PEMBROKE WELSH CORGI
Common names: Pembroke, PWC, Pem, Corgi, or Welsh Corgi
Dog Breed Group: Herding Group
Life span: 12-13 years
Weight: up to 30 pounds (male), up to 20 pounds (female)
Height: 10-12 inches
Originating in Pembrokeshire, Wales; the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an enchanting dog whose background is steeped in ancient lore. According to Welsh legend, these charming creatures sprang from the lairs of fairies and elves. They played the role of war horses for fairies before they became herding dogs for humans. Some may also say that these dogs were historically descended from Vallhunds and were brought to Wales by the Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries. Though having muddles with its origin but this dog continues to vigor with its misty and historical pedigree. The Pembroke has been a distinctly separate breed from his cousin the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, but the two breeds often intermixed in the old Welsh breeding centers. Today, the most noticeable differences between the two breeds are the ears and the tail; the Pembroke tail is shorter than the Cardis.
These energetic Pembroke Welsh Corgis always have a smile on their face. They are easy to train and are ranked as the eleventh most intelligent dog in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. Besides herding, Pembroke are enthusiastic competitor in dog sports such as agility, rally, tracking, and flyball. Teach him tricks, take him hiking, get him qualified as a therapy dog — he can do it all. But Pembroke can be domineering. It likes to have their own way, and can be pushy when they want something.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgis are the smallest of the American Kennel Club’s Herding Group. They are built to have a low-set, strong, and active body, giving an impression of substance and stamina in a small space. These dogs have a thick, weatherproof double coat—a soft, light undercoat covered by a coarse outer coat. Their coats can be red, sable, fawn, or tri-colored, usually with white markings on the legs, chest, neck, muzzle, and belly. Some also have a narrow blaze on their heads. Pembroke’s heads are shaped much like the head of a fox. Their eyes are oval-shaped and dark, and their ears are erect.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are achondroplastic, meaning they are a “true dwarf” breed. As such, their stature and build can lead to certain non-inherited health conditions, but genetic issues should also be considered. Some diseases may include hip dysplasia, eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, persistent pupillary membranes, and hypothyroidism. Pembrokes also are prone to cryptorchidism, having one testicle that is retained inside the body, epilepsy, and reproductive problems. Owners should keep tabs on their dog’s overall condition and consult their vet with any questions or concerns that may arise.
The medium-length double coat type sheds a fair amount on a daily basis, and even more so twice a year, in spring and fall. A daily once-over with a comb and a slicker brush will remove a lot of the loose hair and promotes hair growth. During shedding season, baths help to loosen the dead hairs—the dog must be completely dry before brushing begins—and a rake helps strip out the undercoat. Like other dogs, it is important that nails should be trimmed monthly and teeth brushed with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for overall good health and fresh breath.
Athletic and surprisingly fast, Pembrokes were bred to be herding dogs and require plenty of exercises each day. Pembrokes can do well on long walks or slow jogs. Avoid extreme heat or cold, and always provide plenty of cool, fresh water after exercise. Due to herding instinct, they love to chase anything that moves, so it is best to keep them inside fenced areas but not isolated.
These dogs are recommended to have a daily amount of ¾ to 1.5 cup of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals. Pembrokes like to eat and have been described as “walking stomachs.” Therefore they are also prone to obesity given a robust appetite, characteristic of herding group breeds. Monitor calorie consumption and weight level. If having concerns about the dog’s weight or diet, consult the vet.
- Queen Elizabeth II is perhaps the world’s most famous Corgi owner; she typically has four or five at a time and is frequently photographed with them. Her first Corgi, Susan, was a gift on her 18th birthday; most of her current dogs are Susan’s descendants.
- According to Welsh legend, fairies ride them. Some say that the corgi is an “enchanted dog” favored by fairies and elves. At night the magical creatures would use the dogs to pull their carriages and be their steeds in battle. According to legend, the markings on a corgi’s coat suggest the faint outline of a saddle and harness.
- The origin of the name “Corgi” is difficult to determine. Some say it combines the Welsh word “cor,” which means to watch over or gather, with “gi,” a form of the Welsh word for dog. Others have the interpretation that the word “cor” means dwarf, and combine that with “gi,” you have dwarf dog. Either way, these certainly describe the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. And of course, the “Pembroke Welsh” part of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi name comes from the dog’s origins.