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Welsh Corgis were originally registered as one breed until 1934 when the two varieties of Corgis, Pembroke and Cardigan, were officially separated into their own dog breed by the Kennel Club in the U.K. This decision may have resulted from alternative thoughts from different breeders specifying that they have always been bred separately, and developed separately (they were never one breed). The Pembroke Welsh Corgis (also known as Pembrokes, Pems, and PWCs) were originally bred to herd cattle, sheep, and horses. Breeders wanted to make sure Corgis were bred to be active, intelligent, and easier to train. Their intelligence and eagerness to learn allows this dog to be easy to train. Corgis are great with other house pets, and if you have children they are wonderful with children. Their beautiful coats come in four different colors: fawn, red, sable, or tri-colored (black, red, and tan). Out of the two varieties the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the smaller of the two. They are considered the smallest dog breed in the herding group, and have been recognized by the United Kennel Club. The head of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is fox like with a long pointed snout, erect ears, and dark oval-shaped eyes.

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Did you Know?

  • Crate training is advised for these dogs if their stubbornness make housebreaking difficult, despite their higher intelligence.
  • Pems are part of the herding group, and their herding instinct may cause them to nip at the heels of smaller children while they are playing.
  • They tend to be good watchdogs due to their tendency to bark at anything and everything that enters their view.
  • Be watchful of how much you feed your Pem, because they love to eat and will gain weight if they do not receive a healthy amount of exercise daily.
  • When deciding to adopt a Pem, or any other dog breed, make sure you purchase from a responsible and reputable breeder who has properly bred, raised, and tested the dogs to make sure they are free from genetic diseases. This means, you will want to avoid purchasing a Corgi from puppy mills, and pet stores, that do not properly take care of their dogs.

Breed Characteristics

Adaptability: 4/5

Adapts Well to Apartment Living: 4/5
Good for Novice Owners: 4/5
Sensitivity Level: 4/5
Tolerates Being Alone: 3/5
Tolerates Cold Weather: 4/5
Tolerates Hot Weather: 3/5

All-Around Friendliness: 4/5

Affectionate with Family: 5/5
Incredibly Kid-Friendly Dogs: 4/5
Dog-Friendly: 3/5
Friendly Toward Strangers: 5/5

Health Grooming: 3/5

Amount of Shedding: 5/5
Drooling Potential: 1/5
Easy to Groom: 4/5
General Health: 3/5
Potential for Weight Gain: 4/5
Size: 2/5

Trainability: 3/5

Easy to Train: 5/5
Intelligence: 5/5
Potential for Mouthiness: 2/5
Prey Drive: 3/5
Tendency to Bark or Howl: 2/5
Wanderlust Potential: 2/5

Exercise Needs: 4/5

Energy Level: 4/5
Intensity: 3/5
Exercise Needs: 4/5
Potential for Playfulness: 4/5

Vital Stats

Dog Breed Group: Herding
Height: 10 inches to 1 foot tall at the shoulder
Weight: Up to 30 pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 years

History

Pembroke Welsh Corgis originated in the county of Pembrokeshire, Wales, and their heritage is enthralled in enchanting folklore. Even their breed name is charmed in fantasy. The “cor” means dwarf, and the “gi” (or “ci”) means dog which provides an alternative meaning for corgi – “dog of the dwarfs!” The Welsh Corgi appears to have varying details of their legend (although two children are always involved), let’s explore a couple.

Here is how one Welsh legend goes, and it begins with two children entering the forest who happen to cross paths with a fairy funeral procession. Two fairy tribes entered into conflict (the Tywyth Teg tribe and the Gwyllion tribe) and the conflict resulted in the death of two fairies from the tribe of Tywyth Teg. These two children were then gifted with these two noble warrior’s steeds (Pembroke Welsh Corgi). The children were informed that these noble steeds were great warriors and were very important to the fairy folk, and that due to their size they would be great herding dogs. They would be able to nip at the angry cows, while avoiding their flying hooves. The children were also informed regarding their temperament, and if they start to snarl or nip, it is because the fairies do not give a gift without some strings attached.

The other Welsh legend begins again with two children who were tending to their family’s cattle, and happened upon two puppies. At first the children thought they were foxes, but when they returned home the parents recognized that they were not foxes, they were dogs. The parents then told their two children that these puppies were gifts from the fairies. These dogs were noble steeds that fairies were able to ride into battle, or to simply pull their carriages. The coat of the Pem gives evidence to where the fairies place their saddles on their steeds as the coat still has the marks of the saddle near their shoulders. As these two dogs matured they helped the children to take care of the family’s cattle, and had become treasured companions.

Now, if you aren’t a believer in legends and fairies, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is said to have descended from the Vallhunds. Vallhunds are a Swedish cattle dog that was brought to Wales by the Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries according to historians. Other groups of historians believe these dogs arrived in Wales by Flemish weavers a couple centuries later, the 12th century. Part of this discrepancy stems from farmers who bred these dogs for the jobs they needed accomplished around the farm, but did not keep accurate records of their breeding heritage and matings.

Welsh Corgis were originally recognized and registered as one purebred dog breed in the 1920s, and were exhibited the first time in 1925. In 1934, the UK Kennel Club recognized the differences between the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis and they separated them into two different breeds. The American Kennel Club confirmed the decision and followed suit as they separated them also into two different dog breeds, and these dogs made their first showing in the US in 1936. These dogs are now within the top 50 of dog breeds for family pets, and their popularity also grew when Queen Elizabeth II of England received a Pembroke Welsh Corgi from her father in 1933. This dog was companion to Queen Elizabeth and her sister Margaret, and the dog’s name was Rozavel Golden Eagle. Since Queen Elizabeth received this dog from her father she now has a small pack of them that currently call Buckingham Palace home.

Size

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are between 10 and 12 inches tall at the shoulders, and weigh no more than 30 pounds.

Appearance

Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a double coat, a short thick weather resistant undercoat with a course longer outer coat.  The over all length varies among Pems and over their bodies, it is typically longer along the neck, chest, and shoulders.  Their hair should be fairly straight and can be quite fluffy.  Their coats can be red, sable, black, tri-colored, or fawn, usually with white markings.  Many Pems have what is called a “fairy saddle” along their back where the hair is a different length and grows a different direction than the rest of the hair.  The legend says their hair grows that way because of the saddles the fairies of Wales used when they rode Pembrokes. They have high set ears that prick up and can have varying lengths of hair covering them. 

Their heads have a look similar to a fox, in shape and sometimes even color.  They are a compact build but remain strong, sturdy and have great stamina.  Their eyes are kind and intelligent, and generally dark in color.  They have short strong legs that are about equal in length.

Pems will always have a docked tail as short as possible without it becoming indented.  Most Pems are born with a naturally docked tail ranging from entirely docked to two inches.

Personality

The personality of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is what make them a great family pet. They are known for their intelligence, their loving nature, and for being happy pets; however, as with other dog breeds they can be stubborn while showing their independence toward their human companion. Their intelligence makes them easier to train, but they are not subservient dogs as they will think for themselves. When training, as with other dogs, food treats are a excellent way to increase their learning even though they are eager to please their owners. As a watchdog, they will alert their owner of any suspicious stranger they feel might be threatening their home and family with a quick bark. Pembrokes, like other dogs, will need early socialization that will allow them to become familiar with different sites, sounds, experiences, and even other people while puppies. This allows your dog to become a well-rounded, mature, dog.

Children And Pets

Pembrokes are similar to other dogs, it is wise to never leave your dog unsupervised with smaller children. These dogs have been known to be good with other pets if they have been socialized properly. They are also good with small children; although, as they are a herding dog with herding instincts they may nip at children’s feet or ankles. One item that will be very helpful is to teach young children on how to approach and touch a dog. Young children might want to pull or grab their pointy ears or tails, so be cautious and watchful if you have young children that they also are handling the dog correctly.

Health

Pembrokes are generally healthy dogs, but there are certain conditions that affect their breed. While your individual dog may not suffer from any of the following conditions, it’s a good idea to keep them in mind. If you have access to your dog’s parents and their health records, make sure to get health clearances for both of them to make sure they’ve been tested and cleared from the following conditions. Health clearances can be confirmed by checking the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) website.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a heritable condition passed down from parent to pup where the dog’s femur doesn’t perfectly fit into the pelvic socket of the hip joint, which can cause pain and lameness on one or both rear legs. However, keep in mind that the condition can exist without clinical signs, which is why it’s important to screen your Pem and have them X-rayed to make sure they don’t suffer from hip dysplasia. Dogs with hip dysplasia can also develop arthritis as they age.

Cataracts

Another vision problem that might affect your Aussie is cataracts. Affecting the lens of the eyes, cataracts is a cloudy-looking opacity in the eyes that makes it difficult to see. Fortunately, the condition usually occurs at old age and can be surgically treated.

Cutaneous Asthenia

Also known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, dermatosparaxis, or dominant collagen dysplasia, this condition is usually seen with symptoms of easy and excessive bruising and blood blisters.  The cause for this is a defective connective tissue in the skin itself. 

Cystinuria

This is a condition where high levels of a protein, called cystine, are excreted in the urine, and may indicate stone formation. This is usually a problem only in males.

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Dogs that suffer from degenerative myelopathy act as though they don’t know where their back legs are and cannot move them properly. The reason for that is because DM is a progressive disease that affects the part of the spinal cord that communicates information to the brain about a dog’s hind legs. Since it’s a progressive disease, it will continue to affect the dog until they cannot walk anymore. In most cases there is no treatment and the dog is usually put to sleep. Sometimes, however, the condition may be a result of a vitamin B12 or vitamin E deficiency, in which case supplements are given to help stabilize the condition.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disorder that can cause seizures and can affect Aussies. If properly managed, a dog with epilepsy can live a happy and satisfied life. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this hereditary disorder, so medication must be taken to manage it.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Pembrokes have a high risk for IVDD. This is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space. This can be caused by trauma, age, or simply from the physical jolt that occurs when a dog jumps off a couch. The bulging (or burst) discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.

Treatment usually involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) made especially for dogs. DO NOT give your dog Tylenol or other NSAIDS made for humans—they can be toxic. Surgery can be helpful in some cases if performed within a day or two of the injury. Ask your veterinarian if treatments such as massage, water treadmills, and electrical stimulation are available for dogs, as they can be very successful.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) with Pulmonary Hypertension

PDA is a condition that is a congenital defect.  When taht vascular system allows unoxygenated blood to entirely bypass the lungs then enter the body.  This is generally detected in vet exams while he is still young.  PDA can be treated surgically.  Sometimes dogs with PDA can develop Pulmonary hypertension, this condition is when high blood pressure in in the lungs.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Due to a loss of photoreceptors in the back of the eye, dogs suffering from progressive retinal atrophy will eventually become blind. This degenerative eye disorder can be caught early, even years before symptoms show, which can serve as a preparation for both dog and owner. Dogs will use their other sense to compensate for their vision loss and can continue to have an otherwise healthy and happy life.

Retinal Dysplasia

This occurs when the retina fails to develop properly.  At times the retina may fully detach and result in blindness.  Pems can adjust to blindness and live long normal lives.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

This genetically inherited blood disorder interferes with the blood’s ability to clot. The most obvious symptom is excessive bleeding following an injury or surgery. Other minor symptoms are bleeding of the gums, nose bleeds, or other more serious symptoms of bleeding in the intestines or stomach. There is no known cure for this condition. Most dogs diagnosed with this condition can live normal lives.

Maintenance

Care

Pembrokes have higher energy levels and require a good amount of exercise each day as they were bred to be herding dogs; although, they have high energy they are perfectly fine living in apartments as long as they get the exercise and stimulation their bodies require. Similar to Dachshunds, Pembrokes have elongated backs and short legs that may get injured from hopping onto and down from furniture. If not careful, fractures are common with this dog breed. They are able to adapt nicely to city life and as they are herding dogs country life is heaven. Their coats allow them to do well in almost any weather climate. As they are people dogs, it is recommended that they are not left out in the backyard alone for long periods of time.

Feeding

The recommended daily amount of food would be 3/4 to 1.5 cups of high quality dry food. This range of food amount would be divided into two meals each day. As with other dogs, Pembrokes will vary in activity levels, age, height, size, metabolism, and weight. In light of this fact, each adult dog will vary in how much food they require daily. A highly fit, active, and young adult Pem will require more food than an older Pem that is a less active adult dog. Like other mammals, the better our food the more nourishment we will receive. So, the better dog food you purchase for your dog, the more it will go to nourishing your dog and keeping them healthy. Pembrokes love food, and will over-indulge themselves (like other dogs) if they are provided the chance. One way to know if your Pem is overweight is through hand-on and eye test. With your eyes, when you look down at him, you should be able to see the his waist. With your hands, you will pet him down his back while your thumbs are on the spine and your fingers along the ribs. If you can feel his ribs without pressing hard, then your dog is fit and eating well. If you cannot see the dogs waist, and you have to press harder to feel his ribs, then your Pem requires more activity and less food.

Grooming

The length of a Pembroke coat will vary with body of each dog. Their coats are thick and double-coated. The undercoat is much thicker than the topcoat which is longer. This means that they will shed more often, and at least two times a year they will experience heavier shedding. Pems with coats that are more fluffy will tend to have excessive feathering around their legs, chest, feet, and ears also. As Pembrokes were the noble steeds of fairies, their coats give evidence to where the fairies placed their saddles. On their backs there are markings caused by the change of thickness and direction of their fur near their shoulders. This is where the fairies placed their saddles — as the legend goes.

Due the nature and personality of Pembrokes they are easy to groom; although, shedding may be somewhat of a problem when owners do not keep up on brushing. This is especially true during warmer seasons if brushing is not kept up, thus, daily grooming is recommended. Regular bathing, as needed, is all that is required; however, some have found that bathing more often will help reduce heavy shedding.

Other grooming tips include trimming their nails about once a month and checking their ears once a week (for dirt, redness, or bad odor, which might indicate an infection). When cleaning their ears, wipe them with a cotton ball that’s been dampened with a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner. Since they love to chew, it’s probably a good idea to buy them sturdy, safe dental chew toys or bones, as this will keep their teeth clean and they’ll be fighting tartar buildup while they chew.

Additional things that you can do to maintain their mouth care is to brush their teeth with a soft toothbrush and specially made dog toothpaste. This will help keep their gums and teeth in great shape.

Common Questions

Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis born with tails?  Many Pembrokes are born with naturally docked tails, at times they are born with full tails which have been traditionally docked when they are a few days old.  Docking of tails has more recently become illegal in many countries. 

What does it cost to buy a Pembroke Welsh Corgi?  Pure bred Corgis can range in price from $600 to over $1,000.  Variables that change pricing are the breeder, the quality of parents, full registraion versus partial registration, etc. 

Do Pembroke Welsh Corgis have many health problems? Pembroke Welsh Corgis can have health problems.  It is important to be mindful who you purchase from and ask about parents health records.  Having the parents health records will give you a better idea of possible health problems he might have.

Do Corgis bark?  The short answer, yes.  They were bred for herding and that required them to bark to move livestock, it is still in their blood.

Resources

Unfortunately not everyone that purchases a Corgi fully understands everything that goes into raising and training a well behaved, healthy Dachshund.  There are many Corgis in need of a loving home whether that be through adoption or fostering.  Below is a list of Rescue agencies that have Corgis.  If you do not see a local rescue below you can contact a local or nation Pembroke Welsh Corgi Breed Club and ask them. 

Rescue

Breeders