According to folklore, the Corgi is an enchanted creature beloved by fairies and elves. The legend probably stems from their friendly nature and dwarf-like stature, which would be the perfect height for accompanying and transporting these mythical creatures throughout their realms. But fantasy aside, Corgis have quite a following in the real world and have charmed their way into the hearts of enthusiasts all over the world—including a certain British royal.
Come with us for this edition of Animal Facts as we debunk the myths and discover the truth behind the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
While there are two Corgi breeds, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi, in this video we’ll focus on the Pembroke Welsh Corgi since they are more popular. But much of the information applies to both breeds.
The lineage of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi goes as far back as 1107 A.D. Originally bred to herd horses and livestock, it is believed that they were brought to Wales by Flemish weavers who settled there.
This year, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi ranked at number 10 in the American Kennel Club’s list of the top ten breeds in the U.S. These spritely pups are gaining popularity in the America, but are considered “vulnerable” in the United Kingdom. The downward trend is thought to be caused by a 2007 ban on tail clipping and a shortage of breeders in the U.K. In 2014, the Corgi was placed on the AKC ‘s “Vulnerable Native Breeds” list when the number of registered dogs dipped to less than 300. The breed was dropped from the “At Risk” list in December 2017 when 456 pups were registered.
Fun Fact: Corgis are celebrated as the favorite breed of Queen Elizabeth II. She enjoys their companionship so much that she has owned more than 30 during her reign.
Size and Appearance
Sometimes, big things come in small packages and the Corgi is the perfect example of this. A “true dwarf” breed right down to its name (Corgi means “dwarf dog” in Welsh), the average corgi stands 10 to 12 inches, with males weighing in at 27 to 30 pounds and females weighing about 25-28 pounds. It is long, and has short, muscular legs and a thick chest, much like the Dachshund.
The facial structure and ears of the Corgi are similar to those of a fox. Their coats are prone to excessive shedding and come in red, fawn, sable and black and tan, sometimes with splashes of white interspersed throughout.
At first glance, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi appear to be one and the same. But there are a few differences between the two, most notably the Pembroke’s naturally bobbed tail or (depending on the gene mutation) complete lack of a tail.
Fun Fact: Legend suggests that the markings on the Corgi’s coat are from the saddles and harnesses used by the aforementioned fairies and elves when riding the Corgis in battle, and when the Corgis pull their carriages.
Temperament and Family Life for the Corgi
Corgis are very affectionate in general, love to socialize with other pets and are eager to please their humans. Their desire to please combined with their exceptional intelligence, makes them ready and willing to learn, and easy to train.
Natural-born herders, Corgis are compelled to chase anything that moves, so they should be confined when not being walked. Their inclination to herd may also incite your young Corgi to nip at your ankles. In order to discourage aggression and antisocial behavior, it is very important to encourage socialization with humans and other animals, while they are pups.
Though these herding instincts may not make them a great fit for families with babies or toddlers, this breed’s unbridled energy and affectionate nature make them quite compatible with school-age children and teens.
Fun Fact: Corgis make great watchdogs. Not only do they love to herd, they love to be heard. Don’t be fooled by their appearance, these charming, little elfin dogs are very vocal and will bark at any and everything.
Corgi Trainability and Intelligence
Corgis are highly intelligent, intuitive, independent—and stubborn. If not trained properly, they will take advantage of the situation and assert themselves as the dominant species. That said, it is imperative that the roles in the relationship be established in a firm, but affectionate manner so that the dog is able to retain some of its independence.
The trusting, eager to please nature of the Corgi makes them fairly easy to train. Positive reinforcement is a great training technique for this breed, as most will do whatever it takes to earn praise from their people. The Corgi’s favorite times of the day are playtime and mealtime, so treats and toys are very effective training tools. Corgis also love to be the center of attention. As long as all eyes are on them, they don’t mind performing a task or doing a new trick.
🐶 Corgis are intelligent, but we could all use some help training them. Check out Brain Training for Dogs to learn how to use your dog’s natural intelligence to stop bad behavior.
Fun Fact: In 2015, a Corgi race was held to predict Princess Charlotte’s name. Gamblers bet on ten Corgis wearing vests with different names printed on them. The Corgi with a vest emblazoned with the name Alexandra was the winner…go figure.
Since Welsh Corgis were bred to herd, they need plenty of exercise to burn excess energy, and keep their minds occupied. They are also prone to excessive weight gain, so in order to avoid spinal problems caused by the strain of too much weight being carried under a long back, regular exercise is a must.
In addition to regular walks, Corgis should be taken out a least twice a day for strenuous activities such as jogging, running alongside a bike or on a treadmill, playing fetch or playdates with dog pals—sans leash.
Automated toys and herding games are wonderful ways for your Corgi to get a both a physical and mental workout while satisfying their urge to herd. Your pal will love chasing trinkets that move about on their own and managing their “flock” of herding balls. These balls are made of virtually indestructible materials that can withstand the rough and tumble assembling tactics of any herding breed dog.
Check out Shiba Inu vs Corgi
Health and Lifespan
In general, Corgis are not prone to poor health, and their average lifespan is 12 to 15 years, but their physicality makes them more likely to develop certain afflictions related to their short legs and lengthy spine. Corgis are also predisposed to canine obesity which can put additional stress on their spines.
Back conditions in any species can be catastrophic. It is important that afflictions such as progressive spinal degenerative myelopathy and intervertebral disc disease be treated quickly, so that your Corgi’s quality of life is affected as little as possible. Also, eye problems such as cataracts and retinal dysplasia (a condition in which the retina can detach causing complete blindness) are very common in Corgis.
Other health problems unique to Corgis include Von Willebrand Disease (a blood disease similar to hemophilia that occurs in humans), cutaneous asthenia (a condition that causes the skin to lose its elasticity) and patent ductus arteriosus (a vascular system disorder in which unoxygenated blood bypasses the lungs).
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