Canine political companions are rare
Pooch-loving ministers are relatively rare and no-one can recall a dog in Downing Street since Harold Wilson and his yellow Labrador Paddy (left).
Hectic schedules and multiple homes do not favour dog ownership, but there are notable exceptions.
The late Michael Foot, the former Labour leader, was a familiar figure on Hampstead Heath walking his Tibetan terrier Dizzy — named after the 19th century Tory leader Disraeli.
Roy Hattersley was devoted to his Alsatian/ Staffordshire bull terrier cross Buster, but when he died the former deputy Labour leader replaced him with English Bull Terrier the Beast of Bolsover.
David Blunkett, the former Home Secretary, and his beloved guide dog Sadie, a curly coated retriever/ Labrador cross, were a familiar sight in the Palace of Westminster, where all but assistance dogs are barred.
The Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust try to keep dogdom in the minds of policymakers with their Westminster Dog of the Year competition — won last year by Charlie, left, a Border terrier owned by Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald.
The charities have had some success in areas such as watering down the flawed Dangerous Dogs Act, so that it targets irresponsible owners more and their pets less, and pushing for legislation to outlaw “battery-style” puppy farming.