About Pembroke Welsh Corgis

by Molly Sawyer
Pembroke Welsh corgis traditionally have a bobbed or docked tail, but in some European countries tail docking is no longer allowed.

Pembroke Welsh corgis traditionally have a bobbed or docked tail, but in some European countries tail docking is no longer allowed.

corgi image by Cindy Haggerty from Fotolia.com

A happy herding dog, the Pembroke Welsh corgi can trace its roots back to Flanders and the year 1107. Pembrokes are agreeable dogs that thrive as all-purpose farm dogs, but as long as they get adequate exercise they can adapt to most living arrangements. The American Kennel Club first recognized Pembrokes as part of its Herding Group in 1934. The Pembroke has stayed consistently popular in AKC registrations, ranking in the top 20 most popular breeds since 2001.

History and Development

The Pembroke Welsh corgi is descended from Flemish weavers who crossed into Wales in 1107 at the behest of King Henry the I of England. The Flemish were also farmers, and their little corgi dogs adapted well to life in the southwest corner of Wales. Even with its long history, the Pembroke is a younger breed than its cousin, the Cardigan Welsh corgi. The two breeds are known to have been crossed prior to the mid-19th century, though they are completely separate in modern times.

Character and Temperament

Pembrokes are happy little dogs, affectionate without being pushy with their attentions. An alert household guard dog, the Pembroke is quicker to become excited than the Cardigan. The breed's bold but kindly temperament and considerable intelligence make it a skilled competitor in many dog sports and activities.

Appearance and Size

The Pembroke is a small, low-set, sturdy dog. The standard describes the breed as "giving an impression of substance and stamina in a small space." The body should be solid and well-muscled, longer than tall, but balanced and moderate. Pembrokes reach heights of 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder, and weights of no more than 28 lbs. for females or 30 lbs. for males. The head is foxy, with pointed ears, a wide and flat skull, and a tapering muzzle that is somewhat shorter than the rest of the head. The ideal Pembroke has a scissors bite, with the top teeth closing just in front of and touching the bottom teeth, although a level bite with the teeth meeting evenly is acceptable.

Coat and Colors

The breed's hardiness is echoed in its coat, which is medium-length, short and thick with a dense, fluffy undercoat that resists wind and weather. Pembrokes shed seasonally, losing the undercoat during the warmer months. Acceptable coat colors are black and tan, red, sable or fawn. White markings are permitted on the underside, legs, neck and muzzle, and as a narrow blaze on the face.

Health Concerns

The Pembroke Welsh corgi is a relatively healthy breed, though that doesn't mean they are unlikely to experience some health problems. Responsible Pembroke breeders screen for hip dysplasia, eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy or cataracts, and degenerative myelopathy, a late-onset condition related to ALS in humans. The average Pembroke lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

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