The Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a herding dog breed, which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is one of two breeds known as Welsh Corgi: the other is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. 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 owns several. 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 Corgi is proportional to larger breeds but has shorter legs, yet has a sturdy appearance and an athletic body that helps it herd livestock such as poultry, sheep and cattle. Its body is long, and it has a naturally bobbed or docked tail and erect ears.
There are five "allowed" colors for Pembroke Welsh Corgis:
- 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. Red is the most commonly seen color as it is the genetically most dominant of the colors.
- Sable with white markings, which is like a red but with a light peppering of black.
- Fawn with white markings as described above, which is a lighter red (the red can be from a fawn to a deep red)
- Red-headed tricolor, which is a black dog with a red head, red spots above the eyes, on the sides of the muzzle on the legs and in the ears and around the anal area they also have white markings as described above and the white markings can often obscure some of the red markings of the muzzle and legs. A dog would be considered a mismark if they were black and white with no tan present.
- Black-headed tricolor, (the most recessive color genetically) which is a black and red dogs with red markings (in the same places you would see red on a black doberman) and white markings as described under Red above. A dog would be considered a mismark if they were black and white with no tan present.
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. (They can be stubborn, however.) The dogs are easy to train and are ranked as the eleventh smartest dog in The World's Smartest Breeds. Besides herding, they also function as watchdogs due to their alertness and tendency to only bark as needed. Most Pembrokes will seek the attention of everyone they meet and behave well around children and other pets. It is important to socialize 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 owner's ankles to get attention, but this behavior can be stopped through training and maturity.
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. Pembrokes have proven themselves as excellent companions and are outstanding competitors in sheepdog trials and dog agility. Pembroke Welsh Corgis may be descendants of Swedish Vallhund Dogs, Schipperke, Pomeranian, and other Spitz-type dogs. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are becoming more popular in the United States and rank 22nd in American Kennel Club registrations, as of 2006. Queen Elizabeth II owns 17 dogs of this breed
Pembrokes have an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, similar to most dogs. Like people, every animal can be susceptible to certain physical problems as they get older. Pembroke owners must not indulge their dogs by feeding them too much, which can be a hard task to accomplish. Other health problems may include degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and Von Willebrand's disease if their parents suffered from the same problems. A responsible breeder will have tested the parents for hips, eyes and vWD, all of which can be verified by checking the parents on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) site at www.offa.org.