Women & Dogs: A Personal History From Marilyn to Madonna

The love affair between woman and her best friend captured in this gorgeous book

by Catalina Barrios

Over the past years, decades and even centuries, women have shown the importance they have in society. The role of women has also changed over time. I remember by grandma or how I call her “abuelita” telling me that she was raised with the stereotype that women should stay home taking care of the household while men worked. This still applies in some cultures, but in the majority, women now share the role of supporting the household with their husbands, or live and work independently. 

Writer Judith Watt came up with the amazing idea of featuring a collection of women from the 18th century to the present day with their loyal friends, their dogs. Who says dogs are only man’s best friend!  These iconic ladies are known in the worlds of art, music, politics, sports, film and more. You will travel through history by enjoying the pictures of 80 social and fashion celebrities, ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Madonna. We definitely recommend this read if you’re a dog lover, history buff, or pop culture junkie.

These women all share an interest with us: dogs. Here are a few of our favorites. One year I dressed up for Halloween as #5, and my friends said I looked exactly like her. Who could it be…?

Here are 8 iconic women and their dogs

1. Brigitte Bardot

Credit: Women & Dogs Cover

This French actress, singer, model and dancer was known as the sex symbol of the 1950s and 1060s. Later in her career she became an animal rights activist. In 1986 she created the Brigitte Bardot Foundation dedicated to animal protection.

2. Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein

Credit: AnOther Magazine

American novelist, playwright, poet and art collector was born in 1874 and died in 1946. Not many people knew about her dog devotion. She had two poodles and two chihuahuas.

3. Serena Williams


Credit: Instagram / @serenawilliams

Serena is one of my all-time favorite tennis players. This American dog lover has won 10 of 12 grand slams, 72 career single titles, 23 doubles titles and two mixed double titles. WOW!!! In 1999, year when she won her first Grand Slam, Serena adopted her dog Jackie Baila Pete Williams who died two years ago at the age of 16.

4. Madonna


Credit: Instagram / @madonna

Madonna Louise Ciccone, known after her rise in the 1980s as the Queen of Pop, enjoys spending time with her kids and her dog, Gypsy. Did you know that when Madonna was five years old her mom died from breast cancer? Madonna’s mom’s name… Madonna!

5. Coco Chanel


Credit: TOAST

If you follow the fashion industry, Coco Chanel is a name you won’t forget. It’s hard to resist to Coco Chanel’s No. 5 perfume. Her real name was Gabrielle Chanel but chose the nickname “Coco” after she sang a song about a lost dog called “Coco” at a cabaret. Circa was the designer’s loyal friend. They went everywhere together.

6. Frida Kahlo


Credit: Lisa’s History Room

I remembered in school learning about the life one of Mexico’s greatest artist who began her painting career after she was severely injured in a bus accident. Because of this accident, Frida had over 35 surgeries and could not have children. She loved animals and had many pets and enjoyed having Mexican hairless Itzcuintli dogs by her side.

7. Marilyn Monroe


Credit: Refinery29

I dressed up as Marilyn Monroe in my senior high school year. It took me a long time to find her costume, but the time was definitely worth it. I looked exactly like her, even though it was just for a couple of hours but my costume photo was priceless.

The American actress and model who died at the age of 36 who sadly died from a drug overdose was an animal lover. As a model and actress she was photographed with dogs, horses, elephants, sheep and even a bear. She had nine dogs during her lifetime.

Did you know her real name was Norma Jean Baker and that her first marriage was arranged?

8. Renée Zellweger

Renée Zellweger

Credit: Zimbio

The American actress and three time Golden Globe Award winner is a dog lover and enjoys going for runs in beautiful Santa Monica, California. Did you know Renée in high school was a cheerleader and that she had to gain 20 pounds to portray Bridget Jones? For this role, she ate chocolate bars, pizza and drank milkshakes.

Looks like it’s easy for her to stay in shape with a big fluffy dog asking to be walked!

Pick up a copy of Women & Dogs to see the other outstanding ladies and their canines.