Julian Fellowes reveals why Downton Abbey’s dog is really called Isis

Lord Grantham's loyal pet, who accidentally shares a name with militant group Islamic State, is a reference to Highclere Castle's Egyptian history, reveals the show's creator

Downton Abbey’s loyal pooch has been attracting a lot of attention lately. And not exactly for the right reasons.


It looks as though Isis  the Crawley’s golden labrador who can be seen in the hit ITV period drama’s opening credits and has never been far from Lord Grantham’s side  is soon to be written out of the show after she was noted to be looking “listless” in Sunday’s episode

Speculation is rife that the dog’s apparently imminent demise is down to the fact that she shares her name with the extremist militant group Islamic State – also known as ISIS – which is responsible for a number of brutal beheadings in Syria and Iraq over the last few months. 

In light of the association, the show’s creator Julian Fellowes is keen to reveal the reason behind the dog’s now unfortunate moniker.  

“Isis was the senior goddess of ancient Egypt. The first dog was called Pharaoh for similar reasons. It is a gag we have with the Carnarvons, because of Highclere’s connection to Egyptology,” Fellowes told The Telegraph

Highclere Castle, where all five series of the period drama have been filmed, is also home to a number of ancient Egyptian artefacts after the 5th Earl was involved in the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Valley of the Kings during the 1920s. 

We’ll have to tune into Sunday’s episode of Downton Abbey to see if the pet is indeed set to meet her maker… 


Downton Abbey continues on Sunday at 9:00pm on ITV