choice for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. I couldn’t decide! What would be your choices for them?