Corgi Dog Breed Guide

Corgi Dog Breed Guide

Small in stature but big on personality, Pembroke Welsh corgis are memorable characters. They are wonderful family pets and can live happily both in the countryside and the urban environment. Fun-loving and full of life, they build amazing relationships with their owners. Sadly, this breed has somewhat fallen out of favour in recent years and is now on the Kennel Club’s vulnerable breed list.

Which breed group is the Pembroke Welsh corgi in?

Breed group: Pastoral

Pembroke Welsh corgi breed history

An historic breed which has been with us for several centuries, the Pembroke Welsh corgi is something to treasure. Records of these dogs date back to 920AD and it is believed that they were taken to Wales by 14th century Flemish weavers. Legend has it that the saddle markings on their backs appeared because the dogs were ridden by fairies.

The breed was officially recognised by the Kennel Club in 1928 but at this time, there no distinction was made between the Pembroke and Cardigan corgis. These were recognised as separate breeds from 1934. There are few breeders of Pembroke corgis these days which means that there is often a waiting list for puppies. Pembroke Welsh corgis are less common than they used to be in the UK but remain hugely popular in America.

The Queen has kept Pembroke Welsh corgis for almost 80 years. She was given her first dog, Susan, by her father, King George VI. All of her dogs have been descendants of Susan but she stopped breeding after the death of the Queen Mother.

Pembroke Welsh corgi breed characteristics

Surprisingly strong and boasting impressive stamina, the Pembroke Welsh corgi has been described as a big dog with short legs! Its fox-like head is unmistakeable and this dog possesses intelligent looking eyes. Slightly rounded ears are held pricked and the corgi has a reasonably long neck together with a long body. The corgi’s straight and medium-length coat features a dense undercoat and can be red & white, sable & white or tricolour. Pembroke Welsh corgis possess naturally boobed or docked tails whereas Cardigan corgis have long tails.

Intelligent and easy to train, the Pembroke Welsh corgi enjoys family life and loves to be involved in everything. They don’t require extensive grooming but do need a generous amount of exercise. Their high prey drive means that they will chase anything and everything when out and about!

  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Height: up to 30cm
  • Weight: up to 12kg
  • Long body
  • Short legs
  • Strong
  • Impressive stamina
  • Strong prey drive
  • Shed extensively
  • Loyal and friendly
  • Easy to train
  • Adaptable
  • Need plenty of exercise

Health issues with Pembroke Welsh corgi

A robust breed which generally enjoys excellent health, the corgi is, however, prone to obesity and can suffer from the following conditions:

  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Hip dysplasia - dogs should be hip scored
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
  • Cancer
  • Monorchidism
  • Patellar luxation

What is the Pembroke Welsh corgi bred for?

Corgis were originally bred to herd cattle and sheep. With their short stature, they could nip cattle on the heels and then duck to avoid the inevitable kicks.

What sort of owners does the Pembroke Welsh corgi suit?

Friendly, low-maintenance and easy to train, this breed is an excellent choice for inexperienced owners. They get on well with older children and are fabulous watchdogs. These characterful little dogs do have tendency to nip heels and so are not suited to homes with small children.

Corgis can live happily anywhere including small houses and apartments, but they do shed extensively throughout the year. They can be troublesome barkers and require a significant amount of exercise. Corgis are best suited to households where at least one person is at home all day as they will suffer separation anxiety if left on their own.

Are Corgis At Risk Of Extinction?

You would think that being the queen's favourite dog breed would make the Corgi extremely popular. Maybe it did a long while ago, as Corgis have been in British Royalty since the 1930's but today they have suffered a big fall in popularity. Queen Victoria has always had Corgi's, we have seen them at Royal events and they even made an appearance in a video shown during the Olympics. They are a very well know dog breed but that doesn't necessarily mean everyone wants to own one.

The Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi's numbers have been in decline over the last few years. Now, for the first time ever they have made their way onto the Kennel Club's list of vulnerable dog breeds. Dog breeds make it onto this list when there are fewer than 300 puppies registered. In 2014 there were only 274 new Corgi puppies registered in the UK. Other dog breeds currently on the Kennel Club's list of vulnerable dog breeds include smooth Collies, Irish Red Setters, Deerhounds, King Charles Spaniels and Lakeland Terriers.

It is difficult to say why this lovely breed has fallen out of the spotlight. A few possible reasons could be that it is seen as an older person's dog, the breed has become less popular since tail docking was banned and it has competition from breeds such as the French Bulldog. We don't understand why this charming, great natured breed has been overlooked so much. Corgi's are intelligent, playful and loyal dogs that are great with kids. They have long bodies and very short legs and always seem to be smiling, which naturally adds to their appeal.

Caroline Kisko of the Kennel Club 'Any breed, which has fewer than 300 registrations in a year is classified as being vulnerable. From a genetic point of view it means their gene pool can drop and this can have consequences for any breed in terms of their future breed health.

It's also rumored that even the Queen won't be getting any more Corgis because they are a tripping hazard for her. It's sad news for the Corgi but hopefully their numbers will pick up in 2015 and we won't lose this well known British breed. Kisko also said 'It would be incredibly sad not to see this quintessentially British breed in our streets and parks in a few generations' time. '

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