Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of two dog breeds known as Welsh Corgis that originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. These herding dogs might be descended from Swedish Vallhund dogs that came to Wales with the Vikings. The Corgi is the smallest dog in the Herding Group.
Like most herding breeds, Pembrokes are active, intelligent, and athletic dogs despite their short legs and stocky body. The short legs may seem to be a disadvantage, but they can run and jump just as well as any other dog of comparable size. They were originally used to herd sheep, horses and cows by nipping at their heels.
A Pembroke is between 10 and 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) tall at the withers (tallest point in the shoulders) and weighs no more than 30 lb (15 kg); dogs in peak condition weigh about 27 pounds (12 kg) for the male and the females are about 2 pounds (1 kg) lighter.
Coat and color
Pembrokes can be red, sable, fawn, or black and tan (tri-color) with or without white markings on the legs, chest, neck, muzzle, underneath, and as a narrow blaze on the head. There are technical names for these Tri Colors, and they are Black Head Tri, and Red Head Tri Color. Too much white is not acceptable for show dogs.
Corgis have a short undercoat as well as a longer thicker overcoat. These coats shed continuously all year round, with extensive seasonal shedding occurring at least twice each year (as well as after the weaning of pups in the intact females).
Also common is a "fairy saddle" marking over the dog’s withers, caused by changes in the thickness and direction of hair growth. The phrase supposedly comes from mythology, with the dogs being used as steeds or carthorses for fairies, but it is possible the legend is a modern explanation that came after the term.
Historically, the Pembroke was a breed with a natural bob tail (very short tail). Due to the advent of docking, the trait was not aggressively pursued, with breeders focusing instead on other characteristics, and the tail artificially shortened if need be. Given that some countries are now banning docking, breeders are again attempting to select for dogs with the genes for natural bob tails.
The length of the spine can cause spinal problems and early arthritis in Corgis, especially those that are overweight. Corgis have a typical life expectancy of twelve to fourteen years.
Pembroke Corgis, if not kept active or if overfed, can easily become obese. The disease can end a Pembroke Corgi’s life particularly early since biophysical stresses on the structures of a Pembroke Corgi’s spine resulting from the weight of an over-sized belly can and do lead to secondary diseases such as osteoarthritis. Corgis are also prone to a disease called degenerative myelopathy.
Pembroke Corgis should also not be forced to jump from heights, such as from a couch, for they could fracture their relatively short legs or damage their very long backs.
Originally bred for herding sheep and cattle, they have proven themselves as excellent companion animals and are outstanding competitors in sheepdog trials and dog agility. There are two theories of Pembroke Welsh Corgi origin:
1. Some Cardigan Welsh Corgis were crossed with Swedish Vallhund Dogs.
2. Some of the original dogs (the Pembrokes) evolved from Cardigans and from other dogs, such as Schipperke and Pomeranians, and other Spitz-type dogs.
Corgis are becoming more popular in the United States and rank 22nd in American Kennel Club registrations as of 2006. Pembroke Welsh Corgis seem to be loved by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom; she reportedly has 16 of them. These dogs have been a favored dog by British royalty for more than 70 years.