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Prince William and Kate Middleton have shared their heartbreak at the death of their dog Lupo.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that their beloved dog had passed away last weekend on the Kensington Royal Instagram page today.

William and Kate said Lupo had been 'at the heart' of their family and was even responsible for picking Prince George's name.

They wrote: "Very sadly last weekend our dear dog, Lupo, passed away. He has been at the heart of our family for the past nine years and we will miss him so much. – W & C"

The English Cocker Spaniel was bred from a dog owned by Kate's parents Michael and Carole Middleton.

Lupo, which means wolf in Italian, was given to the couple by Michael and Carole.

The royal couple have shared their heartbreak at Lupo's death
(Image: Getty Images)

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The pooch was responsible for choosing Prince George's name thanks to a game organised by William and Kate.

They wrote down dozens of names on scraps of paper which they scattered across the floor of their home.

Then Lupo was brought in to “select” one by tapping it.

Their pet also appeared in the first official family photo after George was born.

Paying tribute to Lupo, Kate’s brother James today wrote on Instagram: “It is with great sadness that Lupo, the beloved dog of my sister Catherine and her family has passed away.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's dog was bred by Kate's parents
(Image: kensingtonroyal/Instagram)

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“Nothing can ever prepare you for the loss of a dog. For those who have never had a dog, it might be hard to understand the loss.

"However for those who have loved a dog know the truth: a dog is not just a pet; it is a member of the family, a best friend, a loyal companion, a teacher and a therapist.

“There isn’t much of a rule book on how to grieve for a dog, but I’ve said a prayer, lit a candle and taken Ella (Mum) for a long walk to spend time remembering Lupo.

“Rest in peace Lupo. Tilly & Mini will be waiting for you. You will always be remembered and your legacy will live on forever. Good Boy”

It is believed Lupo was behind firefighters being called out to Kate Middleton's family home in Berkshire in 2013.

Prince William carrying Lupo at The Tusk Charity Polo Match
(Image: UK Press via Getty Images)

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A fire crew rushed to the property after receiving reports that a dog – thought to be Lupo – had got its head stuck in a gate.

A spokesman for the Royal Berkshire fire service said at the time: “We were called to an animal rescue.

“The special unit from Reading was despatched along with an appliance from the nearest station, Newbury.

“Our crew got to the manor but were told as they arrived at the gates that the dog, which had got its head stuck, had been freed just a few moments earlier so their services were not needed.

“The animal rescue unit was stood down before it reached Bucklebury and the appliance returned home.”

The Duke of Cambridge took the pooch to Anglesey while he was stationed there as an RAF pilot
(Image: Getty Images)

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Lupo joined the royal family to help Kate cope with all the time apart she was spending from Will in the early months of their marriage.

The working spaniel, who lived with the couple while Prince William served as an RAF pilot in Anglesey, has become a regular fixture in Royal life.

“As someone whose husband has served, I know how hard it feels when a loved one leaves home for the job they trained for,” she said.

“When William served in the Falklands or with Search and Rescue, I remember how it felt. But I can’t imagine how it feels when your loved ones are away on active service.”

In 2013 the Queen is said to have left Lupo the cocker spaniel off the guest list for the Royal family’s celebrations at Sandringham.

"The Queen made it clear that Lupo was not on the guest list," according to a source.