The Corgi from Pembrokeshire has a rather colorful history. Its ancestors were brought to England from the mainland by Flemish weavers in 1107. They eventually settled in Haverfordwest in the southwestern corner of Wales, where they built replicas of the homes and farms of their homeland. The early Corgis that came with the Flemish settlers reportedly resembled Schipperkes and descended from the same family that includes the Samoyed, the Keeshond, the Chow Chow, the Pomeranian, the Finnish Spitz and the Norwegian Elkhound. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi was originally bred and used as sheep- and cattle-herding dog and farm guardian. Because of their small height and low-slung shape, Corgis were prized for their ability to nip at the heels of livestock and still avoid being kicked. They also were used to herd large flocks of geese to market. Over time, they so endeared themselves to their masters that they became beloved household companions as well.
The average life span of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is 12 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include degenerative myelopathy, Ehler-Danlos syndrome (cutaneous asthenia), glaucoma, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, progressive retinal atrophy, refractory corneal ulceration, cataracts, hypochondroplasia (accepted as a breed standard; short legs but normal-sized skull), renal telangiectasia, ectopic ureters and von Willebrand’s disease.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, like his Cardigan cousin, is a long, low dog with large ears that stand erect atop a broad, flat skull. Corgis heads are are fox-like in their appearance. The eyes are round and dark with black rims and the nose is also black. Pembrokes have straighter legs than Cardigans, are not as long, and their heads are more obviously wedge-shaped. Additionally, the Pembroke's tail should be docked to be almost nonexistent. Some puppies are born with very short tails, but these may still need to be docked to meet breed standards. The thick, soft coat comes in red, sable, fawn or black and tan, usually with white markings.
size and weight
Pembroke Welsh Corgis should ideally stand from 10 to 12 inches at the withers, and the weight should be in good proportion to the size. Males should not exceed 30 pounds and females should not exceed 28 pounds. The dog should be approximately 40% longer than he is tall.
Coat & Color
Pembrokes sport a medium length, thick, weather-resist double coat made up of a downy undercoat and a longer, coarser topcoat. Individual coat length and style may vary. Some are slightly fluffy, with feathering present on the ears, chest, legs and feet while others are less fluffy. They all have a slightly thicker and longer ruff around the neck, chest and shoulders. Very fluffy dogs are faulted in the show ring, though this has no bearing on the dog's quality as a companion. Some Pembrokes have wavy hair, other have straight hair. Many have a “fairy saddle over the back,” which is a distinct marking caused by a change in direction and thickness of hair. The name comes from the old legend that fairies rode on Pembroke Corgis. The coat comes in colors of red, sable, black, tri-colored, or fawn, typically with white markings.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are easy to groom. Their medium-length coat only requires a weekly brushing to remove loose and dead hair. Twice a year the Pembroke will shed heavily, and brushing may need to occur several times per week. Frequently bathing a Pembroke will cause the natural weatherproof oils in the hair to break down, so it is important to only bath a Corgi as-needed. They are naturally clean dogs, so most owners typically only need to bathe their dogs once every three or four months. The Corgi's ears should be checked on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean them with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgis my be small, but they pack a lot of dog into a little body. Originally used to herd cattle and hunt rodents in Pembrokeshire, Wales; Corgis were sturdy herding dogs who took their jobs seriously. They would nip the heels of the cattle to keep them in line, and their small bodies enabled them to avoid being kicked. Today, the Corgi is still used on farms and ranches, but is also an energetic family companion. They are good with other pets, make reliable watchdogs, and are trustworthy around children. Corgis have a mind of their own but still have a desire to please people. They pack a large personality, which varies from clownish and attention seeking, to thoughtful and introspective.
Pembroke Corgis are strong willed – they like to be in charge and will resist a hard-nosed trainer. They prefer to do things on their own time, so a lot of patience is required when training this breed. Positive reinforcement and lots of treats will ensure a responsive Pembroke. Once consistent leadership is established, Corgis take well to training and enjoy learning new tasks. After beginning obedience training is complete, Corgis should graduate to advanced training and if possible, involved in tracking and agility classes. This is one “old dog” that likes to learn new tricks, and training should continue throughout their lives.
Pembrokes, like other farm dogs, are excellent watchdogs. They sound the alarm that uninvited people or animals are on the horizon, which can get out of hand if not nipped in the bud at an early age. Proper socialization is important, so that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi doesn't become mistrustful of all strangers. They will also bark if left alone for long periods of time, so apartment and condo dwellers should take this into consideration before adopting a Corgi. While they get along fine with children, Corgis can exhibit dominance over small children, and they have been known to attempt to herd groups of kids. Because their herding behavior involves the nipping of heels, playtime should always be supervised.
Raising quality Pembroke Welsh Corgis is our hobby, but one that we take very seriously. Our dogs are also our companions, they are part of the family. We know the personalities of each of our dog and that matters because those are the traits that are passed down to their puppies. All of our puppies have great temperaments.
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