Happy Chinese New Year – the Year of the Dog!

恭喜发财 or Kung Hei Fat Choi if you prefer – Happy (Chinese) New Year!

As you probably know, 2018 is the Chinese Year of the Dog.


According to the Chinese zodiac, each year relates to one of twelve animals – from rats to dragons – and your birth year has an influence on your character and fortune. The events of each year can also be influenced by its animal and according to Chinese astrologer Laura Lau, this year will feel very different from last – and that might of course be for the better.

Lau says that, within the Chinese zodiac, the Dog is a true companion, associated with loyalty, honesty, intelligence, and a strong sense of right and wrong. ‘Dogs are known to be swift and passionate believers in their own personal philosophy,’ doing their best ‘to protect high-integrity people and support their cause’.*

According to chinesenewyear2018.com, ‘People born in the year of the Dog are conservative and full of justice. Because of their loyalty, Dogs are valued in the workplace. They rarely break rules, except for people important to them. In life, they only wish to live quietly with their family.’

Many of these qualities can of course be seen in real dogs – and in plenty of fictional ones. And none more so than Murrey, trusty, faithful hound to Matthew Wansford in ‘The Order of the White Boar’. Little more than a puppy in the first book (we see her first when she is so young her eyes haven’t even opened), by the time of ‘The King’s Man‘ she has grown into the loyal hound Matt needs to help him through all the troubles and traumas ahead.

Harry Oct2017

Murrey is a constant, usually silent shadow at his heels wherever he goes, and sometimes even provides a way in to places (and with people) that might otherwise be impossible.

Another famous ‘dog’ who appears in both books is Sir Francis (later Viscount) Lovell, close friend of King Richard III.


A hound surmounts Lord Lovell’s coat of arms, and he has gone down in history as as the ‘dog’ mentioned in the scurrilous piece of doggerel aimed at King Richard and his closest advisers by Lancastrian/Tudor agent William Collingbourne in 1484:

‘The Catte, the Rat and Lovell our dogge rulyth all Englande under a hogge.’

(The ‘Catte’ being Sir William Catesby, the ‘Rat’ Sir Richard Ratcliffe, and the ‘Hog’ of course Richard himself, whose symbol was the white boar.)

Francis proved ever loyal to Richard and his family, clearly displaying at least one ‘Dog’-like characteristic in that, among others that may be attributed to him.

Richard himself also displayed many qualities associated with the year of the Dog – loyalty (even choosing ‘Loyalty binds me’ as his motto), intelligence, honesty (unless you believe the Tudor lies!), and a strong sense of justice, which led to his championing the cause of ‘common’ people, even against the the interests of nobles whose loyalty he himself might have need for.


(Richard’s signature and motto, in Old French ‘Loyaulte me lie’)

Perhaps one can see other ‘Dog’-like qualities in both men – what do you think?

I have no idea whether either 1452, 1456 or 1482 – the years in which these three characters were born – was a Chinese Year of the Dog – but if so, perhaps there’s something in this zodiac-thing!


Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). A third book in the ‘White Boar’ sequence, King in Waiting, will be published in 2021.

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:





My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17175168.Alex_Marchant

About alexmarchantblog

A Ricardian since a teenager, and following stints as an archaeologist and in publishing, Alex now lives and works in King Richard’s own country, not far from his beloved York and Middleham
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