Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Breed At A Glance


Loyal and intelligent, yet sensitive

Life Expectancy
12-14 years

Average Height
Males 26-28”, Females 24-26”

Average Weight
44-66 lbs

Coat Color
Varies, but usually tan to brown

Coat Length/Texture
Very long and fine

Shedding Propensity

Also known as Welsh Corgi, Corgi, Pembroke, PWC, Pem

General Temperament

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is hardy, active and obedient breed, great for families with active (yet considerate) children. They are often more social and excitable than the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and they thrive on human companionship. Highly intelligent and eager to learn, the PWC excels at competitive obedience, agility, and herding trials.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are naturally wary of strangers. This, coupled with the breed’s devoted and protective nature, makes this breed an excellent watch dog. This fearless little dog has been known to fight to the death in defense of their home and family. The herding instinct is still strong in this breed, and they will often try to herd family members by nipping at their heels (although they can be trained out of this behavior).

Pembrokes are good with considerate children, as they do not appreciate being teased. Males of this breed can sometimes be aggressive towards other males, particularly when there is a female in heat in the vicinity, but otherwise will get along well with other pets.

The clever and willing Pembroke is easy to train, but they can become bored with overly repetitive training techniques. Variety and positive reinforcement work best with this breed. With proper socialization and training during puppyhood, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi can be a congenial addition to almost any household.

Apartment life is sufficient for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, as they are active indoors and will be okay without a yard to run in. This does not eliminate the need for a good daily walk, however, as this breed needs sufficient exercise to stay fit. The PWC is adaptable to almost any climate.

Breed History

Both varieties of Corgis (the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi) have lived in Great Britain for over 3,000 years, having been introduced to the area by the Celts of Central Europe around 1200 BC. Collectively, they are one of the earliest known herding breeds, although their skills were not fully utilized in Wales for more than two millennia.

When royalty owned almost all the land in the area, Welsh tenant farmers were only allowed to fence off a limited area around their homes, and the rest of the land was to remain open for all farmers to graze their cattle. To maximize their usage of pasture land, the Corgi was employed to nip at the heels of the cattle, actually pushing them rather than herding them. Eventually, the land was officially divided up among the farmers, and the Corgi’s usefulness in driving cattle became obsolete and the breed fell largely out of favor, but a few individuals remained as household companions and watchdogs.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi were considered different types of the same breed (the Cardigan having a tail and the Pembroke being virtually tailless) until 1934, when they were recognized as separate breeds in England.

Body Structure and Composition

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is not as long as it’s Cardigan brethren, with the length being only about 40% greater than the height at the shoulder (in comparison, the Cardigan is generally around 55% longer than it is tall). Other differences between the Pembroke and the Cardigan include smaller ears and a virtually nonexistent tail. If a tail longer than two inches is present, it is typically docked as short as possible for confirmation purposes in the United States. The head of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is fox-like in appearance, with dark rims around the eyes and a muzzle that is slightly shorter than the length of the skull. The topline in this breed is level and the chest deep, extended well below the elbow. Pembroke Welsh Corgis have an agile and effortless gait.

Medical Information

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a true dwarf (or achondroplastic) breed, and as such, often suffer from various skeletal-related medical conditions. The most prominent of these is Hip Dysplasia, a condition that occurs when the head of the thigh bone no longer fits into the cup provided by the hip socket, resulting in lameness and arthritis-like symptoms. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) provides certification of breeding stock to help prevent the spread of this disease. This breed can also be prone to disc disease and other back problems.

This breed is also plagued by various eye maladies, including cataracts, retinal folds, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). PRA causes a degeneration of the retina that often results in blindness, usually beginning with a loss of night vision. Annual evaluations are available from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) and can be performed by a veterinary opthamologist. Dogs who have exhibited signs of any of these eye conditions should not be bred.

Von Willebrand’s disease (VWD) has also been found in some Pembroke Welsh Corgi lines. VWD is a bleeding disorder in which the blood lacks a sufficient level of clotting factors, causing the dog to bleed profusely if injured. Dogs with this condition can bleed to death from a simple cut or even during surgery. Treatment includes regular transfusions from dogs with normal clotting factors. (The OFA also provides certification of breeding stock for VWD.)

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi coat is easy to care for: simply brush with a bristle brush and wash when necessary. It’s important to not let this dog become overweight, as this puts unnecessary pressure on it’s back.

Anecdotal Information

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is much more popular in the United States than it’s Cardigan brother. Based on 2007 registration statistics provided by the American Kennel Club, the PWC was ranked 22nd out of 157 dog breeds; the Cardi was ranked 78th.

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