Welsh Corgis are one of the most popular dog breeds due to their looks, personality, intelligence, and even their fame of being Queen Elizabeth II’s favorites. They are a small, high-energy breed.
Welsh corgis can make fantastic pets for families and individuals alike. Despite their small size, they do best with active households that help them burn their high energy levels. They are stubborn and independent, but also intelligent, easy to train, loyal, and affectionate. They benefit from constant companionship and are great with children.
If you’re looking to get a Welsh corgi for your household, read on to find out more relevant details about this famous breed.
Welsh Corgi Characteristics
Welsh Corgis were initially bred to herd cattle. There are two types of Welsh corgis, named after the two Welsh counties of Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire. The older type is the Cardigan Corgi, which was brought to Wales by a Celtic warrior tribe over 3000 years ago (around 1200 BC). The Pembroke followed in 1100 AD, introduced by Flemish weavers.
The Two Types of Welsh Corgis
Although they are both recognized as part of the Welsh corgi breed, there are a few differences between Pembroke and Cardigan corgis that set them apart. This is attributed to the two types going through evolutionary variations due to being in different regions of the country. The differences in environment resulted in slightly different adaptations:
- Tail: Cardigan corgis have a long tail that is similar to a fox’s. Pembroke corgis usually have their tails docked, but they are generally shorter too.
- Build: Cardigan corgis tend to be heavier with a more dense bone mass and can reach up to 38 pounds. Pembrokes can go up to 30 and have leaner bodies, as opposed to the curvier build of the Cardigans.
- Coat colors: Pembrokes can only have three coat colors – red, sable, and a combination of the two including white markings. Cardigans can be red and sable with white markings, blue merle, brindle, black, and various combinations. There are fewer breed standard restrictions for the Cardigans regarding the ratio of white markings.
- Ears: The Cardigans have more rounded ear shapes, while the Pembrokes have sharper ones.
- Temperament: While they’re both high-energy types most of the time, Cardigans can be more reserved and quieter than their Pembroke counterparts.
The breed standard that dictates the ideal traits of breed dogs states that both types of Welsh corgis should have a height of ten to twelve inches. The Cardigans and the Pembrokes also have around the same life span average of twelve years.
Corgis are great examples of dogs that have a personality that well exceeds their small size. They are friendly and affectionate, as well as extremely loyal. They tend to be very happy and exuberant in showing it. They are very self-assured and act like they are much larger dogs than the heights they can reach.
Welsh corgis love having fun, and they can even be somewhat mischievous. They love to entertain and to be entertained, which can provide you and your family with many unforgettable happy moments.
Welsh corgis are known for their intelligence, and they have the herding instinct bred into them. As cattle herders, they were used to nip at the heels of animals much larger than them to guide them along the way. These are high-energy dogs, also known for their independence and their stubbornness.
All these traits mixed in Welsh corgis do require some training, lest the dogs end up being the ones teaching you how to mold your behavior around them. Their loyalty and love for interaction and companionship can give them some separation anxiety when you are away from home.
The impulses of Welsh corgis can be trained without much effort. Their desire to please usually wins out ahead of their stubbornness, and they are outgoing dogs who respond very well to training based on positive reinforcement and a reward system. This is a perceptive breed that understands the signals sent through training and how to adapt to them.
As with most herding breeds, Welsh corgis will instinctively want to herd their flock, whether it’s you or your family. This can lead to bouts of separation anxiety that can end in destructive behavior or loud barking. This can even occur if a Welsh corgi lives with a family that is keeping too far apart from each other.
When it comes to separation anxiety in Welsh corgis, their owners should understand what the dogs need. It’s always best to take them out for a walk before leaving them for an extended period during the day. You can also positively reinforce good behavior and train them out of any issues that might result from this.
If you get a Corgi as a puppy, it’s recommended to take them to early classes and socialize them as much as possible.
Welsh corgis are an active breed with plenty of energy to spare. They do best with households that can keep up with the high level of that energy, especially considering the intellectual abilities of Welsh corgis. They require both physical and mental exercise to feel content.
They thrive when given social interaction, both with humans and dogs. They require a moderate amount of exercise, which can be achieved with walks, but they should also be set tasks at home, whether there’s outside space or not. Welsh corgis are an adaptable breed, but they need these tasks to keep them entertained and their energy levels stable.
Despite being a high-energy breed, you won’t have to spend the same effort on physical exercise on them that you would on larger breeds. You should still make sure to take them on walks and provide them some ample time to run a few times a week. Although they are athletic and suited to long walks, corgis don’t do well running alongside a bike.
Avoid extreme temperatures to ensure your corgi’s comfort outside, and take advantage of their intelligence and energy to teach them new tricks and activities. This will keep your Welsh corgi in top shape all-around. If you’re looking to compete with them, they are especially suited to disciplines like tracking, obedience, agility, and, of course, herding.
The coats of Welsh corgis can vary somewhat in coloration and texture, but some criteria should be considered when considering the future maintenance of this type of dog:
- Shedding can be frequent, as Welsh corgis have a thick double coat that can protect them in all types of weather. The season of most shedding is between late spring and early summer. Daily brushes with a medium-toothed comb and frequent baths can help reduce the amount of shedding. You can use a rake brush on the undercoat.
- Pick the correct shampoo by looking only at those made for thick undercoats.
- Trim nails with regularity and check the ears to make sure they are clean too.
Despite the shedding frequency, corgis have short hair on average that requires little to no trimming.
- Keep your Welsh corgi’s coat shiny and healthy by feeding them a nutrient-rich diet.
Corgis with Children
Welsh corgis are good pets for families and they react well to children, especially those over five-years-old. Their temperament makes them great fits for a growing household, and they can keep young families entertained for hours with their mischievousness and love of fun activities.
It’s recommended to introduce most herding breeds to families with children over five in particular if you’re looking to avoid constant supervision, and the same is true for corgis. With younger children, corgis can see them as part of the herd and attempt to be domineering. They can also react defensively to children yelling at them or grabbing them.
However, this can vary from dog to dog, so it’s just a matter of caution if you’ll have a corgi as a pet around younger children. Keep an eye on how the corgi reacts to the child. If you know the corgi’s parentage, enquire how they were around families too. This can help shape your training of the corgi.
Plenty of Welsh corgis make a great pet choice for families, as long as the child is taught how to be around the dog and vice-versa. Supervision levels will differ, especially when either the child or the corgi are introduced to the household. Many of the breed’s personality traits make corgis very suitable companions for older children.
Corgis with other Animals
Welsh corgis’ reactions to other animals, particularly other dogs, depend entirely on their socialization training. They can naturally be guarded at first, especially Cardigans, but can warm up quickly after the initial wariness. Like most dogs, they will react aggressively if they think they are being threatened, and they can attack smaller animals in particular.
Despite this, puppy classes and proper socialization can remove most hurdles from a corgi’s reactions to other dogs. This breed’s adaptable nature means that if they can take their time to get used to another dog or a cat, they will most likely end up accepting it without problems.
As with other dog breeds, you should always keep an eye on your dog during socialization settings at parks or other occasions. This is both to observe your dog’s reactions and to prevent others from being aggressive with them, which may trigger conflict. In general, as long as a corgi is well-trained and socialized, you won’t have to worry about this aspect.
Due to the herding instinct, Welsh corgis are very comfortable on farms and around livestock, especially cattle.
Like many other herding breeds, Welsh corgis can get loud, especially if they go on a barking spree. It is in their instincts to be as alert as possible to keep an eye on their herd, and barking is how they alert others to any element that seems suspicious. This can, of course, be absolutely anything that strikes them as out of the ordinary.
Being left alone at home can also cause loud barking meant to attract attention, but this can be part of separation anxiety training. There are methods to prevent Welsh corgis from barking so often, but it can’t usually be avoided entirely. It can come in very handy if there are actual threats, and corgi owners should bear in mind that this is all instinctive.
When you’re looking to buy a corgi, you should be aware of the breed’s health conditions and predispositions. Welsh corgis can be affected primarily by some of the following health issues:
- Canine hip dysplasia: This is one of the most frequently occurring conditions in corgis and involves the steady degradation of the hip joint over time.
- Intervertebral disk disease: This condition affects many smaller breeds with short legs and can cause issues with slipped or ruptured disks along the spinal cord.
- Degenerative myelopathy: This is a condition that can heavily impact the entire central nervous system. It can lead to muscle atrophy and paralysis.
- Epilepsy: Cardigan corgis, in particular, are more at risk for this seizure-inducing condition.
- Progressive retinal atrophy: This condition can steadily degrade vision as the corgi ages, which can progress to total blindness and therefore affect their quality of life.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease: This is a condition that can affect corgis that prevents blood from clotting properly, which can lead to hemorrhages.
The increased risk of these conditions does not mean your corgi will have them, just that your vet may be booking you for more frequent check-ups, particularly for the hips and the eyes.
Further Tips for Corgi Care
If you’ve not had a corgi before, you should keep in mind a few essential tips for what owning one will entail. As mentioned before, you should consider a reward-based training that starts early. You should also create a safe space that is just for them to use so that they can feel they have their territory in the home.
Also, create a feeding schedule for them that adapts as they get older. Make sure you give them proper nutrition that covers all their needs. This may depend on the dog and the type of corgi, but your vet will have plenty of information to assist you with the options available to you.
Vaccinations are also essential if you’re getting a corgi puppy. You will have to pay attention to the shots schedule and only go outside when they are ready.
More Things to Know about Corgis
We’ve already covered many reasons why corgis make good pets, but here are some more interesting things to consider if you’d like to own a corgi:
- The breed has the royal stamp of approval. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s reigning monarch, has had more than thirty corgis since the 1940s. Her father, the eventual George VI, started this lifelong commitment when he gifted her a corgi called Dookie in 1933. Her Majesty favors the Pembroke type.
- Wales is a land of myth and legend, and corgis feature in fairy tales too, as the mounts of fairies and elves. Fairies are meant to have introduced corgis to the population, leaving them as gifts. The name corgi may mean “dwarf dog” in Welsh.
- They are one of the most adorable dog breeds and are very beloved by children and adults.
- Despite their stature, Welsh corgis are surprisingly fast runners.
- Out of 110 breeds tested for their IQ, the Pembroke corgi placed 11th, while the Cardigan placed 26th.
- The Pembroke corgis are descended from Samoyeds and Pomeranians.
- Both types of Welsh corgis are descended from the Swedish Vallhund, another small herding dog that looks very similar to corgis.
- They can have litters of six to eight puppies.
- Corgis are not hypoallergenic and their coat gets quite fluffy, so they may cause problems for those with allergies to dog hair.
- Some of them can be born without tails. Despite the recent surge in tail docking bans worldwide, this practice has affected the evolution of the corgis.
- Tracing back the corgi lineage leads to the surprising revelation that they are related to the Siberian husky.
- Reward-based training works so well on corgis because they prize food, especially in the form of treats.
Welsh corgis can make excellent pets for anyone, whether families or individuals. They are brilliant and high-energy dogs that can amaze you with their sharp minds. There are two types of Welsh corgis, but both are alike in temperament. If you get them as puppies, you should be aware that reward-based training should start early.
Welsh corgis can get along with both children and other pets, but you may need to grant them some space to acclimate them, and you may also have to spend more time supervising matters until then. They are outstanding when surrounded by livestock. They do best with horses and cattle. Some hereditary health conditions can affect them, which makes frequent check-ups a must.