The favored canine of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi (PWC) consistently ranks high for both intelligence and breed popularity. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized both Pembroke and Cardigan as 'Welsh Corgi,' but separate breed designations were given in 1934. This diligent dog thrives with a job to do, and if not given one will seek out his own work—often herding family members and pets. The affectionate, loyal PWC makes a wonderful companion, but may be challenging for a first-time dog owner due to its cleverness, stubbornness, and willful nature.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are also known as PWCs or simply as Corgi.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi mixes may be available in shelters and rescues. While mixes may display some of the physical traits and temperament of the Corgi—specifically herding behaviors—the characteristics of the other breeds in the genetics will likely be present as well. Most shelters do not perform DNA testing on the animals they care for—breed is often determined based on physical characteristics, as well as information provided at the dog's surrender.
To adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Pembroke Welsh Corgi, it may be helpful to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues as they often maintain waiting lists for specific requests. Corgi mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but due to lack of information about their genetic history, their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog's personality through a series of evaluations—even if the dog's temperament may not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi mixes may include Australian Shepherd, Beagle, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, and various terrier-types.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi's double coat consists of a medium length, dense undercoat and a longer topcoat. Red, sable, fawn, black, or tri-color are the 5 basic Pembroke Welsh Corgi colors, and they may present with or without white markings.
Average Height: 10-12 inches
Male: up to 30 pounds
Female: up to 28 pounds
Breed Standard & History
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is low-set, long, and sturdy, yet balanced. A fox-shaped head and erect, rounded ears with an interested expression are desirable. A long rib cage and deep chest should be well-balanced and proportionate; short forelegs turn in slightly, hindquarters are muscular. Medium length undercoat is covered by a longer overcoat, with a thick ruff around the neck. The Corgi's outlook is bold and intelligent, without any shyness. A smooth gait should demonstrate agility. Balance, outlook, and temperament are considered most important in this breed. – AKC Breed Standards
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales, as early as 1107 A.D. The exact origin is unclear, but it is said that either the Vikings, Celts, or Flemish introduced the breed to Wales. Fines and punishments were issued historically to anyone who attempted to steal or harm a Corgi, so well loved was this plucky dog for its hardworking nature.
The Welsh Corgi was first brought to America in the 1930s by American breeder Mrs. Lewis Roesler of Massachusetts.
AKC Breed Category
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a loyal companion. The affectionate, spirited, dependable breed is also known for its strong will and stubbornness. The Corgi is often described as impish, goofy, and entertaining. Corgis are often called a 'big dog in a small body.'
Are Corgis Good with Kids? While generally good with kids, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a herding breed and may nip or herd children if not provided enough stimulation. They may also lack some of the patience non-herding breeds may exhibit.
Are Corgis Good with Other Pets? Most Corgis get along well with other pets in the home. The Corgi's herding instinct often results in many loud and speedy games of chase, so they may not be a good match for a timid cat or dog. Because they were bred for herding, they also do well with livestock and farm animals.
Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis good guard dogs? This observant breed will bark when necessary to warn of trespassers. Instinctively loyal, trustworthy, alert, and protective, Corgis take their job as protector of the household seriously. They were bred to watch over cattle and other farm animals, so it is in their nature to guard their home and family.
A high-energy, active, athletic dog, Pembroke Welsh Corgis need plenty of exercise.
- Without a job to do, they may take to herding children or other pets.
- Need mental stimulation and engaging activities such as advanced training or brain games to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.
- May be protective of family and property and wary of animals or people they do not know.
- Known to bark.
A Pembroke Welsh Corgi is well-suited for both rural and urban living, as long as you provide them plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Regular walks throughout the day are necessary. This breed is suitable for apartment living, though they are known for their tendency to bark at any sign of danger—real or perceived.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis need plenty of space to run and play. They may benefit from a fenced yard because of their herding instincts and propensity to run. A Corgi's thick, weather-resistant coat provides comfort against the wind, rain, and snow—but is less comfortable in the heat.
These Corgis are active dogs who thrive with a job to do. They need moderate exercise multiple times per day and may get bored by repetitive activities—alternating routines and activities may help.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are active dogs who need plenty of exercise, but their short legs and long back call for special considerations. Climbing or keeping up on a long or intense jog may challenge them. Strenuous activity can contribute to back problems as a Corgi ages. They may be prone to overheating in hot weather due to their thick coat, so plenty of water and regular rest are musts. Walks and light running are the preferred manner of exercise for a Corgi. Energy alone does not make a dog a good running partner; the Pembroke Welsh Corgi's energy is well spent learning agility or tricks.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: Corgis are sprinters, not distance runners. They may be up for running around one or two miles, perhaps more if they are in good health and well-conditioned.
- Hiking Miles: A fit Corgi may be able to hike between six and eight miles at a moderate pace. Rigorous hikes should wait until after a Corgi reaches one year of age to allow for proper growth. Backpacks are not recommended for Corgis, to prevent back injuries.
Corgis are prone to overeating and are very food motivated. The breed responds well to treats during training sessions. The general recommendation for how much high-quality dry dog food (based on average weight and activity level) to feed is ¾ to 1 ½ cups of food per day. This amount should be split between two or three meals, or can be offered in a food-dispensing puzzle toy.
While they may be left alone for four to eight hours during the day, the highly social Corgi thrives on family interaction. Their high energy level means the Corgi requires plenty of exercise throughout the day. It may be necessary to crate train a Pembroke Welsh Corgi to prevent chewing or destructive behavior due to boredom.
Health and Grooming
This double-coated breed is a moderate to heavy shedding dog. Grooming is low maintenance, but brushing a few times per week is recommended. The coat itself is self-cleaning and will release dirt and debris as it dries or when brushed, and you may bathe a Corgi as necessary. Corgis blow, or shed, their undercoat twice per year. Daily brushing may be necessary during seasonal shedding. Trimming nails regularly will help prevent painful splitting, cracking, or a broken nail.
Common Health Issues
While this is generally a healthy breed, some of the more common health concerns for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi include:
- Kidney failure
- Urethral obstruction
- Weight problems
- Arthritis, especially in overweight Corgis
- Herniated spinal discs and other disc conditions
- Eye conditions including cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and retinal dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
You can minimize serious health concerns in a Corgi by purchasing him from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an intelligent breed that responds well to training. They can be stubborn and willful, so training must be consistent, and the trainer must be aware of the manipulative nature of the Corgi.
Corgis are wonderful candidates for agility training and competition. PWCs have a desire to learn and a strong willingness to please. A Corgi takes to a job well and trains easily for herding and working. They learn advanced tricks with ease and are usually delighted to show off their skills.
Sporting Dog Training
A Pembroke Welsh Corgi's natural instinct is to protect and herd, but they also learn quickly and like to please. A Corgi may be trained to retrieve, but may not have the desired soft mouth for such. They may make a good hunting companion, but ground clearance and endurance may be a problem in thick cover. They may be gun-shy or tend to bark or howl at the noise.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis may be born with a long tail or with a shorter natural bob tail. If born with a long tail, PWCs commonly have their tail docked. Countries where tail docking is illegal will select dogs with the genetic markers for a short tail when breeding.
Folklore says the Corgi was discovered when fairies left a pair of Corgi puppies for humans to find. Fairies were said to have ridden Corgis, and the saddle-like markings on their back are proof, as the story goes.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi are considered two separate breeds, though differences may be difficult to spot. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi—cousin to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi—has a long tail, more rounded ears, and is slightly larger. The Pembroke is smaller and more affectionate than the Cardigan.
No, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is not hypoallergenic. The PWC is a double-coated dog who sheds considerably.
Corgis have a type of dwarfism called chondrodysplasia which causes their limbs to harden at the tips and stop growing early. The short-legged silhouette was perfect for herding cattle, so breeding for the characteristic passed on the trait to the modern-day Corgi.