Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh corgi is a herding dog breed which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is one of two breeds known as Welsh corgis: the other is the Cardigan Welsh corgi. The corgi is the smallest dog in the Herding Group. Pembroke Welsh corgis are famed for being the preferred breed of Queen Elizabeth II, who owns several. These dogs have been a dog 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.


Pembroke Welsh corgis are the only true dwarf in the canine family, being proportional to larger breeds but with shorter legs. Despite short legs, Pembrokes have a strong husky appearance and an athletic body that helps them herd sheep, horses, and cattle. Their bodies are long, tails are docked, and their ears stand erect with curiosity. They may be short, but their husky bodies and big attitudes give them the loving nickname of "Fat Sausage Looking Attention Hog".


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 their bobbed tail is 40 percent longer than their height. Pembrokes in peak athletic condition weigh 26 to 30 pounds (12 to 14 kg) for males, and 24 to 28 pounds (11 to 13 kg) for females. Corgis 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 40 pounds (18 kg).


Pembroke Welsh corgis are very affectionate, loyal, calm, courageous, and hard working. They serve well as family lapdogs while indoors, and as an athletic friend when outdoors. Pembrokes are very mild-mannered dogs that follow wherever their owners go. The dogs are easy to train and are ranked as the 11th smartest dog in "The World's Smartest Breeds." Besides herding, they also function as watchdogs due to their alertness and tendency to only bark as needed. Pembrokes will seek the attention of everyone they meet and behave well around children and other pets. 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 to get attention, but this behavior can be stopped through training and maturity.

Coat and color

There are five colors for Pembroke Welsh corgis:

  • Red with white markings, which are the dominant and most common color.
  • Sable with white markings, which is like a red but with a light peppering of black.
  • Fawn with white markings, which is a lighter red due to a weak red gene.
  • Redheaded tri, which has a red head, black body, red sides, and white markings.
  • Blackheaded tri, which has a black head, black body, red sides, and white markings.

Pembrokes should have a "fairy saddle" 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.

Faults in corgis include: "fluffies" who have long hair, "bluies" who have blueish hair, and "whities" who have white in abnormal areas. Fluffies, bluies, and whities should not be bred due to their genetic faults. Other faults include smaller toy-like corgis, and corgis with all short hair.


The United Kingdom once had a tax on pet dogs, but not on working dogs. The law required that any person with a working dog must cut the tail in order to avoid the tax. Consequently, the farmers docked their Pembroke Welsh corgis that herded sheep, cattle, and horses. One myth is that corgis were once born without tails, a story farmers told to avoid explaining the missing tails to their children. Farmers learned that the docking also kept cattle from nipping and breaking the brittle tails of their Pembrokes. After many generations of docking the tails, it has become common practice to do so. Veterinarians today dock the tails within five days of the corgis' birth, while the dogs have less feeling in the tail. According to AKC Standards, the tails should be docked no longer than 2 inches.


Pembrokes have an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, similar to most dogs.[4] Like people, every animal can be susceptible to certain physical problems as they get older. Pembrokes can become obese if they are fed too much. Other health problems include degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and Von Willebrand's disease if their parents suffered from the same problems.


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.

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