Pembroke Welsh Corgiss - Breed Introduction
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi was originally used for the purpose of livestock droving, but like most of the most popular breeds, it is more commonly kept as a companion dog today. This breed has the distinction of having a build similar to that of the dachshund – its legs are disproportionately short to the length of its body.
The Welsh word “corgi” translates to “dwarf dog,” and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is, in fact, the smallest dog in the herding group, although it is considered a medium-sized dog overall.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is 10 to 12 inches in height (25 to 30 centimeters), and generally weighs from 25 to 30 pounds (11 to 14 kilograms).
History of Breed
Records indicate that Pembroke Welsh Corgis have been in existence in the United Kingdom since at least 920 AD. Thought to be descendants of spitz-type terriers, the prevailing theory is that they were brought to Wales by the Flemish weavers.
They earned a reputation as solid all-purpose farm dogs, and they excelled at herding cattle and driving geese. They were used extensively in this capacity from the 14th through the 18th centuries.
Closely related to the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Corgi were recognized as separate breeds in the United Kingdom in 1934. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Pembroke Welsh Corgi two years later.
Color and Coat
Pembroke Welsh Corgis have short, thick, weather-resistant undercoats. Their outer coats are thick as well, featuring a medium length and coarse hair.
They may be red, sable, fawn, or black and tan, with or without white markings on the muzzle, neck, chest, and legs. They may also have a narrow blaze of white on their heads. Too much white, however, is unacceptable in the show ring.
Another common characteristic of Pembroke Welsh Corgis is a change in the direction of hair growth and the thickness of the hair over the dogs’ withers. This is called a “fairy saddle,” a reference to a legend that alludes to the dogs being used as steeds or carthorses for fairies.
Personality and Temperament
Many adjectives appropriately apply to the temperament of Pembroke Welsh Corgis. They are affectionate, active, fun-loving, friendly, loyal, intelligent, hardy, spirited, and very adaptable. Pembroke Welsh Corgis love a challenge.
They tend to be suspicious of strangers, and need to be trained as puppies not to growl around new people. They are alert, territorial, and devoted to their families, a combination of traits that makes them reasonably good watchdogs.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are smart and not too difficult to train, but they’ll try to take the upper hand if given a chance, so it’s important for their trainers to firmly establish who’s boss from the start.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis may choose to simply ignore a command if they judge something else in their immediate vicinity to be highly desirable. Handlers have found that one of the best means of training this breed is to appeal to their reputedly insatiable appetites by offering food as a reward for compliance.
However, Pembroke Welsh Corgis can quickly become overweight, so these treats must be low-fat. Cheerios and pieces of carrot fit the bill. Clicker training is also used successfully to train this breed.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis were bred to be active, and they need to remain so. They require an hour or so of daily exercise. They are very fast runners.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis get along well with nearly everyone and are typically patient with children, as long as the children treat them with respect. In fact, they may well form a closer bond to children in the family than to adults.
Socialization is a good idea if they are to be kept with other household pets, as they have a tendency to want to be dominant.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are well-suited to both city and country environments.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are long, low, solidly built dogs with short, straight, well-boned legs. They have a straight topline, and their chests are deep and broad. Their heads and faces are very fox-like in nature.
The head should be flat and wide between the ears. The muzzle tapers, sporting a black nose and a strong jaw with a complete scissor bite. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s eyes are medium-sized, round, and brown in color.
The ears are large, erect, and somewhat pointed at the tip. Historically, Pembroke Welsh Corgis have had very short tails (considered naturally tailless by some); however, the tails can be artificially shortened by docking if need be.
Typical Health Concerns
Though typically a hardy breed, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are susceptible to a few medical problems. Among them are bladder stones, hip dysplasia, and retinal dysplasia.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a tendency to become overweight, which, in turn, makes them prone to back and joint problems. These dogs should be discouraged from jumping from heights, such as the sofa, as they may fracture their short legs or injure their long backs.
As their human counterparts are likely to know from their own personal experiences, diet and exercise can go a long way toward keeping them healthy.
The coat of this breed should be brushed for ten minutes or so two to three times a week. Pembroke Welsh Corgis may be resistant to grooming, and especially dislike having their paws handled.
Handling the feet frequently when these dogs are puppies may counteract this aversion. They should be bathed only when necessary. These dogs shed continuously year-round, including extensive seasonal shedding at least twice a year.
Country of Origin
The Pembroke Welsh Corgis derives its name from its place of origin – Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Average Life Span
The life expectancy of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi ranges from 12 to 18 years, with 13 to 14 years being the most common.