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.**
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