Pembroke Welsh Corgis
- AKC recognized in 1934
- Lifespan: 12 - 14 years
- Size: Medium
- Energy: Medium
- Recommended Crate Size: 36" dog crate*
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The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a highly spirited and very athletic dog. His name actually means “dwarf dog” but don’t let that fool you. The cattle herding, steady and dependable Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an agile tank - a big dog on short legs.
Among the Pembroke Welsh Corgis’ talents are herding livestock, agility, taking commands and chasing (anything - quite quickly). He is full of energy and enthusiasm. To top it off, he’s super smart too.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgis are considered as one of the most adored dogs, especially in the United Kingdom. It was recognized by AKC in 1934. Today, people recognize the dog as a separate type of Cardiganshire Corgi, but both of them are cousins, actually.
A man named Clifford Hubbard said the Pembroke had its origin back in the 12th century. He believed the dog was part of the King of Wales' reign. Either way, modern people love the dog as it has a distinct appearance with a foxy face and sharp muzzle. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a close relation to the Buhund, Vallhund, and Schipperke.
Most people are able to differentiate Pembroke Welsh Corgis from Cardigans. The most notable difference is the tail. The Cardigan has a long tail while the Pembroke has a docked tail. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is also known as the Pem or PWC.
Corgis are the smallest of the AKC herding group. The lifespan of this breed is moderate, living up to 14 years. It is common to see them nipping and circling around to gather the other pets at home. The only potential problem that owners may have is the dog’s barking behavior. Proper training and socialization will go a long way at minimizing these behaviors.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a similar appearance when compared to Cardigans. The ears are large and long. Those ears stand atop the flat and broad skull of the dog. At first glance, their head looks like a fox. The eyes are dark and round. The dog also has a black nose and black rims as well.
Even though Pems have a similar appearance to Cardigans, the legs are straighter and they have a wedge-shaped head. The tail is also docked. The puppies are born with quite tiny tails. When it comes to the coat, there are various colors found within the breed. All of the colors are accompanied with white markings.
In the wild, Corgis may hunt small animals like rabbit. Local meats and beef are perfect to fulfill the nutrition need of this dog. Even though Pembroke dogs love to eat meat, the owners should include vegetables in their diet in order to provide balanced nutrition. Cabbage, potatoes, and carrots are good choices. Fish is also a nice option. If you are unsure about what to choose for your PWC it is best to consult your vet.
Corgis require general grooming, at least every 5-7 weeks. The grooming frequency may increase during fall and spring season. Why? The dog may shed more of their fur due to the seasonal factors. The owners should regularly inspect the dog’s eyes. Regular cleaning of its ears will help prevent infection and bad odors. When it comes to bathing the Pem, owners should use hypo-allergenic shampoo.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are fairly active dogs. As such, they need a schedule of activities to keep them busy. Chasing balls is a good exercise for this dog. It’s important to keep the dog’s mental and physical condition at their finest. The owners will be happy as the dog is quite obedient and easy to train.
Pet Crate Size
Pet Crates Direct recommends 36" dog crates* for most adult Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.
The Herd Dog’s History
There are two different types of Corgis, Welsh Corgis and Cardigan Welsh Corgis. Although it is thought that both descended from the Northern Spitz (similar to a Siberian Husky). There is also a theory that Pembroke Welsh Corgis are descendants of Swedish Vallhunds and various Welsh herding dogs that were local to the area.
Never the less, the two Corgis are not the same and are in two distinctly different groups. Pembroke Corgis came along after the Cardigan Corgis. Both, however, are some of the smallest herding dogs in existence.
Ranked as the eleventh most intelligent dog and coming in at number twenty in the most popular breed, according to the American Kennel Club, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi were once the most favored breed by British royalty. Queen Elizabeth ll has owned over thirty of them during her time in the palace. The British as a whole, however, have slacked off in their demand for them. Her passion was sparked when King George Vl, her father, got her a Corgi. He was the first royal Corgi and his name was “Dookie”.
There are many others who adore Corgis too. American best-selling author, Stephen King, is in love with his Corgi. Bruce Willis’ daughter, Tallula has a Corgi as does actress Betty White.
Corgis have been featured on many films. A very intelligent Pembroke Welsh Corgi named “Ein” is on the anime television series, Cowboy Bebop. Lil’ Lightning is a Pembroke who is in the 101 Dalmatians ll movie. Infinity Train on Cartoon Network contains a Pembroke and so does Brooklyn-Nine-Nine.
Down on the Ranch
There are a number of characteristics that make the Pembroke such a pro ranch hand, despite his small stature. They are easy to train and are quite alert and focused. The instinct to herd is built into them, usually no need to give in that department.
Another great trait of the Pembroke is that he doesn’t bark at just every noise. It has to be bark-worthy. That makes him very valuable when keeping watch over a herd. His owner knows if he barks, there’s a reason. And when he does bark, hold your ears!
The triangle shaped ears on the breed help him to hear more keenly as they are always erect and point back when he is running or trotting. He moves his ears constantly and is very expressive with them. It is hilarious to watch.
The fox-looking, big dog in a small package works the herd by nipping at their heels if they get out of line. Don’t mind his small, squatty size, he is very agile and able to run quickly so as not to get kicked once he disciplines one of the livestock.
Loveable...and then some! That’s a Pembroke in a nutshell. They are also very involved when it comes to family. They want to follow their owner to the front door, to the kitchen and even to the restroom.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are eager to please so they are easy to train. They also make good watch dogs because they don’t bark, as a rule, unless there is a good reason to. Corgis are smart enough to know when true danger is lurking.
One adorable trait the Pembroke Corgis all seem to have in common is that they are attention seekers. In order to get their fair share, they often clown around doing funny stunts and whatever else they can think of so they can be the center attraction.
The breed is good with children although they may herd them every now and then. The most aggression you are likely to see is an occasional ankle nip if he feels you have gotten out of line. Be sure to socialize your Corgi when he is a puppy to ensure he will be his naturally great self around humans and other pets.
Because Corgis are herding dogs, they love to chase...anything and everything. Be sure yours doesn’t take off after a car, a neighborhood cat or kid on a bicycle by securing him in a fence or on a leash when outdoors.
You might not suspect a Pembroke sheds very much...until you get him home, that is. Oh...my! The breed actually sheds extensively due to his soft, medium-length double coat. Not only does he shed on a daily basis, he has blow-outs where he does some big-time shedding a couple of times a year.
Shedding can be somewhat controlled though. Brushing him every day is a big plus. Occasional baths are recommended but Corgis are naturally clean dogs so don’t bathe him too often or you will disturb his oil balance. You will certainly want to have a good vacuum cleaner (for your floors and furniture). There is no need to have his hair cut or shaved.
Be sure to check his ears regularly. Look for signs of wax buildup which is not uncommon in the breed. If his ears seem to be bothering him, take him in to a vet clinic to be checked.
You will also want to brush his teeth, at least once a week. You can find doggie toothpaste available in flavors he is sure to love. Doing so will keep his gums healthy and keep tartar buildup to a minimum. Plus, it will help freshen his breath.
Another grooming detail that is very important is your Corgi’s toenails. You will want to trim them more often if he isn’t outside much or isn’t naturally wearing them down. Keeping his nails in good shape will help prevent tearing and cracking.
On the Dock
Docking of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s tail began many years ago. It was necessary, for his safety, to snip his tail practically at birth. The dangers of him getting it caught or broken out on the ranch while working were too great not to nip the potential problem in the bud, so to speak. Some are born without tails or with short tails.
An interesting note is that in the United Kingdom where companion dogs were taxed, a docked tail signified a working breed. A sported bobbed tail meant the dog would qualify for being tax exempt. While the AKC Standards allow for docking but no longer than two inches, docking has actually been declared illegal in many countries across the world.
Training Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi
It is said that the Pembroke suffers from a touch of “small dog syndrome”. The truth of the matter is that if you train him correctly, and especially if you can do so while he’s a puppy, you will most likely end up with the best student ever. You will need to establish yourself as the one in control, the pack leader. There is no way around that.
Pembrokes are smart - really smart. You can usually let them know a certain behavior is not acceptable by simply telling them, “NO!” There is no need to make a fuss, just tell them the rules and be consistent.
Unless you are in a fenced back yard or are on a ranch or protected area, you will want to keep him on leash for walks and for training time too. Chasing is built into him. You don’t want to chance a kid riding by on a bike or a cat showing up.
He will love learning new tricks that involve balls, Frisbees or anything he can run after. He is quite fast so be aware of that. He is also very agile so you can teach him to jump but do be cautious not to require too much out of his legs and put undue pressure on him. His legs are strong but his build is a bit odd so just take it easy on him when it comes to jumping down from high places and such.
It is imperative that you mentally stimulate your Pembroke on a daily basis. He is used to being in charge on the ranch. He keeps predators away and keeps the stock in line at all times. That requires a lot of thought and even problem solving skills. When not working, he needs to be challenged. Brain games for dogs is excellent for this smart breed.
Barking is something you might need to curb. Although he will usually only bark if he feels something is “bark-worthy”, his opinion of what that entails and your opinion of what that entails may be two entirely different things. If he insists on barking when it is not appropriate (like when you or your family...or neighbors...are asleep), just assure him that everything is alright and tell him “no”. Usually you can reason with him.
In general, you can probably train your Pembroke Welsh Corgi on praise alone. Although he certainly loves a good treat, he also soaks up all the praise and attention he can get. Pembroke’s do have a slight tendency to have weight issues if they don’t stay very active so the more you can train with pats and hugs, the better. Oh, and applause. Pembrokes love being applauded.
Training your dog to socialize well with other dogs and humans is a must. Since he does tend to want to be in charge, you will need to set healthy boundaries. You will want to let him know what he can and can’t do and by all means, if he tries to herd others, do not let him get by with it unless he is actually herding live stock.
Because of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s build and the fact that they are achondroplastic (a “true dwarf” breed), there are a few conditions to watch for, health wise. Monorchidism is one such medical condition male Pembroke Welsh Corgis are susceptible to where only one testicle drops. Von Willebrand’s disease is a blood clotting defect that is sometimes seen in the breed.
Also, due to their structure, Pembroke’s are at risk for hip dysplasia - a condition where the femur doesn’t fit into the hip socket correctly. Degenerative myelopathy is also something to keep watch for. That is a condition where a white mass develops around the spine and neck with age. Eye issues are not uncommon with the breed so be sure to get him to a vet at the first sign of an eye problem that doesn’t clear up right away.
Is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi for You?
Are you active enough (or willing to be) to keep your Pembroke Welsh Corgi well exercised? While Corgis are small enough to live in an apartment or small spaced area, they are working dogs at heart. A Corgi will do fine with a family or individual owner who doesn’t live on a ranch but, he will need a good bit of walking in order to keep out of mischief.
If you love to be loved and adored, a Corgi might be just the dog for you. If you like to laugh at crazy antics and can give him the affection he craves, chalk another one up for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. An if you like to toss the Frisbee or engage in a game of fetch...you have struck up some points with him as well.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are great with other pets and children too. You will need to step in and make the rules, however, lest he make up his own and attempt to herd you into line. He’s smart. He’s lovable. He’s very teachable too. So if you are willing to take time to do a little molding with this furry ball of clay, you are sure to end up with a Pembroke Welsh Corgi masterpiece.