Raq, Romany’s Dog

Raq was a constant companion to Romany, in all the books, and all the broadcasts.  This page is for him…

Raq was a blue roan (silver and grey) English cocker spaniel and was Romany’s constant companion on his country walks.  He chose a spaniel because it is ‘the most loveable and sensible thing on four legs’.  The name may appear unusual, but is derived from the Romani language, meaning ‘beloved dog’.

Over the years Romany owned several dogs called Raq, and once even owned a bitch called Ruin!  However, we know most about the last dog, who survived his master by four years, dying in March 1947.  Fittingly, he was buried alongside the vardo in Wilmslow, Cheshire.  He was descended from the internationally famous ‘of Ware’ line of cockers that won Crufts ‘Best in Show’ for so many years in the 1930’s

Plans for Raq's kennel

Plans for Raq’s kennel (it is a shed as well!) – click to enlarge the picture

Often Raq would be in the studio during the ‘Out with Romany’ programmes and would bark whenever his name was mentioned.  Occasionally he would bark when he wasn’t supposed to be in the story, and Romany would have to ad-lib with comments such as ‘Raq!  How did you get out of the vardo?’

The full extent of Romany’s respect and love for his dog emerged in October 2001 when Society member David Gibson unearthed the original builder’s plans for Raq’s kennel (shown above)

During the 1940s the Romany Society had a children’s badge made to commemorate Raq – a picture of one of these is shown on the right (picture copyright belongs to Stuart Williams on a Wikimedia Commons licence [CC-BY-SA-2.0]. You can see his original here).

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