The Welsh Corgi is a small breed of dog characterized by short legs, fox-like brush and long body. Its proportion is generally longer than tall. It has a foxy head that is wide and flat between the ears tapering towards the eyes with a moderate stop. The muzzle tapers to a black nose while the dark eyes are widely set with clearly defined corners. It has large, erect ears with slightly rounded tips which are a bit large compared to the overall proportion of the dog. The well muscled neck fits well into the sloping shoulders and carries the head with relative ease. The front legs are short and slightly bowed with outward pointing feet while the equally short back legs have muscular thighs that provide support to a long body. The feet are very well padded which gives cushion to the breed. Another distinct feature of the breed is a fox-like brushy tail which is moderately long and carried low when at rest. The weather-proof coat is short and hard to touch with a good undercoat and comes in any colour with or without white markings.
The Welsh Corgi originated in Wales, United Kingdom and is believed to be descended from Swedish Vallhund brought to Wales by the Vikings. Its name is derived from “Cor gi” which means “dwarf dog” in Welsh and is one of the oldest herding breeds. Since 1934, it is generally categorized as two distinct breeds namely, the Cardigan and the Pembroke. The Cardigan was named after its area of origin, Cardiganshire, Wales and is a bit larger with larger rounded ears and a fox-like brush while the Pembroke has rounded, pointed ears and a bit smaller. Historically, the Pembroke comes with a natural bobtail (very short tail) but the feature was not pursued due to docking. The breed was mode popular by Queen Elizabeth II who always takes four of them at all times. The Pembroke was originally bred as a farm guardian but was later on given a job as cattle herder. It was first shown in England in 1919. Today, the Pembroke is mainly a companion dog but can still pretty much do its original purpose.
Like other herding dogs that are bred to do specific tasks, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a tendency to develop its own leisure activity and can become destructive if not given a job to do. As a cattle dog, the Pembroke is very active and athletic that packs an enormous amount of stamina. It is a joyful and loving breed, never shy nor aggressive, but has a stubborn streak mainly due to its natural instinct to command its surroundings. A naturally alert character and its wariness of strangers make it a good watchdog. The breed is very affectionate and a very devoted companion and is generally good with children and other dogs. It is highly intelligent which can think very quick making it an easily trainable breed.
Training should be firm, consistent, varied and with positive reinforcement as the Welsh Corgi is typically an intelligent breed which can get bored very easily with repetitive training.
Grooming is minimal and very straightforward; once a week brushing to remove loose or dead hair is sufficient. The breed sheds moderately twice a year.
The Welsh Corgi (both the Cardigan and the Pembroke) are among the healthiest and longest-lived dogs belonging to the Pastoral group. The Pembroke has an average lifespan between 11 to 13 years and tends to be less robust than the Cardigan. Among the known health problems that affect the Pembroke include intervertebral disc disease, canine hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, progressive retinal atrophy and epilepsy. Because of its long stature, the Pembroke should be picked up in a proper manner to prevent from injuring the breed’s spinal cord.
Despite having a low stature, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi requires a moderate amount of exercise and must not be overfed or it will quickly become obese which might prove fatal because of its long spine. This energetic breed requires a couple of good walks everyday to keep it physically and mentally fit. The coat of the Pembroke is weather-proof and generally clean and odourless.
Its strong herding instinct can sometimes manifest by nipping at people’s heels particularly with that of children.