Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

infoThe Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a herding dog breed, which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is one of two breeds known as Welsh Corgi: the other is the Cardig... Read More

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 Corgi: the other is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. 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 owns several. These dogs have been favored by British royalty for more than seventy years.

This fun-loving herding dog resembles a fox with his prick ears, wedge-shaped head and thick coat. He is bold but kind and likes to be in charge — or at least constantly involved in everything that’s going on. Most often he’s a family companion, but he can still herd with the best of them.

The Pembroke is the Corgi without a tail. That’s easy to remember if you think of him as having a “broke” tail. In addition to the lack of a tail, the Pembroke stands out from his cousin, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, in other ways, including his smaller, more pointed ears and wedge-shaped head. His weight ranges from 25 to 27 pounds, making him a little smaller than the Cardigan as well.

Although the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis were both developed in Wales, where they are considered to be “fairy-bred,” and share the name Corgi (meaning dwarf dog), they have different ancestry: twin sons of different mothers, you might say. The Pembroke has a foxier face and resembles the Spitz breeds such as the Swedish Vallhund and Norwegian Lundehund to whom he is related. Today he’s primarily a companion and show dog, but he still has strong herding instincts.

This is an active, outgoing, alert dog who loves people. Just because he’s small doesn’t mean he doesn’t need exercise. Be prepared to keep the Pembroke busy. He excels in dog sports, especially agility, herding, flyball, obedience, rally, and tracking. He also enjoys going for moderate to long walks or hikes.

Because of his herding background, he has a watchful nature and will bark to ward off critters or alert you to the presence of someone approaching the house. That’s a plus, but he can become a nuisance barker if you don’t teach him when to turn the sound on and off.

Begin training as soon as you bring your Pembroke puppy home. Use positive reinforcement training techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards. He learns quickly and will respond to kind, firm, consistent training.

The Pembroke has a medium-length double coat. Double-coated dogs shed, so expect to find hair on your clothing and furniture. Brush the coat once a week to remove dead hair and reduce the amount of loose hair floating around your house. Other grooming needs are regular nail trims, ear cleaning, and tooth brushing.

While you might think of him as an outdoor dog, nothing could be farther from the truth. A Pembroke Welsh Corgi should certainly have access to a securely fenced yard, but when the family is home, he should be in the house with them.

Other Quick Facts
The Pembroke originated in Wales some 1,000 years ago and was employed as an all-around farm dog. He herded livestock, killed rats and other vermin, and barked an alarm if strangers came by.
The Pembroke’s personality has been described as a cross between a cruise-line social director and a high school hall monitor. He likes being involved and being in charge.
Pembrokes can adapt to any home environment as long as they get plenty of daily exercise.
The Pembroke has a medium-length double coat that comes in red, sable, fawn, or black and tan, with or without white markings. He sheds.
The words “cor gi” are thought to mean “dwarf dog.”
The Pembroke is the smallest member of the Herding Group.

The History of Pembroke Welsh Corgis
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi originated in Wales some 1,000 years ago. The Welsh say the dogs were a gift from the fairies, who rode them like horses, and as proof point to the “saddle” across the dog’s back or the white “harness marks” behind his shoulders. Dog experts offer a more pragmatic explanation for the breed’s history, suggesting that Pembrokes descend from spitz-type dogs that came to Britain with the Vikings. They are probably related to the Swedish Vallhund and Norwegian Lundehund. Another possibility is that the Corgi’s ancestors came to Wales in the 12 th century with Flemish weavers and had their way with local dogs.

Pembrokes first gained widespread notice in 1933 when Britain’s King George VI gave a Pembroke puppy to his little daughters Elizabeth and Margaret. Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, is still a fan of the breed.

The American Kennel Club registered its first Pembroke in 1934. Today the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s popularity has held steady for a decade. The breed ranks 27 th among the breeds registered by the American Kennel Club, the same position it held in 2000.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Temperament and Personality
The happy, energetic Pembroke Welsh Corgi always has a smile on his face. He has been described as a cross between a cruise-line social director and a high-school hall monitor, and that is an apt characterization. The Pembroke always wants to be involved in whatever his family is doing, and he’d especially like to be in charge.

This is a dog with a strong work ethic. He needs a job to keep his very intelligent brain occupied and out of trouble, as well as to burn off his abundant energy. He likes very long walks and is an enthusiastic competitor in dog sports such as agility, rally, tracking, flyball and, of course, herding. Teach him tricks, take him hiking, get him qualified as a therapy dog — he can do it all. It's always a good idea to check with your vet before starting any exercise program with your dog.

Sometimes the Corgi might seem to be a little too bright. He gets bored doing the same old thing over and over and is known for putting his a creative spin on obedience exercises and other activities.

Don’t get the idea that the Corgi is perfect. Perfectly funny, maybe, but that’s about all. He likes to have his own way, and he can be pushy when he wants something. Set firm rules and stick to them or you will soon find that your Pembroke is running your life. Once you let him get away with something, it’s very difficult to persuade him not to do it again.

The Pembroke is smart, but he needs training and consistency to become the dog of your dreams. Any dog, no matter how nice, can develop obnoxious levels of barking, digging and other undesirable behaviors if he is bored, untrained or unsupervised. And any dog can be a trial to live with during adolescence. In the case of the Pembroke, the “teen” years can start at six months and continue until the dog is about two years old.

Start training your Pembroke puppy the day you bring him home. Even at seven or eight weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Never wait until he is six months old to begin training, or you will have a bigger, more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.

Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see the puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality.

The perfect Pembroke doesn’t spring fully formed from the whelping box. He’s a product of his background and breeding. Whatever you want from a Pembroke, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.

What You Need to Know About Pembroke Welsh Corgi Health
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis have some health problems that can be of concern, especially if you aren’t cautious about who you buy from. They include hip dysplasia, eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), retinal dysplasia and persistent pupillary membranes, and hypothyroidism. Pembrokes may also be prone to cryptorchidism (having one testicle that is retained inside the body), epilepsy and reproductive problems. The presence of a long coat (Pembrokes with this type of coat are called “fluffies”) or incorrect coloring (known as mismarks) are also genetic abnormalities.

One of the most serious of the conditions threatening the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a condition known as degenerative myelopathy (DM). This is a type of progressive paralysis that cannot be cured, and the form that affects the Pembroke typically progresses very rapidly. Fortunately, a DNA test for DM is available. There are three possible test results: Clear, carrier, and at risk. If both your puppy's parents are clear, your puppy cannot inherit the gene for DM from them. A puppy with one carrier parent may inherit the gene, and dogs who are "at risk" may or may not go on to develop the condition. There is comprehensive information on DM and the available genetic testing through the University of Missouri Canine Genetic Diseases Program.

The Pembroke’s long back predisposes him to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), a condition that causes the spinal discs to bulge or rupture. Sometimes IVDD is mild and can be relieved through crate rest and medication, but dogs with severe cases may require surgery or the use of a wheelchairlike cart.

Another genetic conditions affecting Corgis is von Willebrand's Disease, a blood clotting disorder.

There are other conditions that may affect the Pembroke Welsh Corgi for which there are no screening tests, such as autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancer. Your puppy's breeder should be willing – eager, in fact – to go over the health histories of his parents and their close relatives and discuss the prevalence of those particular health concerns are in his lines.

Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for these defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That’s where health registries come in.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, which is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, participates in the Canine Health Information Center Program. For a Pembroke to achieve CHIC certification, he must have an OFA or PennHIP clearance for hips and an eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.

Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. A dog need not receive good or even passing scores on the evaluations to obtain a CHIC number, so CHIC registration alone is not proof of soundness or absence of disease, but all test results are posted on the CHIC website and can be accessed by anyone who wants to check the health of a puppy’s parents. If the breeder tells you she doesn't need to do those tests because she's never had problems in her lines and her dogs have been "vet checked," then you should go find a breeder who is more rigorous about genetic testing.

Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what they died of.

Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Pembrokes like to eat and have been described as “walking stomachs.” Keeping a Pembroke at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to help prevent joint problems and extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
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