The Pembroke Welsh Corgi (/ˈkɔrɡi/; Welsh for "dwarf dog"), 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 Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the younger of the two Corgi breeds and is a separate and distinct breed from the Cardigan. 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 has owned more than 30 during her reign. These dogs have been favoured 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 Pembroke Welsh Corgi was ranked as the 25th most popular dog in 2011.
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 long, bobbed, or artificially docked tail and erect, big ears. The corgi's head should be foxy in shape and appearance. They differ from the closely related Cardigan Welsh Corgi by being shorter in length and having straighter legs. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) tall from their feet to the top of their shoulders. The length from the shoulders to the set on of the tail is 40 percent longer than their height. Pembrokes in peak athletic condition weigh Male: 25 to 30 pounds (11 to 14 kg) with 27 pounds (12 kg) considered as Show Condition, Female: 23 to 28 pounds (10 to 13 kg) with 25 pounds (11 kg) considered as Show Condition. They reach their full height by 9 months old, but their bodies keep filling out until they reach full maturity at two years. Pembrokes have a big appetite, so they can weigh up to 38 pounds (17 kg) if allowed to overeat. Pembroke Welsh Corgis can benefit from portion control and exercise.
Coat and color 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: similar to red, with a light peppering of black. Fawn with white markings: similar to above, but a lighter red (the red can be from a light brown to a deep red) Red-headed tricolor: a black dog with a red head, red spots above the eyes, on the sides of the muzzle, on the legs, in the ears and around the tail area. White markings as described above may also be present; the white markings can often obscure some of the red markings of the muzzle and legs. A dog would be considered a "mismark" if black and white with no tan present. Black-headed tricolor (the most recessive color genetically): black and red, with red and white markings as described under "Red" above. A dog would be considered a "mismark" if black and white with no tan present.
Pembrokes should have a "fairy saddle" white marking on the side of their shoulders caused by changes in the thickness, length and direction of hair growth. The phrase "fairy saddle" arises from the legend that Pembroke Welsh Corgis were harnessed and used as steeds by fairies. The white markings can be on the feet, chest, nose, stripe on the head, and as white partly or fully around the neck. Pembroke Welsh Corgis have an undercoat of fine soft fur and an overcoat of coarse hair, which makes their coat water resistant. Their coat should be medium length with a little extra on the chest plate. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a triple coat with medium length hair and are fairly heavy shedders. In addition to their regular shedding, they blow their coat twice a year (in the spring and fall). Faults in the breed include: "fluffies" who have long hair, and "bluies," which is a dilute color. In a bluie that is a red dog, the red color would seem to have a bluish cast to it and the eyes will be light (instead of a dark brown) and the nose, eye rims, lips and pad color would be slate gray instead of black. In a black dog, the areas that would be black in a black dog are instead a slate blue gray. As in the red, the eyes will be light and the nose, eyerims, lips and pads will be slate gray. "Whities" have white in abnormal areas. According to the AKC, fluffies, bluies, and whities should not be bred due to their genetic faults. Other faults include smaller toy-like Corgis, obviously oversized dogs, and Corgis with all short hair as in a Doberman.
Tail Some Pembroke Welsh Corgis are born with a natural bobtail. Others may have their tails docked between 2–5 days old due to tradition or to conform to the breed standard. The ritual began when they were primarily used as herding dogs in the United Kingdom. According to Tax Law any Pet Dog was considered a Luxury, and therefore Pet Owners were taxed. However working and herding dogs were exempt from the Tax, but to be Tax Exempt the owners had to dock the tails. The Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, and the FCI allow tails to be shown in conformation, only the AKC Standard states the tails should be docked no longer than 2 inches (5 cm). In many countries, tail docking is now illegal, so many corgis have long tails. Only the United States and part of Canada insist on docking of this breed for showing, but this too is slowly starting to change.
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. The dogs are easy to train and are ranked as the eleventh smartest dog in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs. Besides herding, they also function as watchdogs due to their alertness and tendency to bark only as needed. Most Pembrokes will seek the attention of everyone they meet and behave well around children and other pets. It is important to socialise 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.
Pembrokes have an average life expectancy of 12–15 years. Health problems may include degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and Von Willebrand's disease if their parents suffered from the same problems. Pembrokes descend from the line that is the northern spitz-type dog (examples include that of the Siberian Husky).
History 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. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are closely related to Schipperkes, Keeshonds, Pomeranians, Samoyeds, Chow Chows, Norwegian Elkhounds and Finnish Spitz. Pembrokes and Cardigans first appeared together in 1925 when they were shown under the rules of The Kennel Club in Britain. The Corgi Club was founded in December, 1925 in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire. It is reported that the local members favored the Pembroke breed, so a club for Cardigan enthusiasts was founded a year or so later. Both groups have worked hard to ensure the appearance and type of breed are standardized through careful selective breeding. Pembrokes and Cardigans were officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1928 and were initially categorized together under the single heading of Welsh Corgis, before the two breeds were recognized as separate and distinct in 1934. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are becoming more popular in the United States and rank 24th in American Kennel Club registrations, as of 2012.
Activities Pembroke Welsh Corgis can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests.
In popular culture The anime series Cowboy Bebop features an extraordinarily intelligent Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Ein.