Information about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a herding dog breed, which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is one of two breeds known as Welsh Corgi: the other is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the younger of the two Corgi breeds and is a separate and distinct breed from the Cardigan. The corgi is one of the smallest dogs in the Herding Group. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are famed for being the preferred breed of Queen Elizabeth II, who owns sixteen. These dogs have been favored by British royalty for more than seventy years.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has been ranked at #11 in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, and is thus considered an excellent working dog. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi was ranked as the 25th most popular dog in 2011.
The Corgi is proportional to larger breeds but has shorter legs, yet has a sturdy appearance and an athletic body that helps it herd livestock such as poultry, sheep and cattle. They are short so if livestock tries to kick the dog, the hoof goes right over the dog’s head. Its body is long, and it has a naturally bobbed or docked tail and erect ears. The corgi’s head should be foxy in shape and appearance.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) tall from their feet to the top of their shoulders. The length from the shoulders to the set on of the tail is 40 percent longer than their height. Pembrokes in peak athletic condition weigh 26 to 30 pounds (12 to 14 kg) for males, and 24 to 28 pounds (11 to 13 kg) for females. They reach their full height by 9 months old, but their bodies keep filling out until they reach full maturity at two years. Pembrokes have a big appetite, so they can weigh up to 40 pounds (18 kg) if allowed to overeat. Pembroke Welsh Corgis (Corgwn in Welsh) can benefit from portion control and exercise.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are very affectionate, love to be involved in the family, and tend to follow wherever their owners go. They have a great desire to please their owners, thus making them eager to learn and train. (They can be stubborn, however.) The dogs are easy to train and are ranked as the eleventh smartest dog in The World’s Smartest Breeds. Besides herding, they also function as watchdogs due to their alertness and tendency to only bark as needed. Most Pembrokes will seek the attention of everyone they meet and behave well around children and other pets. It is important to socialize this breed with other animals, adults and children when they are very young to avoid any anti-social behavior or aggression later in life. Due to their herding instinct, they love to chase anything that moves, so it is best to keep them inside fenced areas. The herding instinct will also cause some younger Pembrokes to nip at their owner’s ankles to get attention, but this behavior can be stopped through training and maturity.
There are five “allowed” colors for Pembroke Welsh Corgis:
- Red, with or without white markings, which may appear on the feet and legs, muzzle, between the eyes and over the head as a small blaze, and around the neck as a full or partial collar. Red is the most commonly seen color as it is the genetically most dominant of the colors.
- Sable with white markings, which is like a red but with a light peppering of black.
- Fawn with white markings as described above, which is a lighter red (the red can be from a fawn to a deep red)
- Red-headed tricolor, which is a black dog with a red head, red spots above the eyes, on the sides of the muzzle on the legs and in the ears and around the anal area they also have white markings as described above and the white markings can often obscure some of the red markings of the muzzle and legs. A dog would be considered a mismark if they were black and white with no tan present.
- Black-headed tricolor, (the most recessive color genetically) which is a black and red dogs with red markings (in the same places you would see red on a black doberman) and white markings as described under Red above. A dog would be considered a mismark if they were black and white with no tan present.
Pembrokes should have a “fairy saddle” marking on the side of their shoulders caused by changes in the thickness, length and direction of hair growth. The phrase “fairy saddle” arises from the legend that Pembroke Welsh Corgis were harnessed and used as steeds by fairies. The white markings can be on the feet, chest, nose, stripe on the head, and as white partly or fully around the neck. Pembroke Welsh Corgis have an undercoat of fine soft fur and an overcoat of coarse hair, which makes their coat water resistant. Their coat should be medium length with a little extra on the chest plate.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a double coat with medium length hair and are fairly heavy shedders. In addition to their regular shedding, they blow their coat twice a year (in the spring and fall).
Faults in the breed include: “fluffies” who have long hair, and “bluies,” which is a dilute color. In a bluie that is a red dog, the red color would seem to have a bluish cast to it and the eyes will be light (instead of a dark brown) and the nose, eye rims, lips and pad color would be slate gray instead of black. In a black dog, the areas that would be black in a black dog are instead a slate blue gray. As in the red, the eyes will be light and the nose, eyerims, lips and pads will be slate gray. “Whities” have white in abnormal areas. Fluffies, bluies, and whities should not be bred due to their genetic faults. Other faults include smaller toy-like Corgis, obviously oversized dogs, and Corgis with all short hair as in a Doberman.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be born tailless or with a full tail or anywhere between the two. The Welsh crofters who originally bred them as all around farm dogs felt that the dogs with the shorter tails were better workers, so those with long tails were docked. It became the custom and is one of the breed characteristics to differentiate them from the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Experienced breeders band the tails or have a veterinarian dock the tails within five days of their birth, while the bone of the tail is still soft and the pups have much less feeling in the tail. According to AKC Standards, the tails should be docked no longer than 2 inches (5 cm).
Pembrokes have an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, similar to most dogs. Like people, every animal can be susceptible to certain physical problems as they get older. Pembroke owners must not indulge their dogs by feeding them too much, which can be a hard task to accomplish. Other health problems may include degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and Von Willebrand’s disease if their parents suffered from the same problems. Other top genetic disorders are progressive retinal atrophy, retinal folds, persistent pupilarily membranes, cataracts, cancer and autoimmune system problems, and uterine inertia during whelping, sterility in males. A responsible breeder will have tested the parents for hips, eyes and vWD, all of which can be verified by checking the parents on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) site at www.offa.org.
Pembrokes descend from the line that is the northern spitz-type dog (examples include that of the Siberian Husky).