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Breed Series

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi frolicking in the field

Commonly called Corgis, Welsh Corgis, or Pembroke, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are dog breeds that originate from Pembrokeshire in Wales. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are regarded as the popular corgi breed as opposed to their latter the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.  They are known to be long-backed with short bowed legs and naturally upright ears.

Unlike the Cardigan Welsh Corgis, the Pembroke Welsh Corgis are a descendant of the family of Spitz dogs, a domesticated hunting dog known for long, thickly-dense white fur with highly pointed muzzles and ears.

The Pembroke Welsh corgi is a small to medium-sized dog originally built for herding. They are known for their short stature and firm appearance as they have a very low trunk with short limbs and a stubby tail known to be wagging continuously. Due to their short stubby legs, they are regarded as achondroplastic and are also the shortest herding dogs to ever exist.

They are perfect home dogs as they integrate easily with children and family members. Unlike most dog breeds, Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a very low tendency to snore or drool while sleeping; an exception can be due to age or medical conditions. 

They are very social and can be a handful sometimes (but, which dog breed isn’t); hence, the require stern training which should be taught at a younger age.

Despite their short stature, they love climbing high platforms and can be seen on the back of your sofas, kitchen counter, or benches. They are smart and can learn tricks and commands within a short period of teaching. They need to be watched constantly; else they can create their version of fun which may not necessarily be your kind.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are prone to barking and will often raise alarm upon the slight movement of any person or object. This is a genetic trait learned from being a herding dog to alert farmers of any impending danger and also to direct sheep.

History

The history of Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be confusing as several resources trace them back to a lot of stories ranging from folklores to natural origination, although the folklore stories seem to be more popular.

On the folklore part, it is said they were a gift from fairies. Ancient folklore believed that two children were running through a forest where they encountered a funeral involving fairies. Then, the sorrowful fairies gifted them two cute corgis which the children took home.

Others believe Pembroke Welsh Corgis were descent of war horses used by fairies for battle. They justified this proof with a theory. This theory is that the base of the Corgi’s haunch is a pile of slightly roughened fur balls that was once used as a saddle line by fairy warriors. Some people believe Pembroke Welsh Corgis descended from Swedish Vallhund, a similar dog breed in physical appearance.

Irrespective of the beliefs and sources, the Pembroke Welsh Corgis have been in the Wales for more than a millennium as a herding, sheep, or guard dog. Since 1925, both Corgi was regarded as one until 1934 before it was registered as a separate breed by the English Kennel Club.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi lineage can be traced back as far as 1100s AD, making it one of the oldest dog breeds in existence.

However, Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis came to Britain for the first time in 1925 and were shown under the rules of The Kennel Club in Britain. Their appearance immediately led to the formation of a Corgi Club in December 1925 in Carmarthen.

They are known to be high-maintenance dogs and are native to the royals as traced back to the mid-1900s. Corgis are stapled dog breeds owned by Queen Elizabeth II, given to her by her parents, King George the IV, and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1933. Throughout her lifetime and regime, she owned a total of 30 Pembroke Welsh Corgis known as the Royal Corgis.

Personality

According to the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), Corgis have an overall temperament pass rate of 79%, making them one of the friendliest and fun-loving dogs. Although they may nip at furniture or their owner's ankle, it is a herding instinct from their genes that makes them chase down any foreign object in their sight.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis love to be involved in the family and are relatively social animals that derive joy in following their owners wherever they go. This prompts them to perform activities that please their owners to give them belly rubs, words of admiration and accomplishment, and treats. They are smart and can learn lots of tricks and commands easily and were even ranked amongst the top 20 most intelligent digs in a recent survey.

Since they were initially bred as herding dogs, they possess high sensitivity to noise and movement. They are also very industrious, athletic, energetic, and focused, despite their short and stubby limbs. They can become easily triggered if they feel a sense of urgency and insecurity in a place, causing them to bark uncontrollably.

They require constant attention, mental tasking activities, and exercises; else, they develop problematic behaviors that are self-taught. Pembroke Welsh dogs crave attention from kids and adults, irrespective of their relations with their owners. Hence, they need to be taught socialization skills by integrating them constantly amid children, adults, and other animals to avoid aggression in the later run.

Appearance

The average weight and height for a mature male Pembroke Welsh Corgi are 26 inches and 12 kg respectively. The average weight and height for a mature female Pembroke Welsh Corgi are 26 inches and 10 kg respectively.

The coat

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a double-coated dog breed with an inner layer that is soft and provides warmth called the undercoat and an outer layer that provides additional protection called the guard coat. The presence of a double coat gives room for high shedding and will require consistent brushing and grooming to get rid of the stray hairs.

Generally, the coat can consist of a short or medium length with brightly colored straight hairs sticking to the outer coat. The overall length of the coat varies as the fur is usually long around the neck, lower back, chest, forelimbs, and shoulders. The hair on the trunk is shorter and sleeps away creating a glossy or smooth appearance.

The outer coat can be a shade of various colors, depending on the dog's breed or genetics. It can range from black, fan, red, and sable with white striking around the body. They can also be vibrant white patches with red undertones or can be purely black with no other additional striking.

The head

The head consists of the skull-shaped in an upward V-like manner in a shape of a fox. The skull is wide and flat and stretches towards both ears, which is quite different from the long and round shape of most dogs. A well-fed Pembroke Welsh Corgi has slightly curved cheeks and projects upward, creating a distance between both eye sockets.

The muzzle is black, round, and perfect for consistent boops, making the overall appearance well chiseled. The nose tip is slightly reducing as it proceeds outwardly. The mouth is filled with canines that protrude out from the guns carefully for a razor bite. The upper and lower incisors and canines are designed to avoid clashing.

They also have eye sockets with oval-eyed shapes as opposed to popular almond shapes with brown iris color or colors corresponding with their coat. Although variations can cause rare eye colors like black, yellow, or even blue. The ears are visible, firm, sensitive, and erect. The ears slightly taper at the end and can be moved at will according to the level of sound perceived.

The neck

The neck connects the head to the trunk and its length depends on the overall length of the Corgi. Normally, it is arched a bit and blends properly with the forelimbs.

The limbs

The forelimbs connecting to the trunk should be well relaxed and form a perfect right angle. The limbs are short in length and very straight with muscles and tendons that allow for flexibility during movement. They should be nearly located to the midbody and firmly placed on the ground. The hindlimbs should follow suit and must be well-angulated to allow for a wide range of movement.

The toes, paws, or feet should consist of four toes; two outer toes and outer toes. The overall feet should be straight pointing to the straight plane of the body and should neither turn out nor turn in. Beneath is a soft pad that serves as a shock absorber.

The body

The body is neither too long nor too short as it is medium length to compliment the short limbs. Pembroke Welsh Corgis have broad chests and a topline level that merges the entire body. The tails can either be short, non-existent, or bob.

Exercise requirement

Pembroke Welsh Corgis need a lot of exercise for mental physical stimulation. Originally, an adult Corgi is required to walk at least twice a day and should be at least 30 minutes and at most 2 hours.

Asides from walking, various exercises can be done with your Corgi and one of such is playing fetch.

Fetch involves launching a ball to a considerable distance for your Corgi to fetch. It is a perfect way exercise method to help your dog burn out your pent-out energies and also promote trust between you and your dog.

Tug of war is also a favorite form of exercise of Corgis and involves a lot of energy; It helps strengthen nuclear and promotes strength. Ensure you let them crouch and encourage the use of their energy by pulling back the end of the tug fiercely.

Swimming is Corgi’s favorite. Did you know Corgi’s butt float in water, earning the ‘bubble butt' tag? Although they are not native to water, they are excellent swimmers and enjoy it. Swimming helps them burn off energy and also incorporates both the fire and hind limbs actively. This releases stress from a particular region and spreads them evenly around the body.

Grooming

Grooming Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be relatively difficult as they shed constantly due to their double coat. However, it does not require an arm or a leg to do so as several products can help. Although the shed frequently, they do not need to constantly visit a professional groomer for shavings or cuts as occasion trimmings around the feet and ears will; do. These should also include teeth cleaning and nail clipping every 2 to 6 weeks.

They require frequent brushing during their shedding seasons (which is usually fall or spring). Ensure you use slicker or de-shedding brushes that help remove dead skin, loosen knocks, strip off hidden debris, and also stimulate new hair growth.

Before grooming ensures you inspect your corgi thoroughly for signs of lumps, cuts, hair loss, mass growth, or dry skin. This will help you notice their pain points and call the attention of the veterinarians.

Start by spraying your Pembroke Welsh Corgi with a dog-friendly leave-in conditioner that will help soften any tangle and allow the brush to go through easily. A good detangling brush should be fur-friendly and help remove tangles in two or one sweep. In the end, check for signs of rash or injuries that may have occurred during brushing.

Bathing also helps the de-shedding process although it shouldn’t be done regularly. Ensure the shampoo is dog friendly and contains the best natural products. After bathing, rinse off the lather and dry off properly using a clean towel. Using a blow dryer on a low setting and at a safe distance can help hasten the drying processing.

Clean the ears using a cotton ball or swab to remove wax buildup and reduce the chances of infection. Ensure the swab is wet and gently insert it before swabbing out the buildup. Also, cleaning your Corgi’s teeth is important as it removes tartar buildup, reducing the chances of plague, odor, gum damage, or tooth decay. Although it is advised to clean your Pembroke Welsh Corgi's teeth weekly, providing a toy toothbrush for your Pembroke Welsh Corgi to play with can help with their dental hygiene. Nail clipping is also an important grooming process and should be done regularly.

Care

As mentioned earlier, taking care of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi requires attention as they have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. You also need to acknowledge they need regular medical visits and emotional bonding.

Start by ensuring your Welsh Corgi is up to date with vaccinations and medications as directed by the doctor. Before adoption, ensure you thoroughly go through their medical history for cases of genetic diseases, flea infestation, weight issues, indigestion, or cancer.

This will help you understand what to expect and take proactive measures to help them. Also, ensure you get your Pembroke Welsh Corgi neutered or spayed if you do not intend on breeding them.

Provide them with high-quality specifically designed to provide nutrients for dogs. This can be a combination of wet or dry foods, infused with supplements like vitamins and calcium that build bones.

Ensure you provide soft bedding in a safe and secure area in your house for your Welsh Corgi. Ensure you create a feeding schedule; this will prevent impromptu meals and ensure your Corgi gets the best of nutrients.

Do not allow strangers to feed your dog human foods as treats. Medically, foods like chocolate, bread, avocado, and grapes can act as a potential toxin to your dog's system and even potentially kill them.

Health

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are generally healthy dog breeds. However, like all dog breeds, they are prone to a wide range of diseases. It’s best to check your pet's medical history to ascertain which likely diseases might affect them in the long run.

Due to their short and sturdy nature, they are likely to get hip dysplasia as their bones may fail to properly carry their overall weight. Hip dysplasia is often an inherited condition in which the thigh bones no long fuse properly to the hip joint, causing pain or lameness in one or both legs. However, some corgis with hip dysplasia may be asymptomatic showing no sign of pain.

Cataracts are also another common ailment facing Corgis whereby the opacity of their eyes gets affected, causing poor vision or blindness. Cataracts cause a cloudy appearance to the Iris and are often a common disease amongst old corgis, however, they can be surgically removed.

Degenerative Myelopathy is another common disease affecting the bones. It causes a reduction in the functionality of the nerves and spinal tissues at the lower trunk region, causing the weakness and immobility of the rear limbs. Von Willebrand's disease common to man also affects corgis. It is a blood disorder that affects the blood clotting process, causing incessant bleeding in the gums, nose, stool, and even during and after heat.

However, not all of these diseases will affect your Pembroke Welsh Corgi and you may luckily have none affecting them at all.