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The Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog breeds are famed for their short stature, sturdy body build, and friendly temperament towards their human family.
But that’s not all, these popular herding dogs are gaining popularity because of their delightful persona and adorable looks which makes them stand out from the crowd.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is often confused with the Cardigan Welsh Corgi because of their similar looks, but it’s worth noting that they’re different breeds.
Some of the key highlights of Pembrokes are their shorter stature, pointed ears, and shorter tails when compared to the Cardigans.
Keep reading this guide to discover everything you need to know about the Welsh Corgi, including their rich history as herding dogs and their desirable inborn traits.
A Brief History of the Pembroke Welsh Corgis
As the name suggests, these popular herding dogs can trace their roots to the county of Pembrokeshire in Southwestern Wales.
Historians have many theories proposing the origin of the Pembrokes, but it is generally accepted that they were initially bred during the 10th century.
One popular theory suggests that these working dogs were brought into Southwestern Wales by Flemish weavers.
Other experts postulate that the Pembroke Welsh Corgis are descendants of the Swedish Cattle Dogs known as Vallhunds.
It is believed that these historic Cattle Dogs were imported into Wales by the Vikings during the 9th to 10th century.
Most stockmen who kept working dogs in the past did not store reliable records about the dog’s ancestral lineage.
Either way, the Welsh Corgis were initially bred to herd sheep and cattle by barking and nibbling on their ankles.
Their primary job was to drive livestock in grazing fields and protect them from potential threats since there were no fences separating farmsteads.
Corgis was a popular choice among Welsh cattle farmers at the time, thanks to their diminutive stature which allowed them to move between the animals easily.
The UK Kennel Club recognized these herding canines as a distinctive dog breed in the 1920s. They earned the name ‘Welsh Corgi’ during the 1925 dog show in Britain.
Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgis and Cardigans Welsh Corgis have many similarities and were exhibited under the same class in dog shows.
This classification was split in 1934 when the UK Kennel Club officially recognized the Pembrokes and the Cardigans as two distinctive dog breeds.
The American Kennel Club also admitted the two dogs as separate breeds in the same year. The Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgis made their first appearance in US dog shows in 1936.
Pembrokes have risen through the ranks of popularity among dog enthusiasts in the US, and today, they fall under the top 50 dog breeds in America, according to AKC’s breed registry.
5 Fascinating Facts About Pembroke Welsh Corgis
1. Many Pembrokes are born tailless
After many centuries of tail docking (surgical removal of tails), most modern-day Pembrokes have evolved and are likely to procreate puppies with no tail.
Tail docking was a popular practice among cattle farmers during the historical times, since they believed a tailless dog is less likely to suffer injuries when herding livestock.
2. Queen Elizabeth II loved Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a strong connection with Buckingham Palace, since they’ve been cherished by British monarchs for decades.
King George VI gifted her daughter, then Prince Elizabeth a Corgi in 1933, and this marked a special bond the future queen would have with Pembrokes.
Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has owned over 30 Corgis and several Dorgis (a crossbreed between Corgis and Dachshunds).
At the time of her death, Queen Elizabeth II had four dogs, two of them were Pembrokes, one Dorgi, and one Cocker Spaniel.
3. Corgis were excellent herding dogs
Despite their low riding stature and small legs, Pembrokes were used as herding dogs by Welsh farmers to guide and protect livestock.
The diminutive stature meant corgis were closer to the ground and would nip on the cow’s ankles when controlling them in grazing fields.
4. The name Corgi means ‘dwarf dog’ in Welsh
Nothing speaks about the physique of these amazing herders like their name. The prefix ‘cor’ in the Welsh language means dwarf and the suffix ‘gi’ stands for dog.
So, the name Corgi means ‘dwarf dog’ when translated from Welsh to English. The first part of the dog’s name ‘Pembrokeshire Welsh’ denotes their origin in Southwestern Wales.
5. Two types of Corgis were once lumped together as one breed
In 1925, both the Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi were lumped together in a single classification by the UK Kennel Club.
This led to confusion among dog breeders and favoritism by judges who would give preferentiality to one breed over the other in dog shows.
The strife lasted for about a decade, until 1934 when the UK Kennel Club and their counterparts from America recognized the Pembrokes and Cardigan as separate dog breeds.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppies
Pembroke puppies are nothing short of adorable and charming. These little pups are bundled with high energy and eagerness to learn which makes it easier for new dog owners.
Plan to puppy-proof your home before bringing a Pembroke puppy since they can be jumpy due to their herding instincts.
You’ll also want to create time for socializing with your new puppies to help them adjust to their new environment and instill good manners as they grow.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Physical Characteristics
Size and weight range
A fully grown male Pembroke Welsh Corgi can have a shoulder height of about 10 to 12 inches while their female counterparts are slightly smaller.
In terms of weight, a mature male Corgi can tip the scale within the range of 24 to 30 pounds while a female can weigh an average of 24 to 28 pounds.
Coat colors and texture
Pembrokes have a dense double-layered coat with medium-length fur, that comes in a variety of colors including fawn, sable, brindle, black and white.
Most Corgis have white markings on specific areas on the body including the legs, neck, muzzle, and belly.
The double-layer structure of Corgis helps them keep up with cold weather, thanks to the dense water-resistant undercoat.
The outer coat texture is coarse to the touch, and it is also longer and much straighter than the inner coat.
One of the most distinctive features of the Pembrokes is their fox-looking appearance with ever-alert ears crowned with expressive eyes.
You’ll also not fail to notice the characteristic short legs of Pembrokes, which were adapted for herding cattle. The short legs allowed them to move around the cattle without much resistance.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Temperament and Personality
Pembrokes are known for their friendly attitude toward their human caregivers. Their charming temperament and engaging persona make them a favorite choice among many dog enthusiasts.
These fox-faced canines have lots of energy, which combines with their impressive intelligence and playful attitude to create an ever-playful pup.
The outgoing nature and affectionate disposition of Pembrokes make them a superb choice for families of all sizes including those with kids.
Corgis love taking part in family activities such as evening leisure walks and they can also form strong bonds with their favorite human companion.
Despite their laid-back demeanor with kids, it’s always important to supervise all interactions between your dogs and kids to prevent scuffles from ensuing.
Remember these energetic little canines have herding instincts, which makes them prone to chase and nibble on young children when soliciting for play.
Families with multiple pets won’t have much problem adding a Corgi in their household, so long as the pets are introduced and socialized from an early stage.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Intelligence
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are highly intelligent dog breeds which makes them easy breed to train for command and working roles.
The smartness of Pembrokes was made stronger by selectively breeding dogs who would excel in their ancient working roles.
Herding cattle meant that the Corgi would need quick decision-making to track cattle in one direction and protect them from potential predators.
The brain power of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was appreciated when they emerged in position 11 out of 138 dog breeds tested for canine IQ by Prof. Stanley Coren.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Health and Lifespan
The average life expectancy for a Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog breed is about 12 to 13 years, but it could fluctuate depending on various factors.
You can increase the lifetime of your individual Corgi by ensuring they receive the best care possible and scheduling regular visits to the vet’s office.
Common health issues and genetic disorders
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are generally healthy dogs, but they can be susceptible to certain medical conditions due to poor breeding and genetic factors.
Knowing these medical issues will help you know what to watch out for when caring for your Pembroke at home.
The following are some of the most common health disorders that affect Pembrokes:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Von Willebrand’s disease
- Bleeding disorders
- Eye disorders
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Preventative measures for good health
Before getting your Corgi through a purchase, you need to look for reputable breeders who prioritize the health and wellness of their pups.
Ethical breeders can suppress the bad genes in Corgis to reduce the likelihood of your puppy getting into hereditary conditions.
Another preventive measure is to keep up with regular vet visits to have your Pembroke examined for physical defects and medical conditions.
Early diagnosis of certain chronic conditions can improve the recovery chances of your Pembroke Welsh Corgi through proper medication.
While at the vet, ensure your Corgi is vaccinated against communicable diseases on time. Your vet may recommend some booster shots to strengthen the immunity of your canine friend.
Offering a balanced diet with a proper mix of all nutrients and minerals is essential in maintaining your dog’s wellness.
In addition to nourishment, you can take your Corgi out for regular physical activity to keep them fit and with a healthy weight.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Allergies
Pembroke Welsh Corgis shed modestly with excessive hair fall witnessed during seasonal changes, which means people with allergies should know how to handle them with care.
Grooming your Corgi regularly and maintaining a vacuumed environment can help reduce the amount of fallen fur and skin flakes in your home.
Allergy-prone individuals should also watch out for other common protein allergens from pets including saliva and sweat.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Grooming Needs
Routine grooming through brushing your Pembroke twice or three times a week is helpful to keep their double coat in top condition.
It’s recommended to brush your dog daily during the high shedding months, to control the amount of fur expected to come off.
Slicker brushes and de-shedding tools are some of the popular grooming tools you can use to prevent the matting and tangling of your dog’s fur.
Bathing your Corgi can also help reduce shedding and rejuvenate their skin to look soft and shiny.
If you’re planning to wash your Pembroke at home, we suggest you use canine-specific shampoo for the best results.
While Pembrokes don’t need elaborate haircuts, occasional trimming is necessary to keep them looking sharp.
You might want to trim the fur around their paws and ears to maintain a neat appearance and ensure dirt and debris don’t accumulate in the extremities.
Plan regular nail trims to keep your Corgi paws looking good and prevent mobility issues. Short nails can also prevent the dog from tearing your carpet when scratching or digging during play.
You can keep your dog’s oral health in check by brushing their teeth with canine toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Regular dental care is important to prevent periodontal diseases.
Dental chews and toys can also do a great job of cleaning your dog’s teeth to prevent the accumulation of tartar and plaque.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis have pointed ears which can attract dirt and debris inside the canal.
You can prevent ear infections by cleaning your dog’s ears with a vet-approved ear cleanser a couple of times a week.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Exercise and Activity Levels
Pembroke Welsh Corgis come from a history of herding sheep and other farm animals, so they naturally have inherent energy that needs to be expended positively.
Taking out your Pembroke for regular physical activities for about 45 minutes to 1 hour is enough to keep them in good shape and well-being.
The exercise time can be broken down into short sessions distributed throughout the day, as opposed to having one mega workout period.
The exact period of working out your Pembroke can vary depending on the age, health, the activity level of the individual dog.
Suitable activities and games for Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Pembroke Welsh Corgis can benefit from several activities ranging from indoor puzzle games to outdoor exercising.
The following are some of the suitable physical activities and mental games for your Pembroke Welsh Corgi:
- Brisk walking
- Pet visitation
- Playing fetch
- Obstacle courses
- Puzzle games
While Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be inspired to walk for extended periods, it is essential to know the limits since their short legs will not allow them to tackle difficult terrain.
Importance of mental stimulation
Brain games can help your Pembroke help reduce boredom which could have otherwise prompted them to engage in destructive behavior.
Interactive mental stimulation can help dogs develop stronger emotional connections with their human caregivers.
Brain-taxing games can help dogs develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills, which shapes them to become better pets.
Puzzle games can help prevent mental decline in senior Pembrokes, reducing the chances of canine dementia.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Training and Socialization
Socializing your Pembroke right from their puppyhood stage is valuable because these pups naturally tend to be detached when around unfamiliar people.
This in-born trait makes corgis good watchdogs, but excessive apprehension needs to be toned down because it can make the dog docile.
You can socialize your Pembroke by exposing them to different people, and pets, and taking them to dog-friendly parks a couple of times a week.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are thrilled by activities and challenges. This trait makes them an easy-to-train breed, especially with their high intelligence.
You can start with the basic training such as obedience classes, and graduate your Corgi into advanced training roles such as herding or being a watchdog.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Living Conditions
A Pembroke is a medium-sized dog that can thrive in smaller spaces such as apartments, so long as they receive their daily physical needs.
People living in small spaces should ensure their Corgi is taken for daily strolls around the block and they will also love a weekly retreat at a dog-friendly park.
Large homes with sizeable backyards are suitable for Pembrokes since they offer the needed space to fulfill their innate needs.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Diet and Nutrition
An adult Pembroke can thrive with two high-quality dog meals a day. Effective portion control will depend on several factors including the dog’s age, type of food, and health condition.
Pembrokes are notorious for eating too much and this predisposes them to obesity, so you should avoid leaving too much dog food in accessible places.
We strongly recommend you monitor your dog’s weight and health condition. You can always reach out to your vet nutritionist for a discussion about your dog’s nutritional needs.
Your vet will give you tailored advice on the feeding schedule, dog food type, and the correct food portion based on a comprehensive medical exam.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Pregnancy and litter size
Pembroke Welsh Corgis have an average gestation period of about 63 days, and they can deliver between 6 and 8 puppies in one litter.
The number of puppies birthed is subject to the parents’ health condition, age, prenatal care, and other related factors.
It’s always essential to provide proper care and nourishment to the expectant pup during pregnancy to guarantee their health and that of the upcoming puppies.
Pembrokes are strong-willed but independent dogs who can make great household companions for many families, provided they are well-trained and socialized.
These herding dogs are packed with high energy which should be channeled into positive outlets, otherwise, they will be more than happy to find a mischievous job to do.
The eagerness to take part in family activities and high intellect makes this dog breed easy to train and handle, which is an advantage for novice dog parents.
Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.