Originally bred for keeping cattle, sheep and horses, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an active and intelligent dog breed. Easy to train and eager to train, Pembrokes are great for kids and other pets, and you can find them in four different coat colors and markings.
Although they are purebred dogs, you can find them in shelters or rescue groups.
Adaptable and loving with the whole family, the corgi can fit into almost any household, be it an apartment or a large house with a yard. However, for a small dog, they have quite a lot of energy. They will need a lot of walks and active games. You may be surprised at how fast these short legged puppies can move! For people capable of meeting the needs of the breed, the Pembroke will be an excellent family companion, even for novice parents.
Welsh Corgi come in two varieties: Pembroke and Cardigan. They were registered as one breed by the Kennel Club in Great Britain until 1934, although many breeders believe that the two breeds developed separately. Both have the same heads, bodies, IQ, and herding ability, but the cardigan is slightly larger and heavier than the Pembroke.
For most of us, the easiest way to tell a Pembroke from a cardigan is to look at the tails. The Pembrokes are cropped and the cardigans are long. (Remember this: the Pembroke has a "broken" tail; the cardigan has a long tail, like the sleeves of a cardigan.)
Pembroke Welsh Corgis (also called Pembrokes, PWCs, or Pems) are the smallest of the American Kennel Club's herding groups and are also recognized by the United Kennel Club. Their coat can be red, sable, fawn or tricolor (red, black and tan), usually with white markings on the legs, chest, neck, muzzle and belly. They may also have a narrow spot on their head. Pembroke heads are in the shape of a fox's head. Their eyes are oval and dark, and their ears are erect.
The official AKC breed standard is maintained by the American Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club.
- Pembrokes are vocal dogs that tend to bark at anything and everything.
- Although they are smart dogs, they can also be stubborn. If home invasion is a problem, it is advisable to train you to use boxes.
- Their strong herding instinct can cause them to bite children on the heels when they play.
- Pembrokes are prone to overeating. Their food intake should be closely monitored.
- Despite being small dogs, Pembrokes have a lot of energy and need a healthy amount of exercise every day.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy factory or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs to make sure they don't have genetic diseases that they can pass on to their puppies and that they have a healthy temperament.
Originally from Pembrokeshire, Wales, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an adorable dog whose past is steeped in folklore. According to Welsh legend, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi emerged from the lairs of fairies and elves!
As legend has it, one day two children were walking in a field, grazing their family's livestock, when they found a couple of puppies. The children thought they were foxes, but recognizing something else in them, they collected them and took them home. Their parents immediately saw that the puppies were not foxes, but dogs, and told their children that the puppies were a gift from fairies who lived in the fields. The fairies used them to pull their wagons and sometimes participate in battles.
As proof that the Pembrokes were indeed the fairies' mounts, the parents pointed to markings on their backs where a fairy saddle was placed on their shoulders. The children were delighted and took care of their puppies. As they grew, the dogs became valuable companions and learned to help the children take care of the livestock.
For those who don't believe in fairy tales, there are historians who say that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi descended from the Wallhund, Swedish herding dogs that were introduced to Wales by the Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries. Others believe they may have evolved from dogs brought to Wales by Flemish weavers in the 12th century.
In any case, the breed has a rather vague historical pedigree. Farmers who had working dogs in the past bred the best dogs for the work they wanted them to do. They did not keep good mating records.
In the 1920s, the British Kennel Club recognized Corgis as purebred dogs. They were officially known as the Welsh Corgi when they were first exhibited in 1925. At the time, Pembrokes and Cardigans were shown in the same class as one breed.
Then, in 1934, the Kennel Club recognized the Pembroke and Cardigan as two separate breeds. In the same year, the American Kennel Club followed suit. The Pembrokes were first shown in the United States in 1936.
Pembrokes are gradually gaining popularity in the United States and today are among the 50 most popular pet breeds. They are also popular with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England, who received her first Pembroke Welsh Corgi from her father (King George VI) in 1933.
The puppy's name was Rosavel Berkut, and he was playmate for Elizabeth and her sister Margaret. Since then, Elizabeth has adored little dogs, and currently a flock of them loitering around Buckingham Palace.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi have a height in the shoulders of 25 to 30 centimeters and weigh no more than 13 kilograms.
Although Pembrokes are still used as working dogs, they are most often considered pets these days. They are known for being happy, loving, and intelligent, but are stubborn or independent at times. They are easy to train, but don't expect your Pembroke to obey. They like to think for themselves.
Despite the fact that they want to please their owners, food is a great motivator for them during training. Be careful: Pembrokes love to eat and can become obese if their food intake is not moderate.
Pembrokes are also good watchdogs. They may be suspicious of strangers and bark quickly if they sense that something or someone is threatening their home and family.
Like any dog, the Pembroke needs early socialization - getting to know many different people, looks, sounds, and experiences - at a young age. Socializing helps make your Pembroke puppy a versatile dog.
Pembrokes are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain diseases. Not all Pembrokes will contract some or all of these diseases, but it is important to be aware of them if you are considering this breed.
If you are buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you the health certifications of both of your puppy's parents. Health certificates prove that the dog has been screened and cleared of a specific disease.
In Pembrokes, you should expect to receive approval from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a grade or higher), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand disease; from Auburn University on Thrombopathy; and from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) confirming that the eyes are normal. You can validate your medical records by visiting the OFA website (offa.org).
- Hip dysplasia: This is an inherited disorder in which the hip bone does not fit snugly against the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness in one or both hind legs, but others show no outward signs of discomfort. (X-rays are the most reliable way to diagnose the problem.) In any case, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred, so if you are buying a puppy ask the breeder to provide proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are not having a problem.
- Cataract: This condition causes clouding of the lens of the eye, which leads to impaired vision. The dog's eyes will be cloudy. Cataracts usually occur in old age and can sometimes be surgically removed to improve vision.
- Cutaneous asthenia: Also known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, dermatosparaxis or dominant collagen dysplasia, this condition causes the defective connective tissue of the skin to become fragile, loose and elastic. Blood vessels are also affected, resulting in bruising and blood blisters.
- Cystinuria: This is a condition in which high levels of a protein called cystine are excreted in the urine and may indicate stone formation. This is usually only a problem in men.
- Degenerative myelopathy (DM): This is a progressive degeneration of the nervous and supporting tissue of the spinal cord in the lower back. It causes lameness, weakness, and eventually paralysis of the hind legs, and is often mistaken for disc disease.
- Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is often, but not always, inherited. This can cause mild or severe seizures, which can manifest as unusual behavior (such as running desperately as if being stalked, staggering or hiding) or even falling, limb stiffness, and loss of consciousness. Seizure is scary to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is usually very good. It is important to show the dog to the veterinarian for the correct diagnosis (especially since the seizures may have other causes) and treatment.
- Intervertebral disc disease: Due to their long back, the Pembroke is prone to rupture of the vertebral disc. Symptoms include unsteadiness, trouble climbing and descending stairs and furniture, rolling limbs, weakness, and paralysis.
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in pulmonary hypertension: PDA is a congenital defect in the vascular system that allows unoxygenated blood to bypass the lungs. Usually found in puppies during a veterinary examination. Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the lungs, which is a rare part of COC disease. The PDA can be corrected surgically.
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): This is a family of eye diseases that includes the progressive deterioration of the retina. In the early stages of the disease, affected dogs lose night blindness; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs will adapt well to their limited or lost vision if their environment remains the same.
- Retinal dysplasia: This is an abnormal development of the retina. Sometimes the retina can flake off and cause blindness.
- Von Willebrand disease: Found in both dogs and humans, it is a blood disorder that affects the blood clotting process. The affected dog will have symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding after surgery, prolonged bleeding during heat cycles or after whelping, and sometimes blood in the stool. This condition is usually diagnosed between the ages of three and five and cannot be cured. However, this can be managed with treatments that include moxibustion or stitches, preoperative blood transfusions, and avoiding certain medications.
Athletic and surprisingly fast, the Pembrokes were bred as herding dogs and required a lot of exercise every day. However, they make excellent indoor dogs if they receive the necessary physical stimulation.
With their short legs and long back, they shouldn't be expected to jump (or descend) off the couch or any other modest stature - fractures are common.
Pems quite easily adapts to life in the village or city. While their coats are weather-resistant and do well in most climates, they are very people-centered and should always be part of the family and not be left alone in the backyard.
Recommended daily intake: 3/4 to 1.5 cups of high quality dry food per day, divided into two meals.
Note. How much your adult dog eats depends on its size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are as individual as humans, and not all of them need the same amount of food. It goes without saying that a very active dog will need more than a house dog. The quality of the dog food you buy also matters - the better the dog food, the further it will feed your dog and the less you will need to pour into the dog's bowl.
Pembrokes love to eat and will indulge excessively if the opportunity presents itself. Keep your baby in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day, rather than leaving food on all the time. If you are not sure if he is overweight, check his eyesight and practice.
Look down at it first. You should be able to see your waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, fingers spread down. You should be able to feel, but not see, his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.
To learn more about feeding your Pembroke, check out our recommendations for buying the right food, feeding your puppy and adult dog.
Coat color and care
Pembrokes come in two layers, with a thick undercoat and a longer topcoat. They molt continuously, and the stronger ones molt at least twice a year. You will find them in red, sable, black, tricolor or fawn, usually with white markings.
The length of the coat varies over the body. Some pems have a fluffy coat that is long with excessive hair on the ears, chest, legs and feet.
Many Pembrokes have a so-called "fairy saddle" on their backs. This mark, caused by the change in the thickness and direction of the strip of hair, got its name from legend: according to one of them, fairies rode Pembrokes in their home country of Wales.
Pembrokes are easy to care for, but shedding can be a problem if you don't brush your teeth, especially during seasonal shedding. When they shed heavily, it is recommended to brush them daily. They should only be bathed as needed, but many people find that regular bathing can also help control severe shedding.
Brush your Pembroke's teeth at least two to three times a week to remove plaque and bacteria lurking inside it. Brushing your teeth daily is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Trim your nails once or twice a month, unless your dog wears out naturally, to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you hear them clicking on the floor, they are too long. There are blood vessels in dogs' toenails, and if you cut too far, you can cause bleeding - and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out of their sheath. So, if you have no experience with clipping dog nails, ask your vet or groomer for pointers.
His ears should be checked weekly for redness or foul odor, which could indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them with a cotton swab dipped in a mild pH-balanced ear cleaner to prevent infections. Do not insert anything into the ear canal; just clean your outer ear.
Start teaching your Pembroke to be cleaned and inspected while still a puppy. Grab his paws often - dogs are sensitive to their paws - and look inside his mouth. Make self-care a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the foundation for light veterinary checkups and other procedures as he grows up.
Check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, soreness, or inflammation on the skin, nose, mouth, eyes, and feet while grooming. The eyes should be clean, without redness or discharge. Your thorough weekly check-up will help you identify potential health problems earlier.
Children and other pets
Pembrokes are very fond of children, but due to their shepherd instincts, they sometimes bite children on the feet or ankles. However, Pems are active learners and can be taught this behavior at a young age.
As with any breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always monitor any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent bites pulling on the ear or tail from either side. Teach your child never to approach the dog while it is eating or sleeping, and not to try to pick up the dog's food. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unattended with a child.
They usually get along well with other pets in the house as long as they have been socialized with them.
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