There are at least twelve dogs that have been documented on the Titanic when it sank but the exact figure is unknown. Only three dogs are documented to have survived: a Pekinese named “Sun Yat-Sen” owned by Mr. Henry Sleeper Harper who made his escape in lifeboat 3 with his master; a Pomeranian called “Lady” belonging to Miss Margaret Hays who tucked the dog inside her coat and got into lifeboat 7 and another male Pomeranian name unknown owned by Miss Elizabeth Barrett Rothschild. Both escaped together in boat 6 because Elizabeth refused to go on the lifeboat unless the dog came with her. She was hoisted aboard clutching her pet, which a few weeks later after the disaster her dog was killed in a fight with a larger dog in New York.
Most stories during those first weeks after the disaster were unsubstantiated rumors usually made up by the press. Contrary to what has been reported or published in many books there was no canary onboard. No pig either, at least a live animal. Miss Edith Rosenbaum Russell was reported to have brought a pet pig on board Titanic, but her lucky mascot and prized possession, was a toy covered in white fur that played a popular dance tune known as “La Maxixe”. She left on lifeboat 11 and kept the spirit of the children up by entertaining them throughout the night with her musical toy box. A couple of these stories also were to become the basis for two dog myths linked to the Titanic disaster. One is about a large dog, a Great Dane, presumably owned by Miss Ann Elizabeth Isham, a 50 year old spinster, one of the four first class female passengers who did not survive. While it is true that “a lady refused to get in the lifeboat without her large dog”, there is nothing to connect that dog to Miss Isham, just like there is no truth to the report of a woman in a lifejacket with her frozen arms wrapped around a large dog floating together that presumably was sighted a couple of days after the disaster by passengers on the German liner Bremen. Neither Miss Isham nor the Great Dane dog were ever recovered. This story was adapted by novelist Ms. Marty Crisp, for her book White Star: A Dog on the Titanic and in fact it may be based on the real story of Miss Rothschild and her Pomeranian.
The other story, published by The New York Herald on April 21, 1912, is the one most often quoted, but sadly is nothing more than a fabricated myth, about a Newfoundland dog called Rigel – allegedly the pet of First Officer William Murdoch – that survived in the water and alerted the crew of rescue ship Carpathia to lifeboat 4 filled with exhausted survivors too weak to shout who were perilously close to being sunk by the Carpathia. The story claimed that the dog was pulled to safety too and was adopted by Jonas Briggs, a crewman on the Carpathia. Records show that Murdoch did not have any pet with him on the ship, no surviving passengers or crew members confirmed this story and finally no record exists of anyone with the name Briggs listed as a crew member on the Carpathia.
However, besides dogs, other animals have been documented. Mrs. John Stuart White, first class passenger sharing cabin C-32 with Miss Marie Grice Young, was shipping some expensive French poultry aboard Titanic, and duly made a claim against White Star Line and listed among her lost property items are “roosters and hens, from Chasse Ile rage Jardin d’Agriculture.” This was confirmed by Miss Ellen “Nellie” Hocking and Miss Edwina C. Troutt, second class passenger survivors, who said that the previous night of the disaster, they had heard a cock crowing, a Cornish folklore sign of impending disaster and a harbinger of bad luck. Miss Ellen Mary Mockler, a third class passenger survivor, who later became a nun, particularly remembered that while she was heading up to the boat deck she "heard chickens and hens" that had escaped and began running around on deck but perhaps these may have been part of live stock kept for the kitchen.
This is the list of all identified dogs and their owners 1. “Sun Yat-Sen” – a Pekinese (survived) owned by Mr. Henry Sleeper Harper 2. “Lady” – a Pomeranian, (survived) owned by Miss Margaret B. Hays 3. A male Pomeranian, name unknown (survived) owned by Miss Elizabeth B. Rothschild 4. “Gamin de Pycombe” – a French bulldog owned by Mr. Robert William Daniel 5. “Frou Frou” –breed unknown, bought in Florence for Mrs. Helen Walton Bishop 6. “Kitty” – an Airedale owned by Mr. John Jacob Astor IV 7. Another Airedale, name unknown, also owned by Mr. John Jacob Astor IV 8. A Chow Chow, name unknown owned by Mr. Harry Anderson 9. A King Charles Cavalier, name unknown, owned by Mr. William Ernest Carter 10. An unknown breed (poss. an Airedale), name unknown owned by Mr. William Ernest Carter 11. A Great Dane, name unknown, owner not identified but maybe Mr William Crothers Dulles? 12. An unknown breed and named dog, owner not identified. One unverified story reported that a man with a Pomeranian, leaped overboard with it, struck a piece of wreckage and was badly stunned. He was pulled aboard a lifeboat but not the dog. Whether this may be the last unknown breed dog or not will never be known.