The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of two dog breeds celebrated as
Welsh Corgis that originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. These herding dogs are
believed to be descended from Swedish Vallhund dogs that came to Wales with the
Vikings. The phrase "cor gi" is frequently translated as "dwarf dog" in Welsh.
The Corgi is in fact, the smallest dog in the herding class.///
Judi the Corgi rolling on ice
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A Pembroke is between 10 and 12 inches (250 to 300 mm) tall at the withers
(tallest point in the shoulders) and weighs no more than 30 lb (15 kg); dogs in
peak condition weigh about 27 pounds (12 kg) for the male and the females are
about 2 pounds (1 kg) lighter. Pembrokes can be red, sable, fawn, or black and
tan (tri color) with or without white markings on the legs, chest, neck, muzzle,
underneath, and as a narrow blaze on the head. Too much white is considered a
fault in show dogs. Historically, the Pembroke was a breed with a natural bob
tail (very short tail). Due to the advent of docking, the trait was not
aggressively pursued, with breeders focusing instead on other characteristics,
and the tail artificially shortened if need be. Given that some countries are
now banning docking, breeders are again attempting to select for dogs with the
genes for natural bob tails. Corgis have a short undercoat as well as a longer
thicker overcoat. These coats shed continuously all year round, with extensive
seasonal shedding occurring at least twice each year (as well as after the
weaning of pups in the intact females). Also common is a "fairy saddle" marking
over the dog's withers, caused by changes in the thickness and direction of hair
growth. The phrase supposedly comes from mythology, with the dogs being used as
steeds or carthorses for fairies, but it is possible the legend is a modern
explanation that came after the term.
Like most herding breeds, they are active, intelligent, and athletic dogs
despite their short legs and plump body. The short legs may seem to be a
disadvantage, but they can run and jump just as well as any other dog of
comparable size. Though still sometimes used as a working dog, today they are
more commonly kept as companions. They are happy, and loving, but can have a
stubborn streak due to their natural instinct to command their surroundings.
Pems are extremely intelligent and quick thinkers, which can make them easy to
train, but they are not subservientó for instance, they might not respond to
"come" if they have found something such as a gopher hole that interests them
more than the reward offered. In training, the most success has been found using
food/treat based praise as the Pem has an insatiable appetite to a fault. Care
must be used when using this type of training praise. Corgis can become
overweight quickly so in using food/treat based praise, moderation should be
one's top priority.
Although short, Corgis are fast runners and, like most herding breeds, need a
minimum of an hour's exercise daily. They are, contrary to appearances, a
medium-size dog and should not be thought of as a toy dog or one who needs less
attention and activity.
Welsh Corgi alert and bright
The length of the spine can cause spinal problems and early arthritis in
Corgis. Corgis usually live about twelve to fourteen years.
Pembroke Corgis, if not kept active or if overfed, can easily become obese.
The disease can end a Pembroke Corgi's life particularly early since biophysical
stresses on the structures of a Pembroke Corgi's spine resulting from the weight
of an oversized belly can and do lead to secondary diseases such as
osteoarthritis. Corgis are also prone to a disease called Degenerative
Pembroke Corgis should also not be forced to jump from relatively great
heights, such as from a couch, for they could fracture their relatively short
legs or damage their very long backs.
Originally bred for herding sheep and cattle, they have proven themselves as
excellent companion animals and are outstanding competitors in sheepdog trials
and dog agility.
Corgis are becoming more popular in the United States and rank 23rd in
American Kennel Club registrations as of 2004.
- Ein, from the popular anime series Cowboy Bebop, is a Pembroke Welsh
- Pembroke Welsh Corgis are a favourite of Queen Elizabeth II of the United
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