the right dog for the right spouse

courtesy wikipaintings.org. public domain
Power and fashion, 1514:  Lucas Cranach the Elder (German; 1472-1553) hits you with a double dose in these Portraits of Henry the Pious, Duke of Saxony, and His Wife Katharina von Mecklenburg. Henry is 41 here, Katharina's 27, and in a few years they will bring official sanction of Lutheranism to Saxony.
Katharina's fluffy white lapdog is almost a twin to her feathery headdress.  I'm never surprised to see a small dog in wifely portraits, since it's iconic shorthand for "loyal and faithful," but without that fellow I can't help but feel she would topple to the left out of view.  (Note, though, that she's said to have been the steelier of the two.)  As for Henry, it takes a look or two to even see the tall, powerful dog with his stout and appliqued collar.  An imposing dog for an imposing man, if a touch lost behind all that slashing and puffing in the clothing.