Monday, August 27, 2007

Breed Of The Month - Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of those dog breeds that people don't recognize by name. "A what?" Is often the response I get after telling people I'm getting a corgi. They are not popular in the trendy sense, yet they were in the top 25 of AKC's most popular dog breed list in 2005 and 2006 (not sure about 2007).

Corgis are those other dogs with long bodies and short legs. They are medium size and medium length fur. The most common coloring is red (this ranges from a dark orange to a light fawn) and white. There is also the black headed tri-color, red headed tri-color, and sable. The tris have a red, orange, and black coloring. Sable coloring is red fur with black on the tip of the fur. They have a fox-like look, and have a rather husky build. They shed year round, and have an all out "molting" twice a year. I plan to combat this dog fur infestation by grooming my dog often, everyday if I can find the time. Corgis have a docked tail, causing an effect that owners affectionately call the "bunny butt".

Corgis are members of the herding group. My theory is that this is what makes Corgis so "easily trainable". They were bred to do a specific job for people that requires them to have an understanding of what we want them to do, which is similar to obedience training. Dogs from the herding group need to feel like they have a job. That doesn't mean they have to herd, but if they become bored (which they inevitably will if they're being left home all day), they will give themselves a job, such as ripping up your carpet or chewing your table legs. If you have to leave your Corgi at home all day, you can do little things like leaving your tv on. Give your dog toys that will keep him/her busy for a while, like a Kong toy with a treat hidden in it. I've also heard recommendations like hiding treats throughout your house, so your dog can spend the day sniffing them out and getting a nice reward for it. Corgis should be walked twice a day, and taking puppy to run around the dog park off-leash on the weekend should be enough exercise to keep him/her happy and healthy (from what I've read, I'll have to let you know from experience later). The way I plan to keep my corgi "employed" is with lots of obedience and agility training. Corgis are known for doing great on agility courses, and they really like all the running around. Some Corgis also love the water, and if you live near a lake or ocean, a dog beach might be a good thing to check out.

I hear Corgis most referred to as big goofballs. They are big dogs in a small dog's body. They are bold but friendly. They are intelligent, obedient, loyal, and protective. They are very vocal, so they are known to make good watch dogs (not guard dogs though). It's very important to properly socialize your Corgi, or s/he will be standoff-ish to strangers, and worse with other animals. Also watch your dog around other animals, as s/he may try to herd them! This goes for kids too. Corgis are supposed to be very good with children, but you have to watch them because they think children running around need to be herded. Corgis herd by biting the ankles of the animal, which you would not want your dog to do with you or your kids! Nip this habit in the bud early by saying a loud "ouch!" and then ignoring your dog for a few minutes every time s/he nips you. And of course, praise lots when s/he plays nicely!

In terms of males vs. females, the jury is still out on this one. I've heard from my breeder that females tend to be bossier, and as this is already a bossy breed, it might be easier to start with a male. If you're planning on two dogs, the usual recommendation is one of each sex, though I've heard of people having two females and two males (neutered!) with no problems. All Corgis are bossy. If you let them, they will run your house. You need to establish yourself as the boss from day one. Things should be done on your terms, and you should never let your dog get the "upper paw". If you are the boss, then you and your Corgi can live together with love and respect for one another.

I've also heard that Corgis love to play with other Corgis. Check and see if there is a Corgi meet up group in your area, or look into starting one! If they're on the top 25 list of most popular breeds, they're hiding somewhere. You might be surprised how many there are in your city.

Since Corgis are smaller dogs, they can handle the indoor lifestyle, and you don't have to be stuck with a toy breed. Just make sure you let them spend their energy several times a day with walks, play times, etc. Corgis have their mind on food all the time (just like me!). They will eat a big bowl of food and then look at you with those big puppy dog eyes as if they haven't been fed in a week. Do not free feed your Corgi, or give in to their begging. A fat Corgi is a huge no no. The will get back and hip problems as a result, to say the least.

As I said above, Corgis shed. They have a dirt resistant top coat, and a soft undercoat. The combination helps keep them clean, dry, and their temperature regulated. Don't shave your Corgi. The only real upkeep besides keeping their teeth cleaned and nails clipped is the fur between their feet. You need to clip it periodically, but be warned that most Corgis apparently don't like having their feet touched (me neither!!!). Also, when they start to get that doggy smell, they should get a bath. Depending on your dog's level of activity this will range from every few weeks to once a month or so. Be careful not to wash too often, or his/her skin will dry out and become irritated.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi comes from Wales sometime in the AD, but we're not sure when. This is not a new designer breed. This breed is old and was bred with a purpose (hey, some people care about that kind of thing). There's a cute little fairy tale about how the Corgi was used to pull the carriages of fairies, and when they came into the world of man, the saddles they wore were emblazoned on their coat, which explains their coloring today.

The bottom line:
Corgis are loud, hungry, energetic, furry bunny butts! But they are also funny, kind, playful, obedient, and smart. If you have the time and energy to devote to properly training and exercising your Corgi, this breed is for you. If you want a dog with a sense of humor and a playful energy, this breed is for you. This breed is not for you if you want a dog that is easy going, doesn't have a mind of its own, and will do everything you say without question.

**Well that was my first "Breed of the Month" post. I hope people can find it helpful. I'll also update these posts as I think of/find more information.**


Anonymous said...

That was really good. it helped me a lot.

JuLo said...

Oh good! Thanks! :) So now are thinking you do or don't want a Corgi? Hehe.

sandraleeo said...

i want one pretty please

Anonymous said...

I have a corgi... and everything you just said is true! I have had him for about 5 months now and I have enjoyed every minute of it! He is hysterical! Good luck with yours!

JuLo said...

Oh thanks! It's nice to hear that I'm not totally talking out of my butt here. :) I'll definitely post my own opinions on the breed when I actually own one, which is soon!

I'm glad you're enjoying your corgi, they sound like a really fun breed! :)

Anonymous said...

i love corgis!!! I wish i could could get one!!! They are so cute!!
Your website is cool!! I love the photos!!!!1

JuLo said...

Oh my goodness! You are so excited! Hehe. That was me before I got my little guy. I'm glad you like the blog! Check out my flickr next month for more photos. I can't upload any more this month. :( Boo!

lisadiaz54 said...

My "Dayzi" is having a problem with her front paws becoming very irritated. She is constantly licking them causing even more irritation.This is very painful for her, and me to see her in so much discomfort. Several vets, (4 to be exact)have not given me a reason why or have been able to offer me any solutions to help her with her discomfort and pain. Please somebody help "My Dayzi". has anyone else experienced this with their corgi. Does anyone have a solution that works? I do get her groomed regularly but they do not trim the hair between her toes. Could that be the problem and if so how do I trim it myself properly?

Anonymous said...

I have a 8 week old Corgi and I love him to death. He can be a little stubborn at times, just like me, but he's learning quickly. Thanks for the tips :)

Anonymous said...

Paw licking can also be a sign of "seperation anxiety". Does Daizi get left alone while you work? There are several good articles on the AKC website about this.

Vanessa S said...

corgis are the BEST!!! i've had 4 at one time. but as to male vs.female, i have had 5 females and only 1 male and i can say for me, the females were much bossier and the male much softer and cozier. although he was more of a wanderer (when occasionally the electric fence on the 12 acres went down)

Hilde said...

I`m a brand new "corgi-mum". He came to us on friday (today is monday).He`s a big entertainer! Here up in Norway, there ar not many corgis, but all know what kind of dog it is when I tell them that Queen Eliabeth of England got several corgis. My family and I are looking foreward to share our lives with this little sweetheart!

Lacey said...

Hey! I have a corgi named Toby! he is 2, I got him when we was 1yr old though, my family and I had a girl Corgi named Belle and she died at 10 years of age to cancer, it was so heartbreaking and we were miserable so we had to have another one and we basically rescued Toby but he really saved us! He is so loving and loves to cuddle with you, he had no toys or even a bed to sleep on when we got him and now he has a whole baskit of toys and 2 beds! Although, he prefers sleeping on the bed with me most nights! Corgis are the best!

K.Rose said...

I personally own a corgi. Corgis are like people. They each have their own personality. You just have to look for one with qualities that you like. The bossyness is going to occur within any breed, because of dominance.

Corgis are very much like "ME" children. It is all about them like any other breed, but add energy and the ability to run pretty fast with it.

Mine tends to be bossy about such things about: prefrence of food, favorite toy, favorite spot to sleep, and where should I (being owner) sit to where I can do my college homework while my corgi doesn't feel out of reach for a good ear rub.

ckcorgimom said...

Julo, Your info is right on. I wish everyone who is considering a PWC would read this. I have two corgis--an 8-year-old female and a 6-year-old male. They are our constant joy and delight. Corgis do need owners who fully understand the breed and can give them a job. If anyone has questions, post it, and I'll be glad to help.

Claire said...

i took one of my corgis to get trimmed and they ended up shaving him! he's not bald but his fur is only about 1/2 an inch long. will it grow back to how it was? should i get him a shirt to wear or something? thanks for the help i enjoyed reading your thoughts!

JuLo said...

Claire, your poor little guy! Shaved! Well you're definitely not the first person to have a shaved Corgi, so I wouldn't worry. I'm not sure how it'll grow back. It may not be exactly the same, but I'm sure he'll be fine.

Corgis shouldn't need trimming (unless you've got a fluffy!). They may have a lot of fur, but their top coat and undercoat is specifically designed to keep them insulated (warm when it's cold out and cool when it's warm out), and by trimming it you're disturbing their ability to regulate their heat. If you're concerned about the heat in the summer I would suggest some nice cold water. :)

Mew said...

New mom of a 14week corgi "Abbie". Any hints of getting her use to the water? live in hawaii and love to go to beach. thanks

Anonymous said...

I loved your write-up about the corgi. I just lost my 12 year old corgi from complications due to a back problem. (Yes, she was overweight.) Everything you said here is so true. My corgi was such a clown. Silly little dog. Be warned, they stay puppies for over two years but it's well worth it. My corgi was so sweet and friendly. The best breed ever. She was a tri-color and happened to have a tail because it wasn't docked at birth because she was a preemie. Thanks

Kayla said...

I thought pembrokes were born without tails?

JuLo said...

Nope. They've got tails. So, I hear, are born is a bobbed tail, rather than a full tail, but I believe there aren't many that way. It's becoming more and more popular to leave their tails in tact, so you can see PWCs with tails on sites like pretty easily.

Anonymous said...

Why is shaving a Corgi not good? We saw a shaved Corgi for the first time this summer. I took the electric sheers and trimmed our thickly-coated (not fluffy) hair and she was fine. If we end up with a fluffy, I plan on doing the same.

JuLo said...

Well I can't speak to shaving or not shaving a fluffy, since I'm not familiar with the specifics of their fur, but for a regular Corgi ask yourself why you want to shave them in the first place. If it's to keep them cooler, most agree that shaving a Corgi will actually make them hotter. Also, it can take a very long time for their fur to grow back correctly.

I'll quote someone who posted on since I think they said it better than I can:

"She's likely to get hotter with the clip. The guard hairs of the top coat (the coarse, shiny ones) hold cool air in the softer undercoat in the summer, and hold heat in the thicker winter undercoat. With the guard hairs clipped the cool air will escape, and heat from the sun will penetrate more.

Depending on how short you trimmed, her age, and her genetics it will probably take one to two years for her coat to grow in correctly and look right. The soft, dull undercoat grows fairly quickly and the shiny topcoat grows very slowly. She will likely look a bit dull and "tufty" as the undercoat grows through the shorter, slower-growing guard hairs.

The younger she is, the better her genetics, and the less you clipped, the more likely her coat will grow back quicker and completely. Keeping her brushed out regularly as her coat comes back in will help reduce the appearance of soft, lumpy undercoat tufts. "

Anonymous said...

We love our corgi, she brings so much happiness and pleasure to our lives, and even though she thinks she owns the house, it's ok!
She can't do anything wrong, even when she chewed the furniture. She is always the center of attention would that be Lake Tahoe or Miami Beach. We love her and she has given us more than we can ever give her. Her name is Mimi, and she is our sunshine.
Your pictures remind us of when Mimi was a puppy, she's also sable and white. Corgis are truly amazing, with a personality of a person, very intelligent and kind. We couldn't have found a better breed to have. We are very thankful to Mimi for choosing us when we went to the pet shop!!!

Julie said...

Just found your blog and I have to say thanks for this post! *L* We have a Corgi mixed puppy...mixed with a spaniel breed and she is a riot! She shows strong Corgi characteristics and looks more Corgi than Spaniel by far. The only Spaniel look to her is her floppy ears and smaller head. She is our first Corgi and she is precious! Loveable, bossy, you said they have a sense of humor *L*

Anonymous said...

I grew up with purebred PWC, and adore them. They used to drive me nuts, and always were keeping me and my siblings out of trouble.

My husband and I got settled into our new place over that last while (he's a marine) and it would break my heart watching him play with puppies. His mom wouldn't let him have his dog.

I remembered the characteristics of my corgis, and thought they would make a good match for my hubby (Hyper, and playful, and sarcastic) And I searched for several months.

I happened across a puppy from a local rescue operation near our house. He and his siblings are Australian Shepard/PWC (1/2&1/2)

But with Demon (he is named well) you can only see the PWC. The only thing the shepard gave him was longer legs (meaning he can get on the couch) and a long curly tail.

But seriously... I have always loved how you can talk to a Corgi, they listen. :D

Unknown said...

I have two Corgis (both males) and adore them both. Everything you said is true - don't forget their universal strange habits of playing in their water dish and barking at noisy appliances (i.e. vacuum cleaner, leaf blower, etc. My older Corgi even barks when I sneeze!!

There is a wonderful unofficial group on Facebook of Corgi people who all post as if their Corgi was doing the talking. Its a great bunch of wacky Corgi lovers. They call themselves The Corgi Nation but it is not an official group. Once you friend a few dogs with the mame "Corgi" you will find it eventually!