Pembroke Welsh Corgi
|Common nicknames||Pembroke, PWC, Pem, Corgi, Welsh Corgi|
|Origin||Wales, United Kingdom|
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi (//; Welsh for "dwarf dog") is a cattle herding dog breed which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is one of two breeds known as a Welsh Corgi. The other is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and both descend from the line that is the northern spitz-type dog (examples include that of the Siberian Husky). Another theory is that Pembrokes are descended from the Swedish Vallhunds, which were crossed with the local Welsh herding dogs. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the younger of the two Corgi breeds and is a separate and distinct breed from the Cardigan. 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. These dogs have been favored by British royalty for more than seventy years, but among the British public, have recently fallen into decline in terms of popularity and demand.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has been ranked at #11 in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, and per source, is considered an excellent working dog. According to the American Kennel Club, Pembroke Welsh Corgis were ranked 20th most popular breed of dog in 2015.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi sheds extensively, often daily with coat "blow outs" often twice a year. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has erect ears which are proportional to the equilateral triangle of the head. The ears should also be firm, medium in size, and tapered slightly to a rounded point. The head should be foxy in shape and appearance. Pembroke Welsh Corgis differ from the Cardigan Welsh Corgi by being shorter in length, having smaller ears, and being slightly straighter of leg. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a "fairy saddle", somewhat lighter markings on each side of the withers caused by changes in the thickness, length, and direction of hair growth. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi sheds mostly in the spring and fall and may shed annually, with intact females shedding during heat.
Breed faults exist; some which may acknowledge genetic health conditions such as "fluffies" which are Corgis with very long coats, and "bluies," which have a dilute colour (red coats present with a bluish cast).
Some Pembroke Welsh Corgis are born with their tail naturally short or missing. Others may have their tails docked between 2–5 days old due to historical tradition or as a measure of conformation to the Breed Standard. 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 and pet/companion owners were levied a tax. Dog owners, however, who kept dogs for working purposes such as herding were exempt from the tax. In order to claim the exemption, owners had to ensure the dogs sported docked or bobbed tails. The Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, 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.
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.
Pembrokes have an average life expectancy of 12–15 years. 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, degenerative myelopathy (DM), 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. Pembrokes are also prone to obesity given a robust appetite, characteristic of herding group breeds.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi lineage has been traced back as far as 1107 AD. It is said that the Vikings and Flemish weavers brought the dogs with them as they traveled to reside in Wales. 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. Pembrokes and Cardigans first appeared together in 1925 when they were shown under the rules of The Kennel Club in Britain. The Corgi Club was founded in December 1925 in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire. It is reported that the local members favored the Pembroke breed, so a club for Cardigan enthusiasts was founded a year or so later. Both groups have worked hard to ensure the appearance and type of breed are standardized through careful selective breeding. 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.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are becoming more popular in the United States and rank 20th (24th) in American Kennel Club registrations, as of 2015 (2012). However, corgis are now listed as a "vulnerable" breed in the United Kingdom; the decline has been said to be due to a 2007 ban on tail-docking (the practice of cutting off the animal’s tail) in the U.K., as well as the lack of breeders in the U.K.
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.
Queen Elizabeth's Corgis
At a young age, the Queen’s passion for this breed started when her father, King George VI, brought home their first royal corgi who was later named “Dookie”. The Queen ceased breeding corgis around 2012 so as not to leave any behind after she dies; her last corgi, Willow, died 18 April 2018.
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- PWCCA Standard of Perfection
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