Breed of the Week: Pembroke Welsh Corgi (Video) - Simply For Dogs
Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Breed of the Week: Pembroke Welsh Corgi (Video)


If you have never seen a Pembroke Welsh Corgi before, I have to assume that you’ve also never been on the Internet before this very moment. These dogs are the cute little pals that make up so many memes, in-jokes, and funny dog videos online. Their adorable appearances and spunky natures make them instant favorites, but they also have an air of upper class charm thanks to their established position as the Queen of England’s favorite breed. I know a handful of Corgis in person and can honestly say that each one is a delight to be around. I know we’ve done a few smaller breeds for the breed of the week lately, like the Affenpinscher, but I wanted to talk about just one more before we focus on the big dogs again.

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The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is different from its cousin the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and the easiest way to remember which is which is to check out the tail. The Pembroke Corgi does not have a tail beyond a little nub. This breed has a very whimsical history, steeped in lore and fairy tales, which could be a big part of why we love this dog so much.

About 1,000 years ago, this dog was evolving in Wales, and most dog historians agree that the breed was an offshoot of the spitz dogs that came into the area with invading Vikings, although there are some who believe it’s more likely that this breed evolved from breeding programs created by Flemish weavers in the 12th century. The breed was created to help herd cattle, and despite their bow-legged stance, these dogs are actually very good runners thanks to this history.The word Corgi is actually Celtic. “Cor” means “dwarf” and “gi” means dog, so the word altogether simply means dwarf dog.

However, the story goes that Corgis were gifts from the fae folk. Corgis were thought to be the fairy equivalent of a war horse, carrying fairies into battle and acting as transportation for long trips. Because Corgis tend to have markings that look a lot like a saddle and a harness on their backs, people in Wales thought these were the marks left behind by the fairy saddle. It’s a cute tale that many Corgi owners love to believe, so why not?

This breed really became popular in the 1930s, when the Queen of England was given a small Pembroke Welsh Corgi by the name of Susan. Today, the Queen’s dogs are largely Susan’s descendants. The AKC recognized the breed officially just a year after the Queen adopted Susan, and the dog has been extremely popular since then, always ranking in the top 25 breeds.


The Corgi’s appearance is one thing that makes this dog such a favorite. They have long bodies with short, stumpy little bow legs, making them stand very low to the ground. Their wedge-shaped heads and pointy ears are very fox-like, and they are known for having very intelligent-looking faces that match this foxy appearance.

Corgis have a medium-length coat that is thick and fluffy, so do expect some shedding! The coat is typically fluffier on the rear end than on the rest of the dog, but a lot of Corgis also have very fluffy chests and shoulders. These dogs can be a wide variety of colors, from red, fawn, and sable, to tri color (black, tan, and white). While these dogs look short and squat to us, they are considered a medium-sized dog. While the Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy is typically born with a very short tail, many breeders will dock the tail to under two inches to keep in line with the breed’s standard.

An adult Corgi is typically about a foot tall, and will weigh up to 28 pounds, although these dogs do have a tendency to become overweight very easily.


The number one thing that defines a Corgi’s personality is “happy”. These are very happy, cheerful dogs, who just seem to love life every day that they wake up. They are known for smiling all the time, and for radiating good cheer everywhere they go. These dogs are very energetic and love to be involved in everything that is going on. This isn’t a couch potato dog by any means! A Corgi will want to be a vital part of its owner’s day, helping in the kitchen, with the chores, going for rides, sleeping in the same room, and more. Corgis can also be pretty bossy – these dogs like to be in charge, and aren’t likely to play second fiddle to other pets.

These dogs are highly intelligent, and definitely need both physical and mental stimulation to be happy. Toys that stimulate their brains and keep them moving, such as a flirt pole, will be a big help in keeping your Corgi happy. These dogs were originally bred as working dogs, and they love having a job. If you don’t need help with herding, then consider training your Corgi in some sort of sports, such as lure coursing. Don’t be fooled by the bow-legged appearance – these are surprisingly fast and agile dogs that make great competitors, and they have the drive to go with the physical prowess.

These dogs do get bored very easy, so you’ll want to have a big variety of Dog toys and activities to do with them. It’s also very important that you train a Corgi early and stick with your commands consistently. Corgis are known for being a bit stubborn, and once they get away with something even one time, you’ll have a hard time getting them to unlearn the behavior.

That’s not to say that these aren’t great dogs, just be aware that they do need attention, activity, and good training. They also need to be well socialized, and be aware that they are vocal dogs. While you might think that this small dog will be great for your apartment, think hard before committing – these dogs bark and need plenty of activity. They may not be the best choice overall for a home with thin walls and close neighbors.


Like all pure breeds, Corgis have a few health issues that they tend to experience more than other dogs. For this breed, those include:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This condition is a common condition that is treatable and preventable. It can lead to painful limping, trouble jumping, and arthritis. While medications can help treat this condition, surgery is often necessary to cure it.
  • Eye Problems: Corgis can be prone to a variety of eye issues including retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, and others. Regular veterinary care can help spot these problems before they become problematic.
  • Hypothyroidism: This condition will require feeding a dog special food, and may require injectable medications in some cases.
  • Cryptorchidism: This condition affects male Corgis, and causes one testicle to remain inside the body. This could be problematic for hopeful breeders.
  • Epilepsy: Corgis can be prone to this seizure disorder, which is treated with medication. There is no known cure for canine epilepsy.
  • Reproductive Problems: Corgis are often prone to reproductive problems, which can be an issue for hopeful breeders.
  • Genetic Abnormalities in Coat Length and Coloring: Another issue that largely only impacts hopeful breeders, Corgis are known for a higher rate of abnormalities in the coat length and coloring.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: This condition is a type of progressive paralysis, and it has no known cure. There is a DNA test that should be performed on puppies at a very young age that can test for the markers of DM.
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease: Due to their long, squat bodies, Corgis are prone to issues with spinal discs. Sometimes medication and surgery can cure this disease, but some Corgis must use a wheeled cart to get around after succumbing to this disease.
  • Willebrand’s Disease: This is a blood clotting disorder that some Corgis are prone to developing.
  • Autoimmune Disease and Cancer: Corgis are frequently more prone to developing cancers and autoimmune disorders.

Any reputable breeder should be willing to fill you in on the health history of a puppy’s parents and other siblings, so that you can be prepared for what disorders your Corgi may be prone to developing.

Grooming and Care

When it comes to grooming, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an owner’s dream. These dogs really don’t require much in the way of trimming, expect for keeping their feet tidy to avoid dragging in mud. You just need to “wash and go” for the most part. You can brush their coat weekly to help keep shedding to a minimum with a simple Deshedding Grooming Tool or slicker brush. Otherwise, keep your Corgi’s nails trimmed and pay attention to their oral health to keep them healthy. That’s all you need when it comes to grooming this sweet dog.

For exercise, the Corgi needs plenty of it, and often. This is a very athletic dog that needs physical activity regularly. At least a half an hour walk every day is a good start, but long hikes, active games of fetch, visits to the dog park, and more are much better. It’s best if you have the kind of lifestyle that allows your Corgi to come with you as often as possible – they’ll get more exercise being with you as you go about your day, and they’ll stay mentally stimulated as well.

Feeding your Corgi is about like feeding any other dog. Pay attention to their weight, because Corgis can get overweight very quickly. Offer them a high-quality dog food and keep treats to a minimum. If you want to train your Corgi before that stubborn streak sets in, consider Clicker Dog Training System instead of food treats to keep their weight at a healthy level.

Kids and Other Pets

Corgis are generally great with kids and other dogs, lacking that snappishness that many smaller breed dogs seem to develop. These dogs are happy and affectionate, and they generally just like being around all the fun.

That being said, don’t forget that these dogs like being the boss. They aren’t pushy or mean, but they will attempt to take charge and they aren’t above being manipulative to get what they want. If you have other pets that think of themselves as the alpha of the bunch, you may have a bit of a power struggle on your hands at first. Additionally, Corgis tend to be little daredevils, and they like to climb around on furniture. If you are letting your kids run around with a Corgi, don’t be surprised if the dog “talks” the kids into turning the couch into a jungle gym.

Corgis do make good watch dogs, because they can’t stay quiet when something new is happening. In that sense, these are good dogs to pair with children, because you’ll be alerted to anything out of the ordinary.

So while you shouldn’t expect any problems when introducing a Corgi to another pet or a child, do pay attention to their behavior to stamp out any manipulative or mischievous behavior before it becomes a habit.

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The Final Word

At the end of the day, a Corgi is a sweet, kind-hearted dog that just wants to have fun – but they can be a bit stubborn and mischievous. This is not a good breed for anyone who doesn’t have the time to devote to lots of activity and attention. These dogs need an experienced owner who can train them well, and who can keep them mentally and physically stimulated. It’s also important that you have a good relationship with a knowledgeable vet, because you’ll need to keep an eye on this dog’s health.

The best owner for a Corgi would be someone who is interested in canine sports, or who has a very active lifestyle already. If you want a dog that wants to cheerfully go along with you on adventures, and you love the adorable appearance of this fluffy little pooch, then you’d probably get along well with a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.


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