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Meet the Corgi, the smallest canine of the herding breeds. This renowned purebred is a foxy little fellow, heralded as a lovable companion that gets along with everyone in the family.
What’s this breed all about? Where does she come from? Is she the right dog for you? Hold tight, my eager lover of the four-legged, I will answer these questions and more!
Read on to learn all about the Welsh Corgi.
What is a Corgi?
Before we kick off back in time to discover the history of this breed, let’s make one thing clear.
Both share a similar history, appearance and temperament, which accounts for why they were registered as one breed by the Kennel Club in 1934.
There are certain differences, though, mainly due to the hazy story of their origins and other genetic factors.
We will compare the two in more detail later, but, for now, let’s start with the first known variety, which is the Pembroke.
The Pembroke is the stuff of fairy tales – literally. Hailing from Pembrokeshire, Wales, legend has it that fairies and elves were the original keepers of these dogs.
One day, two children tending the family cattle out in the fields discovered two puppies unlike any they’d ever seen. The delighted children brought the pups home, where their parents declared that they were a gift from the fairies.
The pups looked like foxes, but sported white markings that resembled a saddle across the shoulders. The legend goes on to explain that these markings are from the saddles of fairies, who rode the little dogs and used them to pull their magical carriages.
Rise of the Heeler
Okay, so the folklore is definitely an interesting part of Corgi history, but let’s look at the real-life version of how this breed came to be.
Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire are neighboring agricultural counties in Wales, where the first Welsh Corgis were relied upon to herd cattle.
Their short legs and long bodies kept them low to the ground and out of harm’s way when it came to jostling hooves. This is why these dogs are commonly described as Heelers, like the Red Heeler and the Texas Heeler, which herd cattle by nipping at the heels.
Two theories exist as to how the first of this breed came into existence. Some believe that the two varieties share the same ancestry, but through time developed differences due to bloodlines branching off in the separate counties.
Others believe that the two varieties come from different backgrounds. They claim that the Pembroke Welsh variety was either imported for use by Flemish weavers in the 10th century or they were developed in Central Europe as herding dogs before being imported to Wales.
The Cardigan Welsh variety, on the other hand, is said to come from Nordic settlers that are known for the breeding of similar looking dog breeds, such as the Swedish Vallhund.
In 1925, the first Welsh Corgi Club was formed by Captain J. P. Howell and a breed standard was established. The club featured considered both varieties of these dogs as one and the same breed.
From this point on, these canines became popular as show dogs. The Pembroke was favored over the Cardigan though, and this caused a decline in its breeding.
By 1940, there were only 11 Cardigan registrations made with the Kennel Club, while the Pembroke soared to popularity as the 4th most registered breed. The Cardigan managed to survive over the decades and in 2006, breed registrations peaked at 124 puppies.
The dogs made their way to the US in 1933 and was registered as a breed with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1934.
Pembroke vs. Cardigan
So, what’s the deal with the Pembroke and Cardigan? What makes them different from each other? Let’s break it down!
After reading the history of the Corgi, you can see that there is confusion surrounding origin. The official differences that we can agree upon concern the appearance.
While both are called “dwarf breeds” with large heads, long bodies and short limbs, the Pembroke is born with a natural docked tail while the Cardigan features a long tail.
Cardigans are larger in size, with a more rectangular, linear bone structure. The smaller Pembroke is curvier, with a round bone structure.
The Cardigan comes in more varied colors, such as brindle, black and white, tan, red, sable and blue merle.
The Pembroke is typically red and sable with white markings.
5 interesting facts about the Corgi
- Part of the reason for the Pembroke’s surge in popularity is because it was highly favored by Queen Elizabeth II of England. She had over 30 dogs of this breed, as well as a Dorgi or a Corgi Dachshund mix.
- These adorable little canines have made appearances in novels, movies and TV shows. This includes Corgiville Fair, The Great Corgiville Kidnapping and Corgiville Christmas by Tasha Tudor, Little Dog Lost film by Disney and Roald Dahl’s The BFG.
- The name “Corgi” originally meant “dwarf dog.”
- Did you know there is a Corgi cafe in Bangkok? Visitors can sip coffee while playing with a fluffy heap of these cute dogs!
A recent viral trend, the Corgi what the fluff challenge, featured dog owners playing a trick on their pets using a blanket to disappear. Many videos surfaced, featuring the cutest reactions. You can see an example below.
The Corgi looks like a fox
According to the legend, when the children first found the puppies in the brush, they initially thought they were fox pups.
Indeed, the Corgi face is fox-like with white markings, a pointed black nose, and prick ears. Its coat is thick and soft, too, feathering slightly on the face.
The larger Cardigan weighs up to 37 lb (17 kg) and reaches a height of 13 in (32 cm) while the Pembroke weighs up to 31 lb (14 kg) and reaches a height of 12 in (30 cm).
Both varieties feature a double coat, which is soft and short underneath while long and dense on top. This breed is NOT hypoallergenic and sheds heavily.
Everything you need to know about the Corgi tail
This breed has grown popular on the Internet for its adorable bunny booty, but what about its tail?
In today’s modern world, tail docking has gotten the thumbs down in many countries, so with the Corgi, this is often a big question that arises.
The Pembroke has a bobtail while the Cardigan has a long tail. The Pembroke bob is natural, due to selective breeding. Sometimes the tail is longer with a natural curl.
Docking used to be common, but since it is not considered breed standard, you won’t see artificially docked tails with this dog and they are not accepted for shows either.
Small but fierce
When a herding dog enters the arena, you know you’re going to have one smart cookie on your hands. Although this breed is small, never underestimate the larger-than-life personality of the Welsh Corgi.
They love to follow commands and complete a job with success. This makes them easy to train and eager to learn.
As well, this confident behavior can bring out a stubborn streak that will have this insistent dog tugging at the leash to stay out when you’re ready to turn back for home.
This isn’t anything that training can’t handle, which is recommended to mold an impeccably behaved pooch and keep your her mentally stimulated.
With this breed, you have one of the most devoted and loving family dog’s that will make a huge impact on your life. She will never leave your side, and though serious with business, will melt in your hands when it’s time to cuddle. How can you say no to that plump, wiggly Corgi butt?
Beware, though – this ain’t a shy pup. They’re barkers, which can be annoying. There is a silver lining to all this barking: it makes them dependable watch dogs.
You can count on your pet to erupt in woofs at the first sign of suspicious activity… but then again, she will bark at ANY activity.
One of the best characteristics that sets this small dog apart from other small breeds is that it is not prone to being needy or developing separation anxiety. She has a mind of her own and is always looking for ways to keep her curious brain working.
She is confident enough to do her own thing and wait for you to return, upon which she will douse you in kisses and love.
Are they well-behaved around children?
It’s a resounding YES – Corgis and children go together like bow and wow.
This little dog doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.
She loves her family members and is comfortable and sociable with just about anyone she meets.
Do remember that herding dogs have a natural instinct to get those under their care moving.
With toddlers, that means playtime may get unintentionally rough, with a nose bump that can cause a small child to fall over.
This isn’t aggression. It’s behavior meant to please and is mostly just annoying. Training, especially while your dog is still a pup, is the key to keeping that herding instinct under control.
How do they do with other pets?
The Corgi is originally a farm dog, so it’s used to being around animals of all shapes and sizes. Generally this breed gets along with other family pets.
She can be territorial with unfamiliar visitors, but as soon as she understands the circumstances then she quickly turns her warning barks into tail wagging.
Is there a biting problem with the Corgi?
Herding dogs have a tendency to “nip” and “nibble” in order to get the animals under their watch moving.
This breed was developed to nip at the heels of cattle, so biting might become a noticeable habit that you’re not fond of.
Know that this nipping is not meant in an aggressive way. This is just how she gets work done as a small-sized dog with roots in cattle herding.
If your dog nips, make it a primary focus during training and she will quickly learn to stop this behavior.
The Corgi’s lifespan is 12 to 14 years
Every breed is at risk for genetic disorders, and this dog is no different. She is a hardy little canine though, as she was bred to work outdoors in harsh conditions while being physically challenged on a regular basis.
What Corgi health problems do you need to be aware of? The leading cause of death for this breed is cancer at an old age. They also suffer from eye problems. Here are the other most common issues.
- Hip dysplasia: This is an excruciatingly painful condition that cannot be diagnosed until a dog has matured. Genetic, it affects the hip joints, causing abnormal growth and deformity that leads to mobility issues and ultimately, permanent lameness.
- Cataracts: This condition can be inherited or develop from disease or old age. A thin film builds up over the eyeballs, causing blurriness and impaired vision. Surgery can restore a dog’s eyes to former glory, but if cataracts are not diagnosed early on serious complications can develop, such as glaucoma.
- Cutaneous Asthenia: This condition develops due to a lack of collagen, a protein molecule that promotes healthy skin and ligaments. It is a rare and painful disease that causes the joints to become dislocated.
- Cystinuria: This is an autosomal recessive disorder that causes painful kidney stones.
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): This disease primarily affects older dogs between the ages of 8 and 14 years. It is a progressive debilitation of the spinal cord, causing loss of coordination that affects the hind legs.
- Epilepsy: A chronic neurological disorder, epilepsy causes seizures that affect the dog for its entire life. There are many varying symptoms, seizure types and other factors that differ from dog to dog. After diagnosis, your vet will be able to recommend the best treatment plan.
- Intervertebral Disk Disease: This occurs when a disc in the spine is ruptured. Since discs act as buffers between the bones, the lack of support causes a lot of pain for the affected dog.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is the bilateral degeneration of the retina, leading to blindness in dogs. There is no prevention or cure for this disease.
- Retinal Dysplasia: Another eye disease that affects the retina and impairs vision, retinal dysplasia is the abnormal development of the retina. It is characterized by the growth of unusual folds on the eyeball. There is no treatment or cure.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease: This genetic disorder is defined by a missing protein that helps blood to clot. It’s is a mild disorder, but you need to be careful of certain medications that can be dangerous due to the circumstances.
How to take care of a Corgi
Every dog breed has specific needs when it comes to the best possible care. This breed may need a little extra care because their diets need to be monitored and their coats shed heavily.
Keep your little pet healthy by implementing a well-rounded diet, exercise and grooming routine for your dog.
Feeding a Corgi
Keeping her fit needs to be at the top of the priority list. Her stout body and short legs make her prone to…dun, dun, dun: obesity.
Too much weight gain in the upper body builds heavy pressure on the joints.
For a Corgi that suffers from hip dysplasia, the less weight on the hips, the better.
These dogs can also develop kidney stones, you need to keep her well-hydrated by ensuring her water bowl is filled with fresh water throughout the day.
This is the best way to prevent urethral blockage.
She has high energy levels, so what you feed your dog needs to reflect that. High-quality dog food with protein and fat will keep her muscles strong while helping her maintain her endurance.
Whole meats and meat meal consisting of chicken, fish, beef or lamb are prime options.
Healthy sources of fat include Omega-3 fatty acid (found in fish oil) that will promote healthy eye and brain development. It’s also fabulous for a shiny coat and skin.
Feed your dog two meals a day. Aim for ¾ to 1 ½ cups of food (divided up accordingly). An adult Corgi needs around 780 daily calories while a puppy needs 730 calories daily.
Which foods should your dog avoid?
Corn-based products or soy should be avoided. They serve no nutritional value and only act as fillers. Say no to these fillers! If your dog’s diet is based solely on these grain foods, you can count on obesity to creep in.
Carbs are essential, but opt for healthier alternatives such as sweet potatoes.
An exercise fanatic
The thing about intelligent canines bred for work is that they get bored when idle. In dog world, boredom leads to naughtiness, such as chewing on shoes or digging holes in the vegetable garden.
For the Corgi, this may mean verbal protest, with lots of whining and incessant barking designed to drive you up the wall until you give her what she wants.
All she wants is playtime! Exercise is important for this dog to stay mentally and physically stimulated while keeping off extra weight. She needs at least 40 minutes of your time each day. Does your schedule allow it?
Walking a dog is always a nice, basic way to burn energy, but below you can find some other exercise ideas to challenge and satisfy your active little guy.
- Go to the dog park and let her romp with other playful pups.
- Invest in chew toys that will keep her captivated for hours. Dog puzzles are also good for this intelligent dog, who needs brain stimulation.
- Invest in a big ball, so she can “herd” it around the backyard.
- Teach your Corgi tricks to give her a goal that allows her to be physically and mentally challenged.
- They excel as show dogs, so don’t be afraid to build a mini agility course in the backyard.
Whether you have a Pembroke or a Cardigan, you can expect heavy shedding from your dog. The good news is, these babies are small. That means a grooming session takes only 10 minutes or less.
A medium-length double coat means beautiful, thick hair that will make you want to pet her for hours, but it’s also a lot of work to maintain.
To keep on top of flyaways before you begin to see a layer of fur settling on your clothes and furniture, brush your Corgi once a week with a heavy-duty dog comb.
She will blow her coat once a year during the springtime.
Training your Corgi like a pro
Implementing a training routine is one of the best ways to ensure your puppy will mature into a well-behaved adult. The time and patience invested means less stress for you and a fun way to stay happy and healthy for your dog.
That’s why training from a young age is absolutely recommended for this breed. Most of these super-smart dogs retain a herding dog personality and have a whole lot of energy to burn.
Make sure you channel all that into training and you’ll have a well-behaved pup that your fellow pet parents will envy.
Whether you have the time and expertise to train on your own or you want to leave it to a professional, these are the 3 training methods recommended for this breed.
3 training methods to try out
Crate training is a highly debated method that can help with housebreaking , among other things.
It involves keeping a puppy enclosed in a crate for long periods at a time. It also teaches routine and gives dogs a safe space to de-stress and relax.
This type of house-training takes time and patience. You need to set up a schedule and stick to it, letting your dog outside at certain times to relieve herself and putting her into the crate when you leave for work or errands.
It may sound cruel to lock a dog up in a cage, but actually, dogs see it as a “den” where they smell their familiar scent and can cuddle with a toy without anxiety.
This is useful for Corgis to help with barking and housebreaking. Stubbornness can cause this breed to defecate wherever she pleases, but by introducing structure, you show that you are the boss.
As well, dogs prefer not to defecate where they sleep, so this helps make housebreaking a fast transition.
A stubborn Corgi is once again the reason why behavior training is necessary.
If she wants to do something her way, prepare to battle her for glory. The more you give in, the harder it will be to take back control.
Behavior training puts you at the helm, and since most of these dogs are eager to learn, she will always look to you for the next instruction.
This breed tends to excel at dog competitions, so obedience training coupled with agility training is the perfect way to stimulate her mind and body while fine-tuning commands.
Corgis tend to be shy when they first meet unfamiliar dogs. They are not aggressive or prone to biting, they just bark a heck of a lot!
Introduction to other pets at an early age is the best way to ensure your dog is mellow, laid-back and comfortable.
Start by taking her to the dog park every weekend and allowing other dogs to approach and sniff while she is on the leash. Eventually, she’ll be off the leash frolicing around the park with the hounds on her heels.
With consistent interaction, your little pet will be used to meeting newcomers and will be less confrontational.
This is how much it costs to own a Corgi
These are purebred dogs, which gives them the advantage of clean bloodlines to decipher personality traits and optimal health.
You’ll want to be scrupulous when searching for a Corgi puppy to buy.
Know that if you want a top notch pup with pristine genes, you’ll fork out more moolah. You also need to decide what variety is more ideal for you.
A Pembroke pup will cost anywhere between $600 and $1000. Since the Cardigan puppy is rarer, it will cost more, between $900 and $1200.
The annual cost of a Corgi
I’m not your parent, so forget a lecture on the responsibility of owning a puppy. I’m sure that if you’re considering purchasing this dog, you already know that it is akin to a child and will need your attention, time, devotion and money.
If you are unsure about how to add dog costs to your annual budget, it’s a good idea to sit down and work it out on paper before heading to the breeder.
Below, you’ll find a rough estimate of certain costs to consider. Of course, every budget and the needs of a dog are different, so you’ll want to adjust yours accordingly.
- Initial purchase: $1500 average
- Supplies (toys, crate, dishes, leash, collar, etc.): $150
- Food: $120
- Vet fees: $235
- Pet insurance: $225
- Training: $110
- Spay/Neuter: $200
Find Corgi breeders near and far
The search for the perfect puppy will take much more than a quick Google search.
Choosing a reputable breeder is paramount, because puppy mills are lurking.
What is a puppy mill, you ask? These bad bone breeders don’t care about the wellbeing or the bloodlines of the puppies they produce.
Litters grow up in despicable conditions, stuffed in cages with hundreds of other dogs. Bitches are bred to the point of illness and exhaustion. Death and disease run rampant.
Puppies that come from these mills are cheaper, as the breeders wish to churn them out and make a quick profit.
When you buy from puppy mills, you support inhumane treatment and muddied bloodlines. Plus, you won’t know if your puppy is prone to disease and abnormal behavior.
Pay the extra dollars for a well-bred puppy from an ethical breeder. It’s an investment that ensures the purity of the breed standard and that your puppy comes from quality genetics.
Don’t fret about puppy mills. It’s easy to avoid them once you know the red flags to look out for. Step one for finding a breeder: arm yourself with knowledge. You can do that now, with our 10 vital tips for puppy shopping.
10 tips on buying a Corgi pup from a breeder
- Call the breeder and ask to set up a visit. This is essential, because you will get to see the conditions where the puppies were born and whether they were able to roam freely, play and socialize with other dogs. Puppy mills will not let you visit, for obvious reasons.
- Meet the parents. With purebred dogs, meeting the parents teaches you a lot about the bloodlines, medical background and potential personality traits of the puppies.
- Ask about health clearances. Every reputable breeder will have their puppies checked by the vet and given health clearances. This assures that the puppies come from bloodlines that are free of serious genetic diseases such as hip dysplasia.
- The breeder is passionate about producing quality dogs. With puppy mills, you’ll find multiple breeds available for sale. An ethical breeder takes pride in a one or two breeds, and is considered an expert.
- When visiting the puppies, they should be healthy, strong and alert with bright, clear eyes. They should not shy away or bark aggressively.
- Stay long enough to observe the puppy you fancy. Watch behavior and how she moves. Try to see her defecate. Bloody stools are a health concern that should be brought up with the breeder.
- Good breeders will be able to supply references from past customers. This is a foolproof way to see how they do business. They should be proud to show off their success stories!
- The breeder will offer to stay in touch even after the transaction. They should be available to offer guidance and advice as the puppy settles into her new home.
- An ethical breeder will provide a contract and health guarantee.
- Be ready to answer questions. An ethical breeder will want to know why you want a puppy, they’ll want proof of residence and might have you sign off on spay/neutering.
Check out these reputable breeders:
- Nistler’s Farm Corgis (Missouri)
- Jimanie Pembroke Welsh Corgis (South Carolina)
- Wind Dial Farm (Kansas)
- Noble Hearts Pembroke Welsh Corgis (California)
Corgi rescue and adoption
With puppy mills churning out dogs left and right, it’s not uncommon to find them abandoned or left at rescues.
If a puppy from a breeder is too expensive for you, find a Pembroke or a Cardigan at a rescue shelter and make a difference in the life of a beautiful little dog who just wants to love.
- East Coast Corgi Rescue (Washington, DC)
- Celtic Corgi Rescue (Oklahoma)
- Southeast Corgi Rescue (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia)
Popular Corgi mixes
If you’re a designer dog lover, check out these interesting crossbreeds. Most of them inherit the Corgi’s stocky build, so you’ll get a hint of their parentage at first sight.
Corgi and Husky mix
It can come in all shapes and sizes since its parents have such dissimilar appearances, but both breeds are touted for being intelligent and wonderful family dogs.
Corgi and Pug mix
Commonly referred to as a Porgi, you can count on this mix to be cute and small in size, as both parents are stumpy breeds.
This is generally a loving hybrid that does well as a companion, but it can be prone to serious health issues, such as Brachycephaly, which makes breathing difficult (if the flat face of the Pug is inherited).
Corgi and Lab mix
Meet the Corgidor! If you love the Labrador Retriever, but find it’s too big for your tiny apartment, perhaps this cute mix is just what you need.
The size and colors of this designer dog can vary greatly, but one thing is for sure- be prepared for major shedding!
Corgi and Chihuahua mix
This mix combines two of the most popular small dog breeds. Since the Chihuahua is one of the tiniest breeds today, you can count on your “Cohuahua” to stay little forever.
However, don’t think that her personality will be small. The Corgi is confident and the Chihuahua is fiesty!
Corgi and German Shepherd mix
The German Shepherd is one of the most popular purebreds in the world. As such, it makes for an interesting dog when mixed with the strong-willed Corgi.
The Corman Shepherd has plenty of energy and tends to shed a lot, so these are factors to consider with this crossbreed. Get ready for lots of playtime and vacuuming!
Corgi and Pomeranian mix
With a Pomeranian parent thrown into the mix, you can expect this dog to be small, smart and a great watchdog. Both breeds are barkers and used as herding dogs.
Because of these strong personality traits, training is recommended in case your little Corgi Pomeranian mix gets too dominant in the household.
Corgi and Poodle mix
The Poodle is often used as a parent dog in mixes because of its intelligence, easy trainability and hypoallergenic fur.
Does that mean the “Corgipoo” is hypoallergenic? Unfortunately, you never know with a hybrid – every puppy is different depending on the genes inherited.
Corgi and Golden Retriever mix
This unique designer dog is quite rare, but if you happen upon one, you can count on its appearance and personality being a complete surprise!
The Golden Corgi will definitely inherit the affectionate and loyal personality of the Golden Retriever and the energetic nature of the Corgi.
Corgi and Aussie mix
The result of breeding a Corgi with an Australian Shepherd can be a beautifully multi-colored dog with striking eyes.
Keep in mind that both are herding dogs with a strong independent streak, so it may not be ideal for first-time dog owners.
Is the Corgi the pooch for you?
When you see a Corgi waddling by, you can’t help but fall in love with its fox-like appearance and plump behind.
With its affectionate personality, this is an excellent breed for families. She is eager to please and will work to accomplish any challenge you present.
These playful little dogs are best suited for an owner who:
- Lives in a house with a yard or an apartment.
- Has time to exercise her for at least 40 minutes per day.
- Has time to train starting from puppyhood.
- Likes to partake in dog shows and competitions.
- Has other pets or dogs at home.
What do you think about this adorable breed? Tell us in the comments!