Welsh legend tells of two children, while out tending their family’s cattle, stumbling upon a couple of curious looking pups. Mistaking them for young foxes, the children carried them home where their parents informed them that these pups were a gift from the fairies! These wee dogs were used to pull the fairy carriages and, at times, act as their brave steeds for riding into battle. The pups grew and thrived not only as playmates for the children, but also as well-skilled cattle dogs, assisting with the family’s herd.
The actual origins of Pembroke Welsh Corgis are not known for sure, but many surmise that they come from Vallhunds (Swedish cattle dogs brought over by the Vikings) or perhaps from dogs brought into Wales from Flemish weavers. Historical records refer to “Cur Dogs” — short tailed cattle driving dogs, including a particular variety from Pembrokeshire Wales — and thus, so it’s thought, the corgi name came about.
Today most corgis in the United States fill the role of family pet, though they still retain an excellent herding instinct that can be trained and encouraged. With their quick intelligence, cheeky and endearing personalities, and deep love of people, they thrive as companion dogs. Though they are high energy dogs, they typically do well in city home or apartment settings given they have sufficient walks or other chance for exercise. A grown corgi is generally satisfied with a good walk twice a day as well as some play time, chasing balls etc.
Corgis as Family Dogs
Though some breed guides may caution mixing corgis and children, we have found that (with proper socialization and training) they continue the Welsh legend of making wonderful companions for children. Our puppies, being raised with children, are happiest frolicking in the backyard with our kids or being snuggled up in their arms. However, with their strong herding instinct corgis often do try to “herd” their people and nip at heels, so some firm training in this regard may be in order. Generally we have found that if our corgis are getting adequate exercise, and have respect for us as leaders, heel nipping is not an issue. Proper training of children on how to handle puppies with both gentle care and firmness, as needed, is of course necessary.
Another corgi trait to be aware of is their overwhelming love of food. This is not across the board, as our own May May is a remarkably self-controlled eater and often refuses tempting food scraps that the toddlers may offer. Generally, though, corgis need to be carefully watched and put on a measured diet to avoid obesity and all of the accompanying health issues.
Feed requirements do vary depending on ingredients and quality of food, but we generally recommend that young puppies get about 1/2 cup of good quality puppy kibble 2-3 times per day. Once your corgi is fully mature they should receive about 1/4-1/2 cup high quality dog food twice a day. The best way to gauge how much to feed your particular dog is to evaluate how it looks on a regular basis. You should not be able to see ribs, but you should be able to easily feel them. Un-neutered growing corgis who receive a lot of exercise need a lot more food than fully grown neutered house dogs who lie around all day. Monitor your own particular dog and his needs and don’t give into those pleading puppy eyes. This article has good advice on feeding corgis and a cautionary tale! Obesity is a serious health issue in corgis today.
The bonus of their food-loving ways is that it helps make them quite easy to train! We find great joy in all the tricks we can teach our corgis and with what ease they can pick them up.
Appearance & Breed Standards
Corgis should measure 10-12″ high at the shoulder when full grown, and not exceed 30 lbs. They may come in four colors: Red & White, Sable, Red Headed Tri Color or Black Headed Tri Color. Faces should have a foxy appearance. Tails are usually docked shortly after being born, but historically they were bred to have short tails so it is possible for some to be born with natural dock tails. Some people do choose to keep long tails and they are generally long and bushy, contributing to their “foxy” appearance. Corgis do have a double coat, a soft undercoat and a coarse guard coat, and often require brushing, especially during shedding season. Nails should be trimmed on a regular basis. Despite appearances, corgis do not actually have an extra long back but simply particularly short legs for their body size (they are considered true dwarf dogs).
Ears pop up on their own at around 8 weeks of age (which includes an adorably awkward one ear phase).
One of our all time favorite corgi traits is their ability to strike the most ridiculous poses. Walking by the puppy pen at nap time can be quite comical!
All in all we find Pembroke Welsh Corgis to be completely irresistible with their endearingly quirky ways, winning personalities, deep-rooted love of people, and a touch of the independent welsh spirit.
If you feel like the corgi is a good fit for your home you can head over to our Available Puppies page. There is nothing we love better than helping brighten others’ lives with these cheerful little dogs.