5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Downton Abbey Dogs

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Downton Abbey has stormed back to American TV, with 10.2 million viewers! Among them, we know, are fans of Isis, the Crawley family Yellow Labrador. Here are 5 things you might not know about the Downton Abbey Dogs:

1. Pharaoh, who appears in Season One, was played by a dog named Roly. Roly didn’t get along with Lady Carnarvon’s own Labs (she’s the owner of the real-life estate where Downton is filmed), and so Pharaoh was replaced for season two.

Lady Carnarvon and her two Labs. Photo from Facebook.

Lady Carnarvon and her two Labs. Photo from Facebook.

RELATED STORY: Getting Dogs Who’ll Get Along

2. Iris has been played by two dogs so far: Ellie until partway through Season Three, and now Abbey.

Ellie-Isis

Isis / Ellie. Photo from Facebook.

3. For most of the series, the set was full of off-screen dogs — those brought to work for the day by the cast. In August 2013, Lady Carnavon banned cast members’ dogs after they “ran riot” in parts of the house they weren’t supposed to go.

Two of Lady Carnarvon's Spaniels, a Terrier, and one of the Labs, probably Roly. Photo from Facebook.

Two of Lady Carnarvon’s Spaniels, a Terrier, and one of the Labs. Oh, and the human cast. Photo from Facebook.

4. Pharaoh and Isis’ lovely light yellow color is actually not period-appropriate for the show: The first Yellow Lab ever was recorded in 1899, but the “yellow” at the time was much more of a butterscotch color.

Ben of Hyde, the first Yellow Labrador ever, 1899.

Ben of Hyde, the first Yellow Labrador ever.

5. The hunting party in Season One features Gascon Saintongeois hunting dogs, and recreated a sight that could have been seen until just a couple years ago (minus period costumes). Foxhunting with hounds has been illegal in Britain since 2005.

downton-abbey-crew-with-dogs

Writers, cast, crew, and dogs. Photo from Facebook.