10 Edinburgh… Literary Animals

A city of literature is not just its people, but also its animals. Here are some of Edinburgh’s literary furry friends.

Maisie image


Created by author and illustrator Aileen Paterson, Maisie is a mischievous kitten whose tales have made her an enduring Edinburgh icon. Her picture adorns the side of the number 5 bus to Morningside, where she lives.

The Tattoo Fox image

The Tattoo Fox

The Royal Annual Military Tattoo, held at Edinburgh Castle every year, draw thousands of visitors but it has a furry fan who’s never bought a ticket. Alasdair Hutton made the acquaintance of the Tattoo Fox late one summer evening and was inspired to write her story.

Greyfriars Bobby  image

Greyfriars Bobby

The famous Skye Terrier – Greyfriars Bobby– is said to have guarded his master’s grave in the Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years, inspiring books and films. His statue still sits atop a Victorian water fountain near the graveyard. And it’s NOT considered lucky to rub his nose.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Cuillin image

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Cuillin

To celebrate his childhood visits to the village, a statue of Robert Louis Stevenson as a boy with his pet Skye Terrier Cuillin stands by Colinton Parish Church. Discover the statue and many more related treasures on RLS Day.

Hamish McHaggis image

Hamish McHaggis

Everyone knows that a haggis is an animal, right? Perhaps not, but the story lives on in the form of Hamish McHaggis, the star of a Edinburgh author Linda Strachan’s books for younger readers.

Walter Scott’s Maida image

Walter Scott’s Maida

Next to Sir Walter Scott on the world’s largest monument to a writer is a sculpture of his favourite dog, Maida. Scott also named a breed of dogs. The Dandie Dinmont is named after a character based on James Davidson, who originally bred them, in Guy Mannering.

Wojtek the Bear image

Wojtek the Bear

Adopted as a cub by Polish soldiers in Iran Wojtek had his own rank and number and bravely carried artillery shells for colleagues in battle during the Italian campaign of WWII. Wojtek retired to Edinburgh Zoo and his story is published by Edinburgh publisher Birlinn as Wojtek the Bear: Polish War Hero.

Robert Burns’ Luath  image

Robert Burns’ Luath

Just a few steps up the road from Robert Burns’ first lodgings in Edinburgh on the Royal Mile are the offices of publisher Luath Press. Their name and logo are Burns’ own dog, named after a dog in Ossian’s epic poem Fingal, immortalised in The Twa Dugs, and responsible for bringing Burns and his wife Jean Armour together.

The Elephant House image

The Elephant House

Perched on George IV Bridge alongside two of Edinburgh’s most beautiful libraries is The Elephant House café. Although packed with ornaments, pictures and trinkets depicting elephants of all kinds, it’s better known as a place JK Rowling often sat as she wrote of Harry Potter.

Clarence and Graham, Edinburgh Books image

Clarence and Graham, Edinburgh Books

Clarence the water buffalo is the mascot of Edinburgh Books. It is rumoured that his entire body is on the other side of the wall. His colleague, Graham (a rather stuck-up Grouse), resides in the Scottish window display and disapproves of everything.