Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog breed
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a small dog that you may remember from television and movies such as Cowboy Bebop and 101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventures. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are only now becoming more popular in the United States and currently rank 24th in registrations at the American Kennel Club (in 2012). They are also known to be in the Top 12 Smartest Dog Breeds.

Breed Characteristics

Health and GroomingHigh
All Around FriendlinessHighest
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Herding
Height: 10 to 12 inches tall
Weight:30 pounds or less
Life Span:15 years on average

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are beloved in Wales; especially by Queen Elizabeth II. Her father gave her one for her birthday in 1944, which she named Susan and this Corgi was hidden inside her carriage when she was marrying Prince Phillip. It is known that Queen Elizabeth received 10 generations of Corgis from Susan. The Queen has owned more than 30 Corgis, which were mainly Pembroke Welsh Corgis that were pure bred.

They are also famous in Hollywood! Besides 101 Dalmatians II and Cowboy Bebop, Corgis have been featured in films such as Corgiville Fair, Corgiville Christmas, and The Great Corgiville Kidnapping. You should also check out the Disney film Little Dog Lost, which also includes Corgis. Roald Dahl’s The BFG, which is now a major motion picture, also includes Pembroke Welsh Corgis throughout.

This breed’s characteristics include the “fairy saddle” mark that most Pembroke Welsh Corgis have. They are known for being short, active dogs that love attention from humans and live to please their owner. Owners must be willing to exercise their Corgi as they love to run, play, and go for walks. Doing so as a puppy will help them stay active throughout their lives. The reason they love so much action is because they were originally bred for herding cattle.

Their lineage goes back to the 10th century, but only when they were adopted by the Welsh people they got their current name, after the city of Pembrokeshire.

Generally, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a healthy dog as long as they are exercised and fed on a schedule. As puppies, they will eat 4 times per day but after 10 weeks, they should eat 3 times per day. Keeping up after a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is easy since they shed a medium amount of hair and only require weekly brushing, and a bath every so often.

This “true dwarf” breed is extremely easy to love, as they are a great family dog and are known to be happy to please their owners. Anyone who has a Pembroke Welsh Corgi finds them to be a great addition to their home.

Main Highlights
  • The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a small dog that is generally a foot tall or less and weighs in around 30 pounds. They are active dogs that are seen a lot in agility tests and dog shows.
  • This breed of Corgi originated in the 10th century and was later adopted by the country of Wales, which named the breed after the city of Pembrokeshire, Wales. There is another breed of Corgi adopted by Wales called the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
  • Queen Elizabeth has owned over 30 Corgis, with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi being her absolute favorite. Her first Corgi was gifted to her as a teen by her father and she has loved them since that time.
  • Vikings used the Pembroke Welsh Corgi for herding animals such as cattle, sheep, geese, horses and much more. It is thought at this breed came from Sweden as did the Vikings.
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgis generally have good health but often can suffer from hip dysplasia, which is a genetic disease affecting the hip area from working properly. The femur bone is not properly in place with the sock of the hip. This becomes painful and hurts more as the Corgi ages and becomes more arthritic. DNA tests can be done to determine if the Corgi will have hip dysplasia.
Breed History

Pembroke Welsh Corgis were originally bred as cattle herders in Wales. In fact, Corgi is translated to “dwarf dog” in the Welsh language and this breed of Corgis is known as one of two that came from Pembrokeshire, Wales. The other breed of Corgi that came from this location is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi was used by the Vikings and can be traced back to at least the 10th century. Corgis were known to heard various types of animals, including sheep, horses, geese, and the aforementioned cattle. It is also thought that they originated from cattle dogs that were in Sweden, which would prove the Vikings theory. They were officially recognized as a dog breed by the AKC in 1934 and have slowly gained popularity in the United States since that time.

There is a legend that dictates the Pembroke Welsh Corgi came from a fantasy world of elves and fairies. The story refers to two children who were on the family farm when they came upon some puppies. When they showed their parents the puppies, they told the children the dogs were a gift from the fairies and that fairies themselves used them in times of war. The parents used the dogs’ markings are “proof” that fairies sat upon the dogs at some point and the children loved the idea so much, they kept the dogs and put them to work on the farm.


These short pups do not grow more than a foot tall. The average Pembroke Welsh Corgi comes in between 10 and 12 inches tall (27-32kg). Generally, they do not weigh more than 30 pounds (14kg). These dogs are pretty active, so they tend to stay in shape with a good diet and exercise routine.

Personality and Character

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known to be easy to love, and a welcoming addition to any loving family. They love children, although they may nip at them from time to time. Since they are known as being huge on pleasing their owners, they are easy to train. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are also quick learners, which is why they are great for dog shows. Since they were originally used for herding, they love to chase things and fetch them.

While they are people pleasers, some Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a bit of independence in them and will occasionally act defiant because they think they know better.

When they are young, Pembroke Welsh Corgis need to be socialized, like most other breeds. This helps them from developing lazy habits and extra weight gain. However, this breed is a great “watch dog” and tends not to bark too much, unless it feels in danger. Since they are such a smart breed, they will be on high alert for anything suspicious.

Health and Potential Problems

A healthy Pembroke Welsh Corgi will live upwards of 15 years. Since they are a true dwarf, they are prone to certain health issues that come with dwarfism. For instance, not only can they suffer dysplasia in the hips, which causes pain, they can also have:

  • Monorchism which means having only one testicle in the scrotal area. This is not deadly and a Pembroke can live a full life.
  • Corgis can have Von Willebrand disease which also affects humans. It affects the blood stream and is inherited. They can get nosebleeds from this disease as well as bleeding gums and bruising on the body. A veterinarian must be seen to prevent further blood issues.
  • Urinary tract stones can occur within a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, causing pain akin to humans having kidney stones or urinary issues. This is very dangerous for the dog and it should be seen immediately by a veterinarian. Urinary tract stones can tear up the lining in the tract and cause blood to occur when the Corgi urinates. Symptoms including lack of energy, vomiting, or urinary issues like having to go a lot or not at all.
  • Disk Disease affects the spine of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi because there are chemical reactions happening with the skeletal system of the Corgi. This makes it hard to walk, causing stumbling. Paralysis can also occur because of this disease. Most veterinarians will prescribe dosages of steroids.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a fancy term meaning loss of vision, which means the retina is losing the ability to process light. Most Pembroke Welsh Corgis who begin to suffer from retinal atrophy will first have a hard time seeing at night, and over time their vision will suffer when the sun is out. This can and does lead to full blindness, and is not treatable currently.
Care Features

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is said to be great for agility trials. They are perfect for events that involve herding and obedience because of their nature to please. Other events that they are great for include showmanship and tracking. Before putting a Pembroke Welsh Corgi into an event, there are tests that can prove how good they are at competitive events. Training for these events happens when they are puppies, usually after 10 weeks, which is just after they learn to potty train.

Since this breed is so adaptable, they are comfortable being alone or with people. However, they love attention so they prefer being around humans as well as other animals. Don’t be surprised if you Corgi loves cuddles and wants to sleep in bed with you! If sleeping in bed is not possible, having a comfortable dog bed with a small blanket will allow them comfort. Also, if they whine, using an old shirt with their owner’s smell can help them relax.

Feeding Schedule

As puppies, Pembroke Welsh Corgis should be fed 4 times per day, including morning, noon, dinner, and before bedtime. After about 10 weeks, they begin a new feeding schedule of 3 times per day, omitting the bedtime feeding. Allow time before bed for the Corgi’s stomach to process and allow him to do his business before turning in for the night.

Using a dog food that is high in protein will help keep the Pembroke Welsh Corgi healthy and energetic. Choosing the right dog food is key as many dogs are allergic to one ingredient or the other. A veterinarian can help you decide what is best.

Coat, Color and Grooming

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known for having a long top coat of fur and a thick coat on the underside. Thus, they will shed all the time. This breed comes in four colors; sable, back, fawn, and red, usually with markings, which are called a “fairy saddle”.

Many Pembrokes have longer fur on their legs, feet, and chest. The good thing is, they are easy to groom but the owner must keep up with it. If they are bathed regularly, that will help the control of the hair.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

Pembroke Welsh Corgis love children and other pets. While, young and excitable, a Pembroke may nip at a child, but this is rare. Pembrokes love the attention, love, and large amount of play time that children have, and will take advantage of it. Also, the majority of Pembroke Welsh Corgis get along with other pets in the house, including other dogs, cats, and reptiles.

In conclusion, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a great pet for anyone who loves to be active and families with children. The adaptability of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one great advantage to having this breed because it can go anywhere and do anything, as they just want to please their owner and family.

The Pembroke gets along perfectly with children and other animals, and is always happy to be on the go, whether it’s the beach, an agility show, or just having a rousing game of fetch in the backyard with their loved ones. What a great breed to own and love!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.