Known for their cute, smiling faces and agreeable nature, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of the most popular, recognizable dogs in the world today. Bred initially for herding, the Corgi’s popularity has soared in recent years, landing it at spot 13 out of the 193 breeds ranked by the American Kennel Club.
According to legend, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi came from the lairs of fairies and elves. However, the breed was actually founded in Pembrokeshire, Wales (hence the name), to help herd sheep and cattle hundreds of years ago. It has been recognized as a distinct breed from its cousin the Cardigan Welsh Corgi since the late 1800s, but they are still often grouped together. Some of their popularity can be attributed to Queen Elizabeth II, a known Corgi fanatic.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PEMBROKE WELSH CORGI
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has several distinguishing qualities, particularly with regard to their appearance and temperament.
Standing around 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder and weighing 27 to 30 lbs, a Pembroke Corgi is a small but comparatively heavy dog. They are definitely a big dog in a small package. With their trademark erect ears, they can often resemble foxes. The shortness of their legs makes their bodies seem disproportionately long, but their bodies are pretty average in length. The legs are just extremely short (but strong). They are long and low to the ground, with deep chests and powerful thighs, equipping them well for a life of work. They are also surprisingly agile. They are sometimes born tailless.
The Pembroke Corgi has a double coat, so it is a considerable shedder. The inner coat is thick and water resistant, while the outer coat is longer and coarser. Some Pems can also have fluffy coats. Brush them at least once a week to remove loose, dead hairs and decrease the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. They come in a variety of colors: red, sable, tan, black, and fawn, with or without white markings. Bathe as needed.
Intelligent and sensitive, the Pembroke Corgi loves to play and spend time with his family. They are also independent and fearless, owing from their history of herding cattle. They are highly active and are great with children, so long as a proper pack order has been established. They make for great watchdogs, and have the bark of a much bigger dog. They take well to training, but can occasionally have a stubborn streak. They have an excellent work ethic, so keep them engaged mentally and physically in order to keep them happy.
Being herding dogs, they are known to attempt to herd their humans by nipping at their heels – this should be trained out immediately. They can also develop a barking problem; if you find your Corgi is barking at you when you are communicating with it, that should be a sign that there is a leadership problem. Work to regain your Corgi’s trust and confidence and re-establish pack order. They can be suspicious of strangers, so be sure to socialize and teach obedience early on in their life. Their average life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.
CARING FOR A PEMBROKE WELSH CORGI
Corgis have specific needs, just like any other breed. Here is some additional information about their nutrition, exercise, training, and health needs to help you get started with your new companion.
As with all dogs, a high-quality, dry food will often be the best choice for your Corgi. Consult with your vet before making a decision. Corgis are particularly prone to getting overweight, so feed them regularly, on a consistent schedule – we recommend twice daily. Pay careful attention to how much you’re feeding them, and be prepared to reduce food or snacks if you see any signs of weight issues.
Corgis require a good amount of exercise to keep them happy and healthy, and avoid weight problems. They thrive when they have a job to do, as it satisfies their herding instincts. Daily walks or light jogs are best since their legs are too short to keep up with fast runners or bicycles. Their short legs also inhibit them from doing a lot of jumping; dog ramps or dog stairs for things like couches and beds are a good idea to have. A fenced-in yard would make for a great play area for a Corgi – just don’t leave them alone for too long, as they are very social and people-oriented. That said, they do perfectly fine as apartment dogs, so long as they get regular exercise and stimulation. They are intelligent and enjoy mental stimulation as well; many owners find that they really enjoy puzzles. Many Corgis also enjoy canine activities like obedience, agility, and tracking.
Exposure to many types of people, animals, and environments at an early age is key with Corgis, as it is with all dogs. Puppy classes and obedience training are important for your Corgi to grow into a well-mannered adult. Pems are an independent breed with a mind of their own, but they are also very intelligent and willing training partners who respond well to positive reinforcement and treats. As with other small breeds, house training can occasionally be a problem – in these cases, crate training is encouraged. They have plenty of energy and enjoy herding, so herding activities are a great mental workout for them.
Pembroke Corgis are typically healthy, so make sure to work with a responsible breeder who tests for things like hip dysplasia, eye disorders, heart issues, and epilepsy. One of the most serious conditions that can potentially affect your Pembroke is degenerative myelopathy, which can and should be tested for by your breeder. They can also be very prone to back disorders, so be careful with their weight and with them jumping onto high surfaces, which can cause fractures. Check their ears regularly for signs of infection.