The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a popular breed that gets a lot of press. Standing only about 10 inches tall, but weighing up to 30 pounds, this stout, short-legged little dog is well known for cuteness. But she also faces some serious health concerns.
What’s In This Guide
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi FAQs
Our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
- How much is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi?
- What is the difference between a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi?
- How long do Pembroke Welsh Corgis live?
- Do Pembroke Welsh Corgis shed?
Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: 13th most popular dog breed, according to the AKC
- Purpose: Originally a herding dog, now a companion animal
- Weight: Up to 30 pounds
- Temperament: Intelligent, friendly, good watchdogs
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Fun facts about Pembroke Welsh Corgis
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi appearance
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi temperament
- Training and exercising your Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi health and care
- Do Pembroke Welsh Corgis make good family pets?
- Rescuing a Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Finding a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy
- Raising a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy
- Popular Pembroke Welsh Corgi breed mixes
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi products and accessories
History And Original Purpose Of The Pembroke Welsh Corgi
As their name suggests, Pembroke Welsh Corgis originated from Wales. These little dogs have been used as herders, farm guardians, and as family companions in Wales since the tenth century.
They may be descended from the Vallhunds, which were Swedish cattle dogs. Or their ancestors may be the Flemish Schipperkes and Pomeranians brought into Wales by Flemish weavers, invited to Britain by King Henry I in 1107.
In the 1920s, Corgis became recognized as a breed by the English Kennel Club. And in 1934, Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis were recognized as separate breeds.
In 1934, the American Kennel Club also recognized both breeds.
The Corgis from Cardiganshire are an older breed, distinguished from the Pembrokeshire breed by larger, rounded ears, smaller eyes, and a non-docked tail. These dogs are also slightly heavier-boned.
The Pembroke Today
With a long and distinguished history as herders and guardians, Pembroke Corgis are now some of the most popular companion animals in the world.
Fun Facts About Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Corgis have a magical background. Legends say that these dogs were used by fairies and elves to pull coaches, work their cattle, and as a riding steed.
The word “Corgi” supposedly means “dwarf dog” in Welsh.
These dogs get a lot of press. That’s not just because they’re roly-poly and darling, but also because the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, loves them.
A recent article in the U.K. tabloid, The Sun, even called her pet Corgis the “power be-hound the throne.”
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Appearance
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are low-set, strong, sturdy dogs. They have a very distinctive look as a result of their long bodies and short legs.
The head of a Welsh Corgi dog is fox-like in shape and appearance. They have wide, flat skulls and erect, bat-like ears that can look large, especially in Welsh Corgi puppies.
The long bodies provide overall balance, and they have deep chests. Pembroke Welsh Corgi tails are docked.
Their appearance makes them a popular breed. Which is why they’re a contender in our cutest dog breeds guide!
An adult Corgi will weigh about 27-30 pounds. They are like big dogs in small packages – very compact and muscular!
But they are also well-balanced. Corgis aren’t coarse or heavy-boned.
For showing Corgis, the preferred weight is about 27 pounds for males and 25 pounds for females.
Dogs in show condition should have a nice, medium bone structure.
Height for dogs is usually calculated from the ground to the withers. In Corgis, height for adult dogs is usually about 10-12 inches.
Of course, the best way to figure out the potential height of your Pembroke Welsh Corgi is to look at his parents and grandparents.
A peek into the genetic line can give you a more precise range of height possibilities.
Some people are trying to breed miniature Corgis, but their health is currently a topic of much debate.
The coat of the Corgi is medium length, with a short but thick water-resistant undercoat and a longer and coarser outer coat that lies flat.
Their hair is usually straight or wavy.
Generally, Pembroke Welsh Corgi colors include:
These colors can present with or without white markings.
Show Dog Characteristics
If you’re planning to show Corgis, “fluffies” – a long coat with feathering at the ears – are considered a fault.
So are “whitelies” – white dogs with dark/red markings – and “bluies,” where the colored portion of the coat has a bluish cast (often paired with light eyes).
Mismarks include “self” colors with any white on the back between the withers and tail, on the sides between the elbows and back of the hindquarters, or on the ears.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Temperament
Many consider the Welsh Corgi one of the most agreeable of the small house dog breeds, as they are sweet and affectionate without being needy. These dogs are bright, curious, and sensitive pups.
As they are used to herd cattle (by nipping at their feet), they are relatively fearless and bold, too. They may display some herding tendencies to small children or to other animals.
Pembroke Corgis are active and lively little guys with a ton of stamina. They have sharp senses and make good watchdogs.
Corgis are not aggressive. They’re outgoing and loyal. As good guard dogs, though, Corgi dogs do bark to alert humans. They have quite a loud and powerful bark for their size because of the depth of their chests.
They may also bark if they’re home alone or bored. If they don’t get enough exercise, you’ll hear them loud and clear! The good news is, they’re also very trainable, so this is something you can work on.
Training And Exercising Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Training is beneficial for all dogs, and Corgis are very responsive to training because of their energy and willingness to please.
Since they are also quite independent, training may help curb this tendency and keep Corgis out of trouble.
Remember they are a sensitive breed, so positive, reward-based training works well. Training can help deepen the owner-dog bond, too.
Corgis are on the small side, but they’ve got big-dog qualities, so socializing them with people and other dogs is good. You may also have to teach them to walk up and down stairs because of their long bodies. They may suffer from back problems as they get older, so the amount and type of activity should be monitored.
As active and energetic pups, Corgis do need exercise. They like both long and short walks, jogging, and other pursuits.
They may also benefit from some agility training, thanks to their herding nature.
As a short-legged breed, though, Corgi exercise needs are moderate.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Health And Care
While Corgis are often fortunate healthwise, there are some medical conditions of concern in this breed.
One thing you should know is that Pembroke Welsh Corgis are considered to be a true dwarf breed.
This means that they are built proportionately, like bigger dogs, despite their smaller size.
The short legs that Corgis are known for is from a phenotype called chondrodysplasia, which can also be seen in the Basset hound.
Some of the conditions that Corgis may face are listed below.
Hip dysplasia is an umbrella term for conditions that affect the joints of dogs. The condition leads to osteoarthritis in the affected joints, and eventual loss of use.
This condition can sometimes be managed for a time with diet and controlled exercise as well as drug therapies, but it is progressive and non-reversible.
You may know it from bigger dogs, but the chondrodysplasia that is bred into Corgis causes hip laxity and issues that lead to dysplasia.
Corgis may inherit issues in the eyes like progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal ulcers, blocked tear ducts, conjunctivitis, epiphora, and trichiasis.
These may eventually lead to blindness.
Such diseases and resulting blindness may be managed, with care.
Von Willebrand Disease
This is an inherited form of thrombocytopathia, or qualitative platelet defects.
These defects cause issues in platelet function, including adhesion, aggregation, and release.
It is basically a bleeding disorder especially commonly diagnosed in Corgis.
If your dog has prolonged bleeding despite normal platelet counts and clotting functions, this might be a cause.
Dogs with this disease must not play roughly with other dogs due to excessive bleeding, but the condition can be managed, sometimes with transfusion therapy.
Depending on which studies you read, one of the biggest causes of Corgi mortality is from heart conditions.
Corgis may experience heart murmurs, primary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, right-to-left congenital cardiac shunts, and persistent ductus arteriosus (the opening of two vessels leading from the heart), among other conditions.
Each of these conditions will have different management regimens and prognoses that can be overseen by your veterinarian.
While many studies do not specify the type of cancer, studies of Corgi and purebred mortality show that cancer is usually one of the top three causes of death for this breed.
Cardiac issues and old age are also top reasons for mortality.
Dogs that suffer from degenerative myelopathy (DM) in their spinal cords experience progressive and chronic issues in their pelvic limbs, which can lead to paraplegia and incontinence.
Vets may prescribe a drug treatment regimen, but the long-term prognosis of DM is poor.
Many dogs diagnosed with DM end up being euthanized within six months of the time of diagnosis.
Other issues that Corgis may be prone to are:
- reproductive issues (irregular heat cycles, absence of testes, infertility, uterine infections)
- elbow dysplasia
- neurologic disorders
- gastrointestinal issues
- autoimmune diseases.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Lifespan, Care, And Grooming
Breeders estimate the average Pembroke Welsh Corgi lifespan at about 12-13 years.
Corgis do shed daily, and more in season, so they require consistent grooming. A Pembroke Welsh Corgi should be groomed daily.
Using a comb and a slicker brush can help control the shed hair. Use both these tools each day. This shouldn’t take long – just a few minutes a day should help control the flyaway hairs.
Spray the coat with water to prevent airborne hairs. Especially during the shedding season (late spring, early summer), give your Corgis baths to loosen dead hairs, then brush them.
Do Pembroke Welsh Corgis Make Good Family Pets?
Welsh Corgis can definitely be good pets, thanks to their sweet temperaments and loyal natures.
Just make sure that you socialize and train them well! Some training might be especially required with Welsh Corgi puppies to curb natural herding behavior where it affects small children.
Use common sense when introducing Corgis to children and also pets.
These dogs were used on the farm for ratting and many other duties, so they may view kids and other pets as part of the herding job at first. You’ll have to train them early to curb this type of behavior.
Rescuing A Pembroke Welsh Corgi
If you aren’t absolutely set on getting Corgi puppy, we definitely recommend looking into rescuing a dog in need of a good home.
This is good for the dog, and heartwarming for you: a win-win!
Of course, not knowing where a dog comes from may make it more difficult to ensure that she is trained correctly. So this may not be the best choice if you have small children in the house.
If you’re interested in looking for a Corgi, check out our list of rescues here.
Finding A Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy
These are popular dogs, so it shouldn’t be hard to find Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeders. However, a few cautions are in order.
Ensure that you’re working with a reputable breeder. The breeder should answer your questions to your satisfaction, be willing to have you visit the parent dogs, and provide proof of health tests. Good Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeders should also be interested in your circumstances, to make sure that you will be a good fit for the puppy.
We absolutely recommend that you avoid backyard breeders, puppy mills, and pet stores. None of these have the best interests of the puppies at heart.
For more information, check out our puppy search guide.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Price
So what’s the average Pembroke Welsh Corgi price?
Well, it may differ depending on what area you’re in and how much of a demand there is locally. You can also expect to pay more for show quality dogs, and for well established breeders.
Raising A Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy
Raising a puppy of any breed isn’t the easiest or simplest thing. In fact, it’s a big responsibility to care for a vulnerable puppy!
Thankfully, there is plenty of expert guidance out there to help with all aspects of puppy care and training. Take a look at our puppy training page here for more specifics.
Popular Pembroke Welsh Corgi Breed Mixes
Corgis make for a popular mixed breed option! Here are some interesting mixes that you may be intrigued by.
Comparing The Pembroke Welsh Corgi With Other Breeds
The most natural breed to compare to the Pembroke Welsh is her Corgi relative, the Cardigan.
Cardigans tend to be a little taller and heavier than the Pembroke. They also have less of the “foxy” appearance, though their ears are still large and wide-set. The personality of the two is similar, though Cardigan Welsh Corgis can be a little more aloof and a bit more difficult to train.
Take a look at our in-depth comparison of the two here.
Are you looking for other small, adorable breeds to consider?
These others are definitely worthy of your time and interest.
Pros And Cons of Getting A Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Prone to several health problems
- May have joint issues
- Can show herding instincts
- Tends to bark
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Products And Accessories
Ready to trick out your new puppy? Here are some essentials.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Rescues
There are several Pembroke Welsh Corgi rescues dedicated to this breed. Here are some that we have found. But if you come across any others, please leave us a comment and let us know!
References And Resources
- Adams, V. J. et al (2010). Methods and mortality results of a health survey of purebred dogs in the UK. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 51.
- Coates, J. R. et al (2008). Clinical characterization of a familial degenerative myelopathy in Pembroke Welsh Corgi Dogs. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 21.
- Ekenberg, V. Genetic parameters affecting leg length, leg weakness, hip- and elbow conformation in domesticated dogs, in comparison with pigs. Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet.
- Karbe, G. T. et al (2012). Radiographic hip joint phenotype of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Veterinary Surgery, 41.
- Kolm, U. S. et al (2006). Plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy in a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 45.
- Marks, C. A. (1993). Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in a dog. Journal of the American Medical Association, 203.
- Moore, F. M. and Thornton, G. W. (1983). Telangiectasia of Pembroke Welsh Corgi Dogs. Veterinary Pathology, 20.
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, Inc. Genetics and Health Issues.
- Peterson-Jones, S. (2006). Advances in the molecular understanding of canine retinal diseases. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 46.
- Szabo, S. D. et al (2007). Evaluation of a circumferential femoral head osteophyte as an early indicator of osteoarthritis characteristic of canine hip dysplasia in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 231.
- The Kennel Club. Report from the Kennel Club British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee: Summary results of the purebred dog health survey for the Welsh Corgi Pembroke breed.
- Woody, B. J. (1992). Clinical approach to the diagnosis of diseases and disorders in pets and domestic animals sometimes mistaken for anticoagulant toxicosis. Proceedings of the Fifteenth Vertebrate Pest Conference.
This article has been revised and updated for 2019.