The Pembroke Welsh Corgi : Breed Profile

In Her Majesty’s Service – The Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The breed is known for its happy demeanour along with an independent streak. Foxy looks and a peculiar shape, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is highly intelligent and a fool for affection.

A loyal companion to the Queen of England, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi portrays a picture of class and sophistication. As we look more into this breed, we realise how unique these little ones are.

ORIGIN: Their name can be attributed to the place they originated, Pembrokeshire, Wales. The Vikings and Flemish weavers can be credited for bringing the breed to Wales on their travels in the 10th century. One of the oldest herding breeds of dogs, Corgis were known for shepherding cattle, horses, sheep and more. Closely related to Keeshonds, Pomeranians, Schipperkes, Samoyeds, Chow Chows, their lineage can be traced back to 1107 AD. Welsh legend states that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi belonged to fairies and elves, who were found by two kids out in their fields. The kids along with their parents took good care of the dogs that looked similar to foxes and the canines in return took care of the family’s cattle.

The Pembroke is one of the two breeds known as Welsh Corgi. The other is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. While both have descended from the line of Northern Spitz-type dogs, the Pembroke is the younger one and quite distinct. Initially, both were regarded under one breed, but in 1934, the UK Kennel Club recognised them as separate. The American Kennel Club soon followed. Today, in terms of popularity, the Pembroke ranks 24th according to AKC. A major chunk of their fame can be attributed to Queen Elizabeth II.

DESCRIPTION: Based on their disproportionate size – dwarfism – the breed has been classified as achondroplastic. Due to its short legs, the Pembroke appears longish and low to the ground. With a foxy appearance, its skull is wide and flat between the ears. They have erect ears that are medium in size and taper slightly to a rounded point. Owing to the change in thickness and direction of the strips of hair, many of the dogs have a ‘fairy saddle’ over their backs. Some Pembrokes are born with their tail naturally short or missing. The AKC requires a docked tail that is no more than 2". In India docking is legal, however, in countries like Australia, Italy, it is banned. Cardigans can easily be distinguished from the Pembroke as they have long tails.

ACTIVITY: Pembroke Welsh Corgis are active dogs that need to be encouraged to remain so. Daily, long walks are a compulsion. When walking, be sure to lead the way as this will show the dog, who is in charge. An apartment in the city will suit the breed well as long as they get their daily dose of exercise.

Pembrokes are good at competing in dog agility trials, tracking, obedience, fly ball, and herding events. Corgis show eagerness to learn when their parents train them. This could be because the breed is a people-pleasing one. Easy to train, they ranked as the 11th smartest dog in a book written by Stanley Coren called The Intelligence of Dogs. When young, they also have a disposition to herd people by nipping on their heels. While it may sound adorable, they need to be trained not to do so.

TEMPERAMENT: Highly affectionate, Pembroke Welsh Corgis love to be around their parents and belong to a family. Most often you will find them following their parents wherever they go. Their alertness and tendency to cleverly bark at possible threats, makes them ideal watchdogs as well. Attention seekers that lap up any show of affection showered on them, Pembrokes do well with children and other pets. However, it is highly important to socialise them from an early age to help them adjust better around other beings. Due to their herding instincts, they love to chase anything that moves. You may want to keep them inside fenced areas for this particular reason.

HEALTH: Owing to their achondroplasia, they can suffer from certain non-inherited health conditions as well as some genetic issues. Monorchidism, degenerative myelopathy, Von Willebrand disease, hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. The breed loves to eat food; hence you need to keep a check on their diet to ensure that they do not turn obese.

GROOMING: A thick undercoat and a longer topcoat cover the Pembroke. Due to this, the breed sheds continuously with heavier shedding at least twice a year. While they are easy to groom, ensure that during their shedding period, you brush their hair daily. Regular baths are a must.

Twice or thrice a week, brush their teeth. Though daily brushing is preferable. Nails need to be trimmed once or twice a month. Check their ears for redness and clean with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner.

Interesting Trivia: At last count, the Queen has had more than 30 during her reign. In 2012, royal Corgis Monty, Willow and Holly appeared during the sketch where Daniel Craig as James Bond arrived at the Buckingham Palace to take the Queen to the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

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