Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Once used as herding dogs, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is known best known for its place as a wonderful family companion. They are adorable dogs, sturdy and active, and not as tiny as toy breeds. Yet, they are small enough to be considered fairly "portable". The Corgi breed is definitely growing in popularity and their new status is well-earned. Not only are Corgis delightful dogs to own, they are some of the cutest puppies on the planet. They are also the favorite dog of Queen Elizabeth II, who has owned more than thirty Corgis in her lifetime and rarely goes anywhere without at least one. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an adaptable, versatile dog, suited to a variety of lifestyles. A Corgi can be just as happy living in an apartment in the city as in a large home in the country. Either way, your smart, active dog will need a fair amount of exercise. This means that is leash-walking is your only option, be prepared to exercise your pup in all types of weather, year-round. Fortunately, because of the Corgi's cheerful, exuberant personality, exercise, and playtime will be a joy. A Corgi is an especially food motivated dog, which will help as you train them. Pay special attention to the Corgi's natural herding instinct - they may be inclined to herd people and other animals, and even nip at heels. But, they are eager to please and eliminating this behavior won't be terribly difficult.

Key Breed Stats

Alternative names: The Pembroke Welsh Corgi breed is also commonly known by the names Pembroke,PWC,Pem,Corgi.

Popularity: Popular

Life expectancy: 11 - 13 years

Breed group: Herding Dogs (AKC), Pastoral Dogs (KC), Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs Dogs (FCI)

Size: Small

Male Female
Height 0 - 0 in 0 - 0 in
Weight 24 - 26 lbs 22 - 24 lbs


Colors: Black, Black and Tan, Red, White, Blue

Key Breed Facts

Shedding: Very heavy shedder

Grooming requirements: Low

Good with children: Yes

Good with other pets: Average

Intelligence / Trainability: Very high

Exercise needs: High

Tolerates being alone: Average

Hunting drive: Average

Suited as Guard dog: Average

Sensitivity: Very sensitive

Good for novice owners: Yes

Hypoallergenic breed: No

Drooling: Very low

Barking: Occasional

General health: Average

Cost to keep: Average


The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of the smallest dogs in the herding group. In fact, the word "Corgi" means "dwarf dog" in Welsh. There are two types of the Welsh Corgi, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi - they are completely separate breeds. Of the two, the Pembroke is the younger of the breeds though both breeds are theorized to descend from the northern spitz-type dogs, which include the Siberian Husky. However, a second theory is that they are descended from the Swedish Vallhund, crossed with the local Welsh herding breeds.

The actual Pembroke Welsh Corgi lineage can be traced back to 1107 A.D. They were brought to Wales by Viking and Flemish traders and were used primarily for herding sheep, geese, ducks, horses, and cattle.

In December 1925, The Corgi Club was founded and at the time, Pembrokes and Cardigans showed together. Because Pembrokes were favored, a separate Cardigan club was formed about a year later and in 1934, the two breeds were finally recognized as separate.

As their popularity rises in the United States (Pembroke Welsh Corgis were ranked 20th most popular in 2015), the breed's popularity is actually declining in the UK.


Pembroke Welsh Corgis are intelligent, kind, and bold dogs, with an adorable countenance.
Typical characteristics are:

  • Foxy-shaped head, medium-sized eyes, and ears that stand erect.

  • A Well-balanced body, short neck, short legs in comparison to the body.

  • A short docked tail.

  • Weather resistant, thick, short or medium length coat.

  • Colors: red, sable, fawn, black and tan with or without white markings.



Pembroke Welsh Corgis are intelligent dogs that are eager to please and relatively easy to train. They are very food motivated, so having treats on hand will help with training. Corgis pick up new skills quite quickly, with one exception - Corgis can be difficult to housetrain. Crate training will help with this process. Additionally, you will need to pay special attention to curbing any unwanted herding tendencies. In addition to being excellent family pets, Corgis excel in activities like agility, flyball, and herding trials.

As with all intelligent breeds, Corgis require an outlet for their energy and intelligence. In short, they do best with plenty of exercise and a job.


Pembroke Welsh Corgis are energetic dogs with a working background and therefore require a fair amount of exercise. 20-30 minutes of exercise twice daily is enough, and they enjoy many outdoor activities and are always happy to play with you. Bored dogs with too much excess energy can develop and undesirable and destructive habits.

Exercising your Corgi puppy requires a few special considerations. Corgis have an increased risk of hip dysplasia. Avoid exercising on slippery surfaces and climbing stairs under the age of 3 months. Exercise is needed, however, as strong muscles will increase the stability of the hip joint. Outdoor exercise on soft, uneven grounds seems to have a lower risk. Try to avoid exercise that involves running, jumping and playing on hard surfaces until the age of two.


Corgis are people-oriented dogs and will want to be around their owners as much as possible. They will not appreciate being left alone for long periods of time. Loneliness and lack of attention/exercise may result in undesirable and destructive behaviors.


Though they are too small to be considered guard dogs, Corgis can be wary of strangers. They will usually bark, making them good "alarm dogs".

Living Conditions

Bred for herding livestock, the Corgi enjoys outdoor adventures and is happy in the country - he loves to have at least a small space to play. But, their need for human companionship means that they will be incredibly unhappy if left outside alone for long periods of time. These days, Corgis are bred mostly for companionship and need to live indoors, alongside their family. With the proper amount of exercise, Corgis can even live quite happily in an apartment.

Children and Other Pets

Pembroke Welsh Corgis can make wonderful companions for families with kids. However, they will sometimes try to herd children and even nip at their heels, especially if the children are running. Early, consistent training can eliminate this behavior. Special consideration should be taken with small children (under the age of 6).

  • Young children may unintentionally invade the personal space of your dog and are unable to interpret the warning signals of your dog.

  • Dogs consider the family as a pack, and may consider the younger children as subordinates and may try to correct them.

  • Young children are very time-consuming. They may take away from the time you have to spend with your dog and he may become bored or frustrated.

Same as with children, Corgis may herd other pets, which could become an issue. As with any dog, early, proper socialization is important.


The average life expectancy of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is between 11 - 13 years. Like all breeds, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is prone to certain hereditary health conditions. A responsible breeder will only breed with dogs that have been cleared for these conditions. A Pembroke Welsh Corgi is prone to these diseases:
  • Von Willebrand's Disease (VWD) (hereditary)
  • Retinal Dysplasia (hereditary)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (hereditary) : Progressive retinal atrophy refers to a group of inherited degenerative eye disorders, which lead to loss of vision. PRA affects both eyes simultaneously and is not painful More info»
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA) (hereditary)
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) (hereditary)
  • Epilepsy (hereditary)
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) (hereditary)
  • Cystinuria (hereditary)
  • Cutaneous Asthenia (hereditary)
  • Cataracts (hereditary)
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia (hereditary) : Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a very common genetic orthopedic trait, which is affected by environmental and dietary factors. Canine hip dysplasia occurs when there is an abnormality in the development of the hip joint. More info»


The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a double coat with a thick undercoat and longer topcoat. Coat length varies, and some Corgis are fluffier than others. Corgis do shed a fair amount, especially in the spring and fall. Though they are easy to groom, regular brushing, preferably daily, will help remove hair.

Your Corgi needs few baths, only when he gets dirty, using a pH balanced shampoo designed specifically for dogs. Some owners report that bathing helps with excessive shedding.

Ears should be checked regularly for dirt, redness or a bad smell that could indicate an infection. Clean your dog's ears when needed with an ear cleaner made specifically for dogs.

Consider brushing their teeth with a soft toothbrush and dog toothpaste two or three times a week. Daily is even better. This helps prevent tartar build up and teeth problems. All puppies should become accustomed to having their mouths and teeth checked regularly.

Nail trimming is an important part of grooming if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. Once or twice a month should suffice. Trimming a dog's nails too close can cause bleeding and pain, so it is important to trim carefully or seek the help of a vet or groomer.

All puppies and dogs should be groomed regularly (preferably weekly) and have their paws, ears, and mouth handled and examined frequently so that they become comfortable with the process. This way, you will quickly become aware of any problems that arise and your dog will be easy to handle for the vet, groomer, and any treatments that are required throughout its lifetime.


3/4 to 1.5 cups of high-quality, dry dog food fed in two daily meals is a good starting point, but other factors need to be taken into consideration. Higher quality dog foods may require less food, as more of the food is digested properly. In addition, higher energy dogs will require more food, while more sedentary dogs may require less. Corgis are prone to obesity and over-eating, so special attention should be paid to ensure that your dog doesn't become overweight, which can cause health issues in both the short and long-term.

Special attention is needed when feeding puppies. Puppies need to be fed 3 to 4 times a day. This might seem like a burden but it will help when it comes to housebreaking. A puppy’s digestive system works very fast. Five to 30 minutes after his meal, he will need to go out to do his business.

Just like any other breed, they need to have free access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Older dogs, like puppies, might need a diet adapted to their needs. In some cases, it is advisable to feed them smaller portions 3 to 4 times a day.

When changing your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to do it gradually over a period of a few days to avoid stomach problems.