Type: Herding dog/ (Dwarf dog)
Weight: Male – 11-14kg
Female – 10-13kg
Height: 10-12in / 25-30cm
Appearance: The Corgi is a dwarf dog, proportional with other larger breeds but with shorter legs. It has a long body, big erect ears and small to medium dark eyes. Pembroke Corgis have a water resistant coat – an under layer of fine and soft fur and over layer of coarse hairs. The coat can be in five colours – red (with or without white markings), sable with white markings, fawn with white markings, red-headed tricolor, black-headed tricolor.
Temperament: Corgis are still used as working dogs but since they are affectionate and friendly, nowadays they’re mostly seen as family pets. Because of their strong herding instinct they often chase and bark at different moving objects. They are highly energetic and stubborn too.
Skills: Corgis are intelligent and can be trained easily, they’re usually very well motivated by food as a reward but owners need to control their diet carefully as the breed has a tendency to obesity. They were and still are used as cattle dogs and since they are alert and bark (when needed) corgis are great watch dogs too.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Kids: In general Pembroke Corgis are loving animals and seek attention. They behave well around children and other pets and like to please their owners. Their well developed herding instinct does mean that young Corgis love to nip peoples ankles, with proper training this habit can be overcome.
Common Health Problems: Health issues may include degenerative myelopathy, cataracts, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disc disease, Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) with Pulmonary Hypertension, and Von Willebrand’s disease. Pembroke corgis are known to have big appetite too so they may suffer from obesity which can lead to many other problems.
Lifespan: Average 12-15 years.
Corgis are bright dogs and make good students. They respond best to positive reinforcement methods, since they are often extremely food-motivated. No Pembroke Welsh Corgi is going to resist a treat offered as a reward and will try to repeat the behaviour to earn it again. Actions of their own accord can reveal a somewhat saucy and opinionated side of their personality that may have their owners, instead of them trained. Therefore, before setting about training a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, owners should keep in mind that they have a smart, pert dog on the other side of the leash that likes to get things its way. Without proper care, these dogs can become unruly, but with enough dedication, they will eventually reciprocate and become dedicated as well.
Training sessions should be kept short and varied. Corgis learn commands quickly and a prolonged repetition of drilling basic skills is only going to bore them and dampen their enthusiasm. Training should start with something easy, a bit of revision, and introduction of a new challenge – more difficult every day. Sense of achievement is a very powerful motivator for Corgis, and ending the session on a high note is essential to the success of training. This might sometimes mean going back to something easier if the dog can’t perform a new command or trick.
Daily Routines Training
When first brought to a new home, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi should be gently shown around and allowed enough time to get used to the new environment. He should be aware where his food and water dishes and bed are. Feeding and bed times have to be scheduled and kept seven days a week. It usually takes a couple of days for the dog to adjust.
As the puppy grows older, it’s a good idea to introduce the crate. The dog has to be reassured that the crate is his safe place where he can get rest with minimal disruption. It has to be comfortable, with proper air circulation, enough light, and sufficient beddings. The crate should never be used as a “puppy jail”. The dog needs to be comfortable with it so that he can go for road trips, or to the vet in his crate.
A feeding schedule will dictate when the Corgi will have to go to the bathroom. He needs to have a designated relief area and be taken there first time when he wakes up, after feeding and exercising, and before he goes to sleep. Until the age of three months, puppies don’t have enough bladder control and owners need to be patient, as accidents can happen, just as with small children. Shouting or physically disciplining a puppy when he eliminates inside are never encouraged. Instead, owners can say “No” in a firm voice and take him to the relief area. In the first stages of potty training, treats can be used to reward when he successfully uses the toilet area and gradually, as he gains muscle control and clean habits, they can be withdrawn.
Corgis excel at obedience training but its success will depend largely on the owner’s commitment. Before starting with obedience training, the following rules of obedience training should be considered:
- Training is a process;
- Training should come one step at a time and steps should be kept small;
- Training has to be carried out with patience and kindness;
- An honest attempt of the dog to please has to be always rewarded;
- Sense of accomplishment is essential – sessions should not be broken or finishes too early when the dog can’t perform a new exercise;
- Small goals will lead to greater goals;
- Training should never be carried out in a hurry or in a bad frame of mind;
- If the owner enjoys training time, the dog will learn to enjoy it, too;
- Every trainer gets the dog they deserve.
The great aspect of obedience training is that it is not time-consuming – 15 minutes a day are sufficient, and it doesn’t require much space or equipment. Owners new to obedience training may find the varied information and methods of training overwhelming. There is no one right way to train – based on the dog’s individuality, different methods or professional trainers will work best with the dog. If owners are personally involved in training, they should stay open to new ideas and approaches that may be incorporated in their training sessions.
Corgis are believed to take their name from the Celtic word for “dog”. Other theories on the etymology of the name suggest that it stands for “cor” and “gi”, Welsh for “dwarf” and “dog” respectively. The lineage of the breed is rather obscure. Although historical evidence suggests that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is considerably younger than the ancient breed of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, it cannot be regarded as a new breed. Some historians argue it was descendent from Swedish cattle dogs – Vallhunds, which came to Wales with the Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries, and other theories hold that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s ancestors were dogs brought to Wales by Flemish weavers who settled in Wales in the 12th century. The Flemish resided in farms and houses in south west Wales and the dogs they bred were kept as working dogs that fitted their agrarian lifestyle.
Welsh crofters valued Corgis as herding dogs. With their small size, they could avoid being kicked while successfully heeling, driving the cattle farther afield in the common land rather than keeping them herded together, enlarging the grazing area. There are no written records of the breeds crofters used in producing the lower, stockier dogs but the Pembroke is considered to be closely related to Keeshonds, Pomeranians, Samoyeds, Chow Chows, Schipperkes, Finnish Spitz, and Norwegian Elkhounds.
In the UK, Corgis were recognised as purebred dogs by the Kennel Club in the 1920s and were first exhibited in 1925, when they became officially known as Welsh Corgis. The Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis were shown as one breed until 1934 when the Kennel Club recognised the breeds as separate. The most noticeable differences between the Pembroke and the Cardigan are the ears and the tail – the Cardigan has rounded ears and a long tail, while the Pembroke has erect ears, pointed at the tip, and a short tail. Pembrokes are shorter and less heavily boned than the Cardigan. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are the favoured dogs of HM Queen Elizabeth II of England, who received her first Pembroke Welsh Corgi from her father (King George VI) in 1933. Queen Elizabeth has loved the breed ever since, and has owned more than 30 during her reign. There is a pack of Corgis lounging around Buckingham Palace.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis have changed little since the 11th century when they were brought to the southern coastal region of Wales. Their native food supplies were very high in mineral content and today, the breed’s mineral requirement remains very high compared to other breeds. A blend of fish, poultry, lamb, potatoes, carrots, beets, and barley would comply best with the Pembroke Corgi’s nutritional needs. It is best that the minerals in the dietary intake come from coastal sources as well. Supplements can include Calcium oyster shell, Copper gluconate, and Iodine sea kelp, but not Vitamin C since it can cause kidney and liver damage. Pembroke Corgis should not be fed horse meat, beef, citruses, avocado, and soy.
Regular brushing is essential for Pembrokes because of the breed’s double coat with a medium weather-resistant undercoat and a longer outer coat. During heavier seasonal shedding, daily brushing with a 2-in-1 comb or a slicker brush and an undercoat rake, and a static spray to wet the coat before brushing is recommended. Between shedding cycles, frequent brushing with a small pin brush and a hydrating spray can reduce tangles and the amount of shed hair significantly. Regular bathing can also help with excessive shedding. A bath for general cleaning and removing of dirt and grime can be followed by a second bath targeting the specific needs of the dog. Only specialised dog shampoos (hypoallergenic if the dog has allergies) and conditioners should be used. If the Pembroke Corgi doesn’t wear out its nails naturally, they need to be trimmed once a month. Corgis have sensitive ears that need to be checked weekly for infections and cleaned with a cotton ball dampened with mineral oil or a pH-balanced cleaning solution, without poking the ear canal. Eyes need to be wiped regularly to prevent tear stains, and can be flushed with a specialised eye wash to flush the eyes clean of any foreign matter and keep them moist. Teeth should be brushed at least once or twice a week to prevent tartar build-up.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has an active mind and body and needs daily physical and mental exercise to be at its best in the house. It is agile and quick-witted and daily needs a moderate walk on a leash, as well as exercises and training sessions off leash to keep his mind and body stimulated. The breed is physically suited to outdoor living in temperate climates, but sharing family life in a flat or house with an outside yard is far more mentally stimulating for the devoted and amiable companion dog.