Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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pembroke welsh corgi portrait
Meet the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the pint-sized powerhouse that's stolen countless hearts with their adorable antics and royal charm. These stubby-legged, big-eared furballs are known for their mischievous grins and exceptional herding skills.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an ideal companion for a wide range of dog enthusiasts, from first-time owners to experienced handlers. They also thrive in homes with a securely fenced yard, but can adapt well to apartment living, provided they receive adequate daily walks and mental stimulation.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEPembroke Welsh Corgi
OTHER NAMESCorgi, Pembroke, PWC
ORIGINWales
BREED GROUPHerding Group
BREED SIZESmall
HEIGHT10-12 inches
WEIGHT22-30 lbs
LIFESPAN12-13 years
LIVING SPACESmall
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERHigh
GROOMING NEEDSModerate
EXERCISE NEEDSHigh
TRAINABILITYHigh
BARKING TENDENCYModerate
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK11th
pembroke welsh corgi sitting in green summer grass
Photo: bruev/Getty Images Pro

Appearance

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a small but sturdy breed, boasting a unique appearance that distinguishes them from other breeds. Their physical characteristics are a delightful blend of strength, agility, and cuteness, making them undeniably charming.

In terms of height and weight, adult Pembroke Welsh Corgis typically stand between 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 24 to 30 pounds for males and 22 to 28 pounds for females. Despite their small stature, these dogs possess a surprisingly strong and athletic build, enabling them to excel in various activities.

One of the most striking features of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is their elongated body, which is well-balanced and supported by short, powerful legs. This low-slung silhouette serves as a reminder of their herding heritage, as it allows them to easily navigate under larger livestock to nip at their heels and keep them moving.

Another noteworthy characteristic of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is their tail—or lack thereof. While some Corgis are born with naturally short tails, others have their tails docked when they are a few days old. This practice stems from historical working purposes and remains a breed standard in some countries, though it is increasingly being questioned for ethical reasons.

The head of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is distinctly fox-like, with a slightly rounded skull, moderately wide muzzle, and a well-defined stop. Their ears are large, erect, and slightly rounded at the tips, giving them an alert and inquisitive expression. The eyes of a Corgi are medium-sized, oval-shaped, and dark brown, contributing to their intelligent and friendly gaze.

When it comes to their coat, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a weather-resistant double coat that consists of a thick, soft undercoat and a coarser, water-repellent outer coat.

Their fur comes in a variety of colors, including red, sable, fawn, and black and tan, often accompanied by white markings on the face, neck, chest, legs, and tail. The breed’s coat is typically medium-length and straight, with a slight wave being acceptable.

Overall, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s appearance showcases its unique combination of strength, agility, and undeniable charm. From their compact yet powerful build to their expressive features and lush coat, these delightful dogs are truly a sight to behold.

pembroke welsh corgi running on grass
Photo: Kurt Pas/Getty Images

Temperament

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a breed with the confidence of a lion, the curiosity of a cat, and the heart of a teddy bear. With their short legs, long bodies, and expressive faces, Pembrokes are an irresistible blend of charm and character.

Corgis are incredibly social creatures. They love their families with all their hearts, often becoming particularly attached to one special person. They’re the kind of dog that will follow you around the house, happily wagging their tail and offering their favorite toy just to get your attention. Their smiles are infectious, lighting up any room they enter.

But don’t let their adorable appearance fool you. Behind those sparkling eyes lies a sharp mind. Corgis are intelligent and quick-witted, always ready to learn something new. They’re like the honor students of the dog world, absorbing new information with eagerness and enthusiasm.

That being said, their intelligence has a fun side-effect: a dash of stubbornness. Corgis are independent thinkers, and they’re not afraid to show it. They’ll often try to outsmart their humans, leading to some comically frustrating situations. Picture a Corgi pretending not to hear you when you call them, only to come bounding over when they hear the treat bag rustle. It’s this cheeky attitude that makes them so endearing.

Despite their playful stubbornness, Corgis are also incredibly adaptable. They can thrive in various environments, from bustling city apartments to sprawling country estates. They’re comfortable in the spotlight or behind the scenes, making them versatile companions.

When it comes to other animals and kids, Corgis are generally friendly and patient. They enjoy the company of their fellow pets and are gentle with children. However, their herding instincts might kick in, leading to some harmless but amusing attempts to herd their human family members.

In essence, owning a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is like living with a small, furry comedian. They’re sure to keep you on your toes with their antics and fill your home with laughter. Their loyalty, intelligence, and affectionate nature make them wonderful companions.

two pembroke welsh corgis playing in the park
Photo: Kurt Pas/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

The ideal environment for a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one that caters to their physical, mental, and social needs, ensuring their overall well-being and happiness. These adaptable dogs can thrive in a variety of settings but do best when provided with ample opportunities for exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship.

Physical Environment

In terms of physical environment, Corgis are versatile and can adapt well to both urban and rural living conditions. While they appreciate having access to a securely fenced yard where they can run and play, they can also adjust to apartment living as long as their exercise requirements are met through daily walks and engaging play sessions.

It’s essential to keep in mind that their short legs and elongated bodies make them prone to back issues, so providing a home with minimal stairs or easy access to outdoor spaces is a plus.

Climate Adaptability

Regarding climate adaptability, Corgi’s double coat offers some protection against both cold and hot temperatures.

In colder climates, their thick undercoat provides insulation, allowing them to tolerate low temperatures reasonably well. However, during extreme cold or snow, it’s still important to limit their exposure and consider providing them with protective gear like a dog coat or booties.

In warmer climates, Corgis can be more susceptible to overheating due to their dense coat. To keep them comfortable and safe, ensure they have access to shade, fresh water, and avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day. Regular grooming, including brushing and occasional trimming, can also help maintain their coat’s health and manage heat better.

Ideal Owner

When it comes to pet parents, Corgis are well-suited for individuals or families who are active, attentive, and willing to dedicate time to training and socializing their furry companion. Corgis thrive on human interaction and do best with owners who can provide consistent companionship, structure, and positive reinforcement.

Other Pets

As for other pets, Corgis generally get along well with fellow canines, cats, and even smaller animals, provided they have been properly socialized and introduced. However, it’s important to remember that their herding instincts may cause them to chase or attempt to “herd” other animals, so monitoring and training are crucial to ensure harmonious relationships among all household pets.

pembroke welsh corgi walking near a pool
Photo: muhannad alatawi/Pexels

Grooming

Pembroke Welsh Corgis, with their lush double coats, require regular grooming to maintain their overall health and appearance. A consistent grooming routine not only keeps your Corgi looking its best but also helps prevent potential health issues, such as skin problems or infections.

Coat Care

The cornerstone of a Corgi’s grooming routine is regular brushing. Their dense double coat consists of a soft undercoat and a coarser outer coat, which work together to provide insulation and protection from the elements.

To manage shedding and prevent matting, it’s essential to brush your Corgi at least two to three times a week using a slicker brush or an undercoat rake. These tools help remove loose hair and detangle any knots that may have formed.

During seasonal shedding periods, which typically occur twice a year, you may need to increase the frequency of brushing to daily sessions to keep up with the increased hair loss.

Corgis generally require a bath every 4 to 6 weeks, or as needed if they become particularly dirty or start to develop an odor. When bathing your Corgi, be sure to use a gentle, dog-specific shampoo and conditioner to avoid irritating their skin. It’s crucial to ensure that you rinse out all soap residues thoroughly, as leftover shampoo can lead to skin irritation or dryness.

After bathing, towel-dry your Corgi and, if necessary, use a hairdryer on a low heat setting to finish drying their coat. Be cautious not to over-bathe your Corgi, as this can strip their coat of essential oils and cause skin issues.

Ear Care

Regular ear cleaning is an important aspect of your Corgi’s grooming routine. Check their ears weekly for signs of redness, swelling, or foul odor, which could indicate an infection. To clean your Corgi’s ears, use a pet-specific ear cleaning solution and a cotton ball or soft cloth to gently wipe the outer ear canal. Avoid using cotton swabs, as they can inadvertently push debris further into the ear or damage the delicate internal structures.

Dental Care

Maintaining your Corgi’s dental health is essential to prevent issues such as bad breath, gum disease, and tooth loss. Brush their teeth daily or at least a few times a week using a soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste. In addition to regular brushing, consider providing dental chews, toys, or treats designed to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

Nail Trimming

Corgis require regular nail trimming to keep their nails at a comfortable length and prevent them from becoming overgrown or splitting. Ideally, trim your Corgi’s nails every 3 to 4 weeks using a guillotine-style or scissor-style nail clipper designed for dogs.

Be cautious when trimming to avoid cutting the quick, which is the blood vessel within the nail. If you’re unsure about how to trim your dog’s nails safely, consult with a professional groomer or veterinarian for guidance.

pembroke welsh corgi riding a skateboard
Photo: Ирина Мещерякова/Getty Images Pro

Exercise

Despite their small stature, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are an energetic and active breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. As a herding breed, Corgis possess a strong work ethic and a natural desire to stay busy, making daily exercise an essential component of their care.

Exercise Amount & Types

On average, a Corgi should receive at least 45 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise per day. This can be divided into multiple sessions, such as morning and evening walks or playtime in the backyard. When walking your Corgi, consider incorporating a mix of leisurely strolls and brisker-paced walks to keep them engaged and challenged.

In addition to walks, Corgis benefit from various forms of exercise that cater to their intelligence and agility. Interactive games like fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek with toys can provide both physical activity and mental stimulation for your furry companion. Puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys can also help keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom when indoors.

Dog Sports

Corgis are well-suited for canine sports and competitions, such as obedience trials, agility courses, and even herding events. Participating in these activities not only provides an excellent outlet for their energy and intellect but also strengthens the bond between you and your Corgi. Enrolling in a local dog sports club or training classes can be a great way to introduce your dog to these exciting pursuits.

Exercise Precautions

When exercising your Corgi, it’s crucial to be mindful of their unique physical characteristics. Their short legs and elongated bodies make them prone to back issues, so avoid activities that involve excessive jumping or rough play. Always monitor your Corgi for signs of overexertion or overheating, especially in warmer climates, and adjust the intensity and duration of exercise accordingly.

group of corgis in the garden
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Training

Training a Pembroke Welsh Corgi can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, as they are an intelligent and eager-to-please breed. Their herding background has instilled in them a strong work ethic and an innate ability to learn quickly, making them highly trainable and well-suited for various training activities.

Basic Obedience

It’s essential to begin training your Corgi from a young age, ideally starting with basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” Establishing a solid foundation of obedience will pave the way for more advanced training and create a strong bond between you and your furry companion.

Socialization

Socialization is another crucial aspect of training your Corgi. Exposing them to a variety of people, animals, and environments from an early age will help them develop into well-rounded, confident, and adaptable adults.

Regular trips to dog parks and pet-friendly stores or enrolling in puppy socialization classes can provide valuable opportunities for your Corgi to interact with new sights, sounds, and experiences.

Consistency & Positive Reinforcement

It’s important to note that while Corgis are generally eager to learn, they can also be independent and strong-willed at times. This may lead to occasional stubbornness or selective hearing during training sessions.

To overcome these challenges, maintain a consistent and structured routine, and always reinforce desired behaviors with positive rewards. They respond best to positive reinforcement methods, such as praise, treats, or toys, which help motivate them and reinforce desired behaviors.

pembroke welsh corgi standing on a hill
Photo: Kurt Pas/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition 

What to Feed & How Much

A well-balanced diet is essential for maintaining the overall health and well-being of your Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

To ensure that your Corgi receives the necessary nutrients and energy, it’s important to select a high-quality dog food that adheres to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. These guidelines help guarantee that the food contains the appropriate levels of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for your dog’s needs.

There are various types of dog food available, such as dry kibble, wet food, and raw diets. Each option has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian before making a decision. They can help you choose the most suitable food for your Corgi based on factors like age, activity level, weight, and any specific dietary requirements or sensitivities.

The amount of food you should feed your Corgi will depend on their individual needs, taking into account factors such as age, size, activity level, and metabolism.

As a general guideline, adult Corgis typically require around ¾ to 1½ cups of high-quality dry food per day, divided into two meals. Puppies may need smaller, more frequent meals to support their growth and development. Always refer to the feeding recommendations on the dog food package and consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate portion sizes for your Corgi.

Treats

When it comes to treats, moderation is key. While treats can be an effective tool for training and rewarding good behavior, excessive consumption can lead to weight gain or nutritional imbalances. Opt for healthy, low-calorie treats and be mindful not to exceed 10% of your Corgi’s daily caloric intake.

Water

Corgis, like all dogs, require constant access to fresh, clean water. Ensure that your Corgi always has an ample supply of water available, and clean their water bowl regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria.

two pembroke welsh corgis running in the yard
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Health

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are generally a healthy and robust breed with a life expectancy of around 12 to 13 years. However, like all breeds, they can be predisposed to certain health conditions. Being aware of these potential risks can help you take preventative measures and ensure that your Corgi receives proper care throughout their life.

Here are common health issues associated with Pembroke Welsh Corgis:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and pain. Regular checkups and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk and manage symptoms. If your Corgi shows signs of discomfort or mobility issues, consult your veterinarian for appropriate treatment options.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): Due to their long backs and short legs, Corgis are more prone to IVDD, a condition where the spinal discs deteriorate and potentially cause nerve damage or paralysis. Preventative measures include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excessive jumping or stair climbing, and providing a supportive, orthopedic bed.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an inherited eye disease that leads to the degeneration of the retina, eventually resulting in blindness. Responsible breeders screen their dogs for the PRA gene before breeding to minimize the risk. Regular eye exams can help detect early signs of the condition.

Von Willebrand’s Disease: This is a hereditary blood clotting disorder that affects some Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Affected dogs may experience excessive bleeding after an injury or during surgery. Blood tests can determine if your Corgi carries the gene for this condition, allowing you to take necessary precautions and inform your veterinarian.

Obesity: Corgis have a tendency to gain weight easily, which can exacerbate existing health issues or lead to new ones, such as diabetes or joint problems. To prevent obesity, ensure your Corgi receives a balanced diet, appropriate portion sizes, and regular exercise.

Regular veterinary checkups and preventative care are crucial for maintaining the health of your Pembroke Welsh Corgi. By being aware of potential health risks and taking proactive measures, you can help your Corgi enjoy a long, happy, and healthy life.

pembroke welsh corgi lying on the grass
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History

While the exact origins are shrouded in mystery, it is widely believed that the ancestors of modern Pembroke Welsh Corgis were brought to Wales by Flemish weavers during the 10th or 11th century. These early dogs were crossed with local Welsh herding breeds, ultimately resulting in the development of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi we know today.

As a herding breed, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was primarily used for driving cattle to market, as well as guarding farms and homesteads. Their small stature and agility allowed them to nip at the heels of cattle without being kicked, making them highly effective at their jobs.

Over time, the breed became closely associated with Welsh culture and folklore. According to Welsh legend, Corgis were the preferred mounts of fairy warriors and were even gifted to humans by these mythical beings.

Throughout the centuries, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi continued to be a beloved working dog in Wales, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that the breed gained widespread popularity.

In 1925, the first Pembroke Welsh Corgi was imported to the United States by an American breeder named Mrs. Lewis Roesler. The breed’s popularity grew steadily, and in 1934, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

One of the most significant factors contributing to the breed’s rise in popularity was the affection of British royalty, particularly Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen received her first Pembroke Welsh Corgi, named Susan, as an 18th birthday gift in 1944. Since then, she had owned over 30 Corgis, many of whom were direct descendants of Susan. The royal connection helped increase the breed’s visibility and status, both in the United Kingdom and around the world.

In popular culture, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has been featured in various forms of media, including television shows, movies, books, and even video games.

One notable example is the character Ein from the anime series “Cowboy Bebop,” a highly intelligent Corgi who accompanies the show’s protagonists on their adventures. The breed has also appeared in films such as “The Queen” (2006) and “The Crown” (2016), which depict the lives of the British royal family and prominently feature Corgis as beloved companions.

Today, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi enjoys widespread popularity as a family pet. While they are no longer used primarily for herding cattle, many Corgis still possess strong herding instincts and excel in canine sports such as obedience, agility, and herding trials. The breed’s unique appearance, combined with its endearing personality, has cemented its place as a beloved companion and an enduring symbol of Welsh culture.

Parent Club

The official parent club for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi in the United States is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America (PWCCA). Founded in 1936, the PWCCA is dedicated to promoting the welfare and preservation of the breed through education, responsible breeding practices, and various events.

Their website provides valuable resources for Corgi owners, breeders, and enthusiasts. You can visit their website to learn more about the PWCCA.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

pembroke welsh corgi puppy playing in the garden
Photo: Dmitriy Kostylev/Getty Images

Acquiring

Contemplating adding a Pembroke Welsh Corgi to your family? Begin by preparing a cozy bed, high-quality food, entertaining toys, grooming supplies for their thick coat, and finding a dependable vet.

If buying is your choice, it’s important to choose a reputable breeder for a healthy, well-socialized puppy. But have you considered rescue? Many Pembrokes in shelters are waiting to share their alert, friendly nature with a loving home. The American Kennel Club and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America can assist you in this rewarding journey.

Whether you adopt or buy, you’re gaining more than a pet. You’re inviting an energetic, loyal companion into your life. With a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, every day is an adventure filled with activity, companionship, and the joy of having a dog that’s as protective as it is affectionate!

FAQs

What is the difference between the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi?

The main differences between the two breeds are their appearance and ancestry. Pembrokes have shorter tails, slightly smaller bodies, and more pointed ears, while Cardigans have longer tails, larger bodies, and more rounded ears. Additionally, Cardigans have a more diverse color range and a slightly different lineage compared to Pembrokes.

Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis good family dogs?

Yes, Pembroke Welsh Corgis make excellent family pets. They are intelligent, affectionate, and loyal, making them great companions for families with children. However, due to their herding instincts, they may try to herd small children, so it’s essential to supervise interactions and teach children how to interact with the dog properly.

Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis expensive?

The cost of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi can vary depending on factors such as breeder reputation, location, and pedigree. On average, a well-bred Corgi puppy can cost between $1,000 to $2,500. Additional expenses, such as vaccinations, grooming, food, and routine veterinary care, should also be considered when calculating the overall cost of owning a Corgi.

How much exercise do Pembroke Welsh Corgis need?

Pembroke Welsh Corgis require at least 45 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise per day. This can include walks, playtime, or engaging in canine sports like agility or obedience trials.

Do Pembroke Welsh Corgis shed a lot?

Yes, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known to shed moderately year-round, with heavier shedding during seasonal changes. Regular brushing and grooming can help manage shedding and keep your Corgi’s coat healthy.

Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis suitable for apartment living?

While Pembroke Welsh Corgis can adapt to apartment living, they do require regular exercise and mental stimulation to remain happy and healthy. As long as their physical and mental needs are met, Corgis can thrive in various living environments.

How easy is it to train a Pembroke Welsh Corgi?

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are intelligent and eager to please, making them highly trainable. They respond well to positive reinforcement methods and consistent training routines. Starting from an early age and providing ample opportunities for socialization will ensure success in training your Corgi.

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