Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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Pembroke Welsh Corgi
A Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Nicknames Pembroke, PWC, Pem, Corgi
Country of origin Wales
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi (/ˈkɔrɡi/; Welsh for "dwarf dog"), is a herding dog breed, which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales.[1] It is one of two breeds known as Welsh Corgi: the other is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the younger of the two Corgi breeds and is a separate and distinct breed[2] from the Cardigan.[1] The corgi is one of the smallest dogs in the Herding Group. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are famed for being the preferred breed of Queen Elizabeth II, who has owned more than 30 during her reign.[3] These dogs have been favored by British royalty for more than seventy years.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has been ranked at #11 in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, and is thus considered an excellent working dog. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi was ranked as the 25th most popular dog in 2011.[4]



Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Tri-Colored Male Puppy

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is proportional to larger canines, but has legs much shorter than other breeds within the herding dog category. The athletic and agile frame of the Pembroke Corgi is sufficient for the retrieval of poultry and fowl, and is also suited for the herding of livestock such as sheep and cattle. The body of the Pembroke is long (being roughly twice as long as it is tall). The tail should be docked, but on occasion Pembroke Welsh Corgis may be born with a natural dock. The ears should be erect, and proportional to the equilateral triangle of the head. They should also be firm, medium in size, and tapered slightly to a rounded point. The head should be foxy in shape and appearance.[1] Pembroke Welsh Corgis differ from the closely related Cardigan Welsh Corgi by being shorter in length, having smaller ears, and being slightly straighter of leg.[1]

According to the Breed Standard of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, Pembrokes should stand at 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) tall from ground to the highest point of the withers. Length from withers to the base of the tail should be 40% longer than height. Given correct bone structure and substance, adult males should weigh: 25 to 30 pounds (11 to 14 kg) with 27 pounds (12 kg) considered Show Condition, Female: 23 to 28 pounds (10 to 13 kg) with 25 pounds (11 kg) considered Show Condition. Pembroke Corgis advance to full height by 9 months of age, but the body continues to develop until full maturity at around 24 months.

Color and Coat[edit]

There are four accepted coat colors recognized by reputable kennel clubs and organizations. These colors consist of red and white, sable and white, fawn, and black and tan (tri-colored).

  • Red: with or without white markings, which may appear on the feet and legs, muzzle, between the eyes and over the head as a small blaze, and around the neck as a full or partial collar.
  • Sable with white markings: similar to red, with a light peppering of black.
  • Fawn with white markings: similar to sables, but the coat is generally a shade of red lighter (the red can vary from a light brown to a deep red).
  • Red-headed tricolor: black pointed with a red head, red spots above the eyes, on the sides of the muzzle, on the legs, in the ears and around the tail area. White markings as described above may also be present; the white markings can often obscure some of the red markings of the muzzle and legs. A dog would be considered a "mismark" if black and white with no tan present.
  • Black-headed tricolor: black and red points, with red and white markings as described under "Red" above. A dog would be considered a "mismark" if black and white with no tan present.
Tri-Colored Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

The Pembroke should have a "fairy saddle" white marking on each side of the withers caused by changes in the thickness, length and direction of hair growth. The phrase "fairy saddle" arises from the legend that Pembroke Welsh Corgis were harnessed and used as steeds by fairies.[citation needed] White markings may be present on the feet, chest, and nose, but AKC and PWCCA Breed Standards are strict concerning the presence of white markings. On the face and head, white markings are limited to a stripe. Partial white collars and full white collars are coveted and preferable among show breeders and enthusiasts, but too much collar is not acceptable. Further, no white on the ears is permitted (mismark). Pembroke Welsh Corgis have an undercoat of fine soft fur and an overcoat of coarse guard hairs, which makes their coat water and snow resistant. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi coat should be medium in length with extra length on the chest plate. Ideally, the coat should be soft and shiny.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a trilayer coat which should be of medium length. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi sheds annually and therefore must be brushed consistently. In addition to regular shedding, the PWC will fully release its coat twice a year (spring and fall).

Many breed faults exist, some which may acknowledge genetic health conditions: "Fluffies" are Corgis which have very long coats,[5] and "bluies," are a dilute color. In a "bluie," red coats seem to have a bluish cast; the eyes are light (instead of a dark brown). Further,the nose, margins of the eyes, lips, and foot-pad color are a slate gray in opposition to the black recognized by the Breed Standard. In a tri-colored coat, the black coat areas which are normally black are instead a slate-blue/gray. As in the "red bluie," the eyes will be light and the nose, margins of the eyes, lips, and foot pads will be slate gray. "Whities" have white in abnormal areas. According to AKC, fluffies, bluies, and whities should not be bred due to their genetic faults. Other faults include smaller toy-like Corgis, obviously oversized dogs, and Corgis with short coats such as that of the Doberman Pinscher.


Some Pembroke Welsh Corgis are born with a natural dock. Others may have their tails surgically docked Docking (dog) between 2–5 days old due to historical tradition or as a measure of confirmation to the Breed Standard PWCCA Standard of Perfection. Artificial docking was born of necessity given the Pembroke's function as a herding dog in the United Kingdom. According to Tax Law any companion canine was considered a luxury. Thus, pet/companion owners were levied a tax. However, dog owners who kept dogs for working purposes such as herding were exempt from the tax. In order to claim the exemption, owners had to ensure that the dogs sported docked or bobbed tails. The Kennel Club,[6] the United Kennel Club,[7] and the FCI allow intact tails in Conformation shows. The AKC Standard states tails should be docked no longer than 2 inches (5 cm). In many countries, docking has been deemed illegal, so Corgis across the globe may have intact tails.

Genetic Issues[edit]

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are achondroplastic, meaning they are a "true dwarf" breed. As such, their stature and build can lead to certain non-inherited health conditions, but genetic issues should also be considered. Commonly, Pembrokes can suffer from monorchidism, Von Willebrand's disease, hip dysplasia (canine) and inherited eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy. Genetic testing is available for Pembroke Welsh Corgis to avoid these issues and enhance the genetic health pool. [8] Pembrokes are also prone to obesity given a characteristic, robust appetite of herding group breeds. Body weights above 38 pounds (17 kg) are not uncommon, but are not within a healthy range.[1] Most Pembroke Welsh Corgis require some degree of portion control and exercise.


Red-headed Tricolor with receding sable mask marking from puppyhood.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are very affectionate, love to be involved in the family, and tend to follow wherever their owners go. They have a great desire to please their owners, thus making them eager to learn and train. The dogs are easy to train and are ranked as the eleventh smartest dog in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs. Besides herding, they also function as watchdogs due to their alertness and tendency to bark only as needed. Most Pembrokes will seek the attention of everyone they meet and behave well around children and other pets. It is important to socialise this breed with other animals, adults and children when they are very young to avoid any anti-social behavior or aggression later in life. Due to their herding instinct, they love to chase anything that moves, so it is best to keep them inside fenced areas. The herding instinct will also cause some younger Pembrokes to nip at their owners' ankles.[9]


Pembroke leaving teeter-totter during a dog agility competition.

Pembrokes have an average life expectancy of 12–15 years.[10][11] Pembrokes descend from the line that is the northern spitz-type dog (examples include that of the Siberian Husky).[12]


The Pembroke Welsh Corgi lineage has been traced back as far as 1107 AD.[1][13] It is said that the Vikings and Flemish weavers brought the dogs with them as they traveled to reside in Wales.[13] As far back as the 10th century, Corgis were herding sheep, geese, ducks, horses and cattle as one of the oldest herding breed of dogs.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are closely related to Schipperkes, Keeshonds, Pomeranians, Samoyeds, Chow Chows, Norwegian Elkhounds and Finnish Spitz.[9] Pembrokes and Cardigans first appeared together in 1925 when they were shown under the rules of The Kennel Club in Britain.[12] The Corgi Club was founded in December, 1925 in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire.[12] It is reported that the local members favored the Pembroke breed, so a club for Cardigan enthusiasts was founded a year or so later.[12] Both groups have worked hard to ensure the appearance and type of breed are standardized through careful selective breeding.[12] Pembrokes and Cardigans were officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1928 and were initially categorized together under the single heading of Welsh Corgis, before the two breeds were recognized as separate and distinct in 1934.[12]

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are becoming more popular in the United States and rank 24th in American Kennel Club registrations,[14] as of 2012.


Pembroke Welsh Corgis can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests.[15]

In popular culture[edit]

The anime series Cowboy Bebop features an extraordinarily intelligent Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Ein.[16]

Lil' Lightning from 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

In the online series RWBY, Ruby and Yang have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Zwei, who is sent to them by their Father Taiyang.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wheeler, Jill C. (2010). Welsh Corgis. ABDO. p. 6. ISBN 1-61613-641-3. 
  2. ^ "Pembroke Welsh Corgi - DID YOU KNOW?". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Queen's Diamond Jubilee: Just how many dogs does she own?". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "AKC DOG REGISTRATION STATISTICS". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Eldredge, Debra M (2009). Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Your Happy Healthy Pet, with DVD. John Wiley & Sons. p. 17. ISBN 0-470-44364-2. 
  6. ^ Kennel Clun. "Pembroke Welsh Corg". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  7. ^ United Kennel Club. "Pembroke Welsh Corgi". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "From the Genetics Committee of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, Inc.". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Get to know the Pembroke Welsh Corgi". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "2004 Purebred Dog Health Survey". The Kennel Club. Retrieved 16 August 2010. 
  11. ^ The Dog Encyclopedia. Penguin. 2013. p. 59. ISBN 1-4654-2116-5. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Debra M. Eldredge (27 January 2009). Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Your Happy Healthy Pet, with DVD. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 21–. ISBN 978-0-470-39061-0. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "Pembroke Welsh Corgi - HISTORY". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "AKC Dog Registration Statistics". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Hartnagle-Taylor, Jeanne Joy; Taylor, Ty (2010). Stockdog Savvy. Alpine Publications. ISBN 978-1-57779-106-5. 
  16. ^ "Cowboy Bepop Review". THEM Anime Review. 

External links[edit]

  • (non-profit charity & social networking for corgi owners)