The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an adorable dog breed that has stolen the hearts of many over the years. Originating as cattle herding dogs in Wales, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are now popular family pets and have even gained fame from Queen Elizabeth II’s love for the breed.
With their fox-like heads, alert ears, short legs, and long bodies, it’s easy to see why Pembroke Welsh Corgis are so endearing. Beyond their cute looks, Pembroke Welsh Corgis have lively and affectionate personalities, making them excellent companions. At the same time, their herding background gives them high intelligence and trainability.
For those considering adding a Pembroke Welsh Corgi to their family, it’s essential to understand the breed’s unique traits. This article will cover everything you need to know about Pembroke Welsh Corgis, from their history and appearance to their temperament, health, and care.
Table of Contents
The History of Pembroke Welsh Corgis
While the exact origins of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi are unclear, most believe the breed developed over 1,000 years ago in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Their ancestors were likely Swedish Vallhunds brought to Wales by Vikings or Flemish dogs brought by weavers. Farmers bred these dogs for their cattle herding abilities, valuing intelligence and agility over appearance.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi was an indispensable herding dog in Wales for centuries. Their low stature allowed them to avoid getting kicked while expertly controlling cattle. The breed’s popularity expanded in 1925 when the Kennel Club in Britain recognized them as purebreds. Shortly after, the breed made its way to the United States.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi gained international fame in 1933 when King George VI gifted a Pembroke puppy named Dookie to his daughter, Princess Elizabeth. This began Queen Elizabeth II’s lifelong love of the breed. She has owned over 30 Pembroke Welsh Corgis during her reign.
What is Special About Corgi Dogs?
Several unique traits make the Pembroke Welsh Corgi stand out. First, their bodies are long, but their legs are short, giving them an appearance unlike most other breeds. They are also one of the most miniature herding breeds. They weigh under 30 pounds and have high energy and agility in a small package.
Additionally, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are incredibly smart and trainable, thanks to their history as herders. They enjoy having a job to do and learning new tricks. The breed is devoted to its family while still being an excellent watchdog. Despite their small size, Pembrokes will readily bark to alert owners of anything suspicious.
Lastly, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has become famous online for their prominent personalities. Videos and photos showing them “sporting” (laying on their bellies with legs splayed behind them) regularly go viral. They’ve also gained popularity from public figures like Queen Elizabeth II.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Appearance
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a fox-like head with erect ears and an intelligent, animated expression. Their heads are proportionate to their moderately long bodies and short legs. Pembrokes measure 10-12 inches tall at the shoulder, but their bodies can be up to 30 inches long.
A weather-resistant double coat covers the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s athletic body. The undercoat is thick and soft, while the outer coat contains longer, coarser hairs. Pembrokes shed year-round, with heavier shedding during spring and fall.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis sport a variety of coat colors. Standard colors include red, sable, fawn, and black. Most will have white markings on the legs, chest, neck, belly, and muzzle. The breed occasionally features “fairy saddle” markings on the back, named from the mythical story of fairies riding Pembrokes.
Are Corgis Good Dogs to Own?
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi makes an excellent companion for the right family. They are loving dogs who enjoy being close to their owners. Since they were bred as herders, they excelled at learning commands, tricks, and jobs around the house. Pembrokes are eager to please and train quickly with positive reinforcement techniques.
Providing daily exercise is a must for this energetic breed. Pembrokes enjoy brisk walks, playing fetch, or learning dog sports like agility. Mental stimulation through training or interactive toys is also essential. Without proper activity, these intelligent dogs become bored and destructive.
Potential owners should be aware that Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known to bark frequently. Early training can curb excessive barking, but it remains a part of the breed’s watchful nature. Households with young children must also monitor playtime since Pembrokes may nip ankles while “herding.”
Overall, Pembrokes make excellent family dogs for owners who can meet their activity needs. Their affectionate and playful personalities and trainable attitudes make them excellent companions. They thrive when included in family activities and given plenty of attention.
Are Corgis a Difficult Breed?
While Pembroke Welsh Corgis are not the most difficult dogs to own, they have some potential challenges. As herding dogs, they are independent thinkers and can exhibit stubbornness during training. Consistent, positive reinforcement training is vital. Pembrokes appreciates having a job, so owners must provide ample mental and physical stimulation.
Pembrokes are prone to overeating and weight gain. Keeping treats minimal and limiting food helps prevent obesity. Monitoring Pembroke’s activity and diet takes dedication but is essential for their long-term health.
Their long, shedding coats also require weekly brushing and shedding control. Pembrokes should be bathed and have their nails clipped as needed. Their ears need regular checking and cleaning as well to avoid infections.
For families able to provide ample exercise, training, and grooming, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi does not present any challenging traits. Their friendly, outgoing personalities and moderate care needs make them excellent family companions.
What 2 Breeds Make a Corgi?
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi originated from two ancient dog breeds brought to Wales. The first potential ancestor is the Swedish Vallhund, from Scandinavia. Vikings brought these dogs to Wales as early as the 9th century. The second possible ancestor is the Keeshond, a breed descended from German dogs and got to Wales by Flemish weavers in the 12th century.
Over the centuries, Welsh farmers bred the Vallhunds, Keeshonds, and their descendants for skilled cattle herding. Selective breeding led to the intelligent, short-legged dogs that became the foundation for the modern Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Today, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the nearly identical Cardigan Welsh Corgi are recognized as two distinct breeds. However, the Pembroke and Cardigan originated from those early Swedish and German herding dogs.
What is the Rarest Corgi Color?
Of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s accepted coat colors, sable is the rarest. The Kennel Club defines sable as fawn or reddish-brown hairs mixed with some black tipping. Most sable Pembrokes will have lighter underbellies but darker fur on their back and sides.
Other uncommon Pembroke coat colors include tri-color (black, tan, and white), brindle, and blue merle. Merle refers to a marbled coat pattern, similar to a blue-gray speckled effect.
Breeders often charge more for rarer colored Pembrokes. However, coat color does not affect Pembroke’s potential as a pet. Prospective owners should focus on health and temperament rather than coat appearances when selecting a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Temperament
Intelligent, affectionate, and energetic best describe the Pembroke Welsh Corgi temperament. Pembrokes form close bonds with their human families and constantly seek attention and playtime. They show their love through cuddling, mischievous behavior, and always wanting to be by their owner’s side.
The breed excels at learning tricks, agility courses, or other interactive activities stimulating their body and mind. Their herding background leads them to nip, bark excessively, or develop anxious, destructive behaviors if understimulated.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis thrive when they have jobs like herding toys or protecting the home. Early socialization helps curb problematic herding toward children or other pets. Despite their small size, Pembrokes are vigilant watchdogs quick to sound the alarm if they sense danger.
Overall, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is best suited for active owners who have time to exercise, train, and play with this energetic breed daily. Their affection and eagerness to please make training a fun experience. A bored or lonely Pembroke can become mischievous, so providing proper attention is vital.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Health
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are generally healthy, long-lived dogs. They have an average lifespan of 12-15 years with proper care. There are several genetic issues the breed must be aware of when acquiring a Pembroke. Reputable breeders should test breeding dogs for these conditions:
- Hip Dysplasia – An abnormal hip socket formation that leads to arthritis.
- Degenerative Myelopathy – A progressive spinal disease that causes paralysis.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease – A bleeding disorder.
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi Health Problems
- Intervertebral Disk Disease – Ruptured disks in the spine causing pain and nerve issues.
- Eye Conditions – Like cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy causing vision loss.
- Obesity – Pembrokes quickly gain weight, putting strain on joints.
Owners should also watch for signs of ear infections, urinary stones, bloating, and allergies. Catching any emerging conditions early and maintaining a healthy weight helps ensure a long, comfortable life.
Caring for a Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has moderate care needs. Their weather-resistant coat requires weekly brushing to control shedding. Baths every few months help keep their coat and skin healthy. Additionally, nail trims and dental care through brushing 2-3 times per week improve overall wellness.
This athletic breed needs at least an hour of exercise daily. Pembrokes enjoys walks, playing fetch, or participating in dog sports. Mental stimulation through training classes or puzzle toys is also essential. Without adequate activity, they can become destructive or neurotic.
A Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s ideal home has a securely fenced yard. Access to an agility course or herding trials provides an outlet for their natural skills. They need owners committed to daily walks and play if housed in an apartment. Pembrokes should not be left alone for long periods, as they can develop separation anxiety.
Due to their tendency to overeat, Pembrokes need careful portion control and diet monitoring. Avoid leaving food out all day. Feed set meals and use treats sparingly for training. An overweight Pembroke suffers from extra strain on their joints and a higher risk of related issues like hip dysplasia.
A Pembroke Welsh Corgi will thrive as a lively and loving family companion with adequate exercise, nutritious food, training, and veterinary care. Their moderate grooming needs make them relatively easy to care for in most home environments. Overall, they are generally healthy dogs.
Finding a Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi became popular after Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. Unfortunately, irresponsible breeding to meet demand caused health problems in some lines. Today, reputable breeders carefully screen their dogs for heritable conditions.
A prospective owner should research breeders to find those who complete all recommended health testing on their breeding stock. Avoid purchasing a Pembroke from pet stores, as these puppies often come from puppy mills without health testing.
Adopting a Pembroke Welsh Corgi from a rescue organization is another great option. Adult rescues allow people to skip the puppy stage while welcoming a loving Pembroke into their family.
Whether purchasing from a breeder or adopting, new owners should request veterinary records. Meeting the parents (or the mother) provides important temperament clues for the puppy. This helps ensure a smooth transition, bringing home a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi suits many lifestyles with their affectionate nature and moderate activity needs. However, they require plenty of attention to thrive. Pembrokes form strong bonds with their families and function best as full-fledged household members. With their herding intelligence, they excel at dog sports and learn tricks to please their owners.
For centuries, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has endeared itself to the people of Wales. Today, these cute, quick dogs enjoy life as enthusiastic companions and cherished family pets in homes worldwide. With good care and training, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s clever yet loving temperament shines through, making them an excellent dog breed.