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Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Nicole Cosgrove

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a herding dog from Pembrokeshire in Wales. An old dog that is still popular today ranked 20th by the AKC and kept by the Queen of England herself!

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest herding dogs around. While it is mostly kept as a family friend and companion now it still retains those herding instincts and will nip at heels if it is not trained and socialized not to.

It may not be the favored dog of the Pembroke fairies but it is well loved in America and England especially. It is intelligent and gets on well with everyone when well trained. It is stubborn sometimes though and will certainly not be a completely compliant pet!

Here is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi at a Glance
Name Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Other Names Welsh Corgi
Nicknames Corgi, Pem, PWC, Pembroke
Origin Wales, (UK)
Average size Small to medium
Average weight 24 to 30 pounds
Average height 10 to 12 inches
Life span 12 to 14 years
Coat type Double, thick under and longer top
Hypoallergenic No
Color Red, Black, Tri-colored, Fawn, Sable, all often with white markings
Popularity Ranked 20th by the AKC
Intelligence Excellent – very intelligent dog
Tolerance to heat Good – It is able to handle warmer climates but is better in cooler ones
Tolerance to cold Very good – With its coat it can handle very cold climates
Shedding High – it sheds through the year and sheds a large amount during seasonal times
Drooling Low – this is not a dog known to drool a lot
Obesity Prone to obesity – food and exercise will need to be moniored
Grooming/brushing Moderate to high – with the frequent shedding there is daily brushing to do as well as clean up
Barking Frequent – It tends to bark often and be very vocal
Exercise needs Fairly active – as a fairly active dog it will need regular activity
Trainability Easy to train – it is eager to please but watch for the stubborn side to him
Friendliness Very good – a friendly dog to everyone generally
Good first dog Very good – It can be stubborn which can affect training but in general it is not a difficult dog to own
Good family pet Excellent – it is a great family dog
Good with children Very good – it is affectionate and playful with children but may try nip at their heels to herd them!
Good with other dogs Good – it needs early socialization to help its interactions with other dogs
Good with other pets Good – early socialization will help how it interacts with other pets
Good with strangers Excellent – it is very friendly to strangers
Good apartment dog Very good – its size means it is well suited as long as it gets daily outdoor activity
Handles alone time well Good – it is actually quite good at dealing with time alone
Health issues Moderate – it has a lot of potential health issues it can be prone to including joint problems, back problems and eye problems
Medical expenses $460 a year which includes basic care as well as pet insurance
Food expenses $145 a year though this may likely be more if you prefer high end brands
Miscellaneous expenses $540 a year which includes grooming, training, license, toys and miscellaneous costs
Average annual expense $1145
Cost to purchase $800
Biting Statistics N/A On the report covering 34 years of dog attacks on people this dog is not mentioned

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s Beginnings

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has quite a long history, being able to find their ancestors as far back as the 1100s! It is thought that their origins are actually with either the Flemish weavers or the Vikings who brought them with them when they came to live in Wales. Then they were used for a variety of jobs and were working dogs able to herd small to large animals like geese, sheep and even cattle.

There is a tale from Welsh folklore that tells a different story of its beginnings. In this tale the Pembroke Corgi has its origins steeped in elves and fairies. Supposedly there were two children taking care of cattle on their family’s farm one day out in the fields in Pembroke. They found two puppies which they thought might be unusual foxes and they took them home. Their mother and father knew that these puppies were actually dogs that had been gifted to them from the fairies that lived there. These dogs were ones the fairies themselves used to ride on into battle or to pull their carriages around when they traveled. Now the children cherished them and they grew up to be working dogs and loved companions.

Whichever origin story you might believe that fact is from 1928 until 1934 the Pembroke and the Cardigan Welsh Corgis were registered with the English Kennel Club as one breed. But many breeders thought that each Corgi actually developed separately and eventually things changed.

New Lease on Life

In 1934 the Kennel Club recognized the Cardigan and the Pembroke as two separate breeds and the AKC followed suit that same year. The fact is they are similar in some ways, they have similar bodies, they are both herding dogs, their heads are shaped almost the same and they are both smart dogs. But the Cardigan is a bit bigger than the Pembroke and heavier too. Also where tails are docked often the Pembroke has a docked tail but the Cardigan’s are naturally long.

In 1936 the first Pembroke was shown in the US and it slowly started to become popular to the point where today it is now ranked 20th most popular dog according to the AKC. In England Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is famous for her love of her corgis, her first was from her father in 1933.

The Dog You See Today

The Pembroke is a small to medium dog weighing 24 to 30 pounds and standing 10 to 12 inches tall. It has a double coat, the under one being thick and the top coat being longer. Some have a more fluffy coat with lots of feathering over the legs, chest, feet and ears. Its body is long and it has short legs putting it low to the ground.

It has a wide skull that is flat between the ears. Its nose is black and it has oval shaped eyes that vary in some shade of brown. It has ears that are erect that come to a rounded point. Some are born with no tail and where it is still legal those that do have tails are often then docked. Where this is illegal the tail is long. Docking stems from days when companion dogs were deemed a luxury and were taxed, whereas dogs who were working dogs were exempt. To prove a dog was a working dog the owners had to dock the tail.

When it comes to colorings the coat can be fawn, black, sable or tri-colored. There are usually white markings, often what some call a fairy saddle on the back and then on the neck, belly, muzzle, legs and chest. Some have a blaze on the head too.

The Inner Pembroke Welsh Corgi


Most Pems today are kept as family dogs or companions rather than as working dogs, though some still have that role. It is a happy and smart dog but can be stubborn. It has its own thoughts and sometimes that will not match up with your own! It is wary of strangers and makes a good watchdog as it will bark to alert you if they feel something is threatening the home or you. It is also protective and may act to defend you.

With its family it is loving and it loves to be around people and part of family activities. It is not a dog you can leave alone for long periods. It likes to please and loves to be active. Watch for its herding instinct though as it causes it to nip at its owners, children and other pets heels to herd them around. This will need socialization and training to prevent.

Living with a Pembroke Welsh Corgi

What will training look like?

As mentioned this is a smart dog and can be eager to please but with its stubborn side training can vary between easy and moderately easy. When it is young it is important to expose it to different people, situations and animals to ensure it is well socialized. Obedience training is also necessary to help curb the heel nipping.

It is intelligent so when it is attentive things will go well. Establish yourself clearly as pack leader and use firm, consistent but positive techniques. It responds very well to treats but take care as it is prone to obesity.

How active is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi?

It is a fairly active dog but it can happily live in an apartment as long it gets plenty of exercise outside each day. Despite its short stature it can be surprisingly agile and quick. Make sure it does not jump from even just moderate heights like a couch as back fractures can happen very easily. With enough time going on walks each day it is calm indoors. If it is not given enough mental and physical stimulation though it can become restless, hyperactive and display destructive behavior.

Access to a yard is a bonus place for it to play but not a requirement to owning this dog. It needs a couple of walks a day, at least an hour a day in total. A good idea would be to also take it to a dog park occasionally so that it can socialize and run free. Take care when it is not on a leash as it is likely to chase anything that moves, small animals, people on bicycles and so on.

Caring for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Grooming needs

Pems shed all year an average to above average amount and then shed very heavily twice a year with seasonal shedding. Females who have not been spayed and are in heat will also shed more heavily. It will need daily brushing when the shedding is heavy and then perhaps three times a week at other times. Expect hair around the house and on clothing and daily vacuuming. The coat is actually easy to brush and this will keep it health, remove some of the loose hair and also keep mats and debris out.

Give it a bath when it needs it only so that you do not damage the natural oils in its skin. Only ever wash it with a dog shampoo. Its teeth will need brushing at least twice a week using a dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Its ears should be checked and wiped clean once a week, you can use a dampened cloth, or there are dog ear cleansers you can use with a cotton ball.

If its nails are not worn down naturally with its activity they will need to be trimmed. Dog nails are not simple to clip, there are live blood vessels and nerves in the lower part. If you have no experience have a professional groomer take care of it for you.

Feeding Time

A Pembroke Welsh Corgi will need to eat at least ¾ to 1 1/2 cups of high quality dry dog food a day. That amount should be split into at least two meals. The actual amount can vary depending on the level of activity your dog has, how large it is, its metabolism and age. Measuring the food is important for the Pem as it loves to eat and can easily become obese.

How they get on with children

This is a dog that tends to get on very well with children but socialization will still be needed along with training as it can nip at the kid’s feet to herd them. It is also very important that children realize these are not dogs to ride or to press on the back or to encourage to jump down from places as their backs are injured very easily.

With other pets it is fine too but with strange dogs it can become territorial. It can also be like that with cats. Being raised with them can help but with strange cats it will be less accepting.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

While it is a fairly health dog in general there are certain issues it is prone to. As mentioned back issues like IVDD, DM and fractures are a common problem. Other conditions to be aware of include Hip Dysplasia, Eye Problems, Skin Problems, Epilepsy, Von Willebrands and Lung Problems. As mentioned they are also prone to obesity which could cause more back problems and needs to be controlled with a measured diet and regular activity.

Biting Statistics

When looking at the reports of dog attacks against people over the last 34 years in Canada and North America there is no mention of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi being involved in any of them. This puts it as one of the safest dogs to have. However keep in mind that any dog, even a Corgi can become aggressive and attack if under certain conditions. Dogs need to be in a home where they get the activity and stimulation they need, the love and care they need and the proper socialization and training.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Pembroke Welsh Corgi can cost around $800. If you are getting one from a show breeder or the like that can go up to around $1200 plus. If you are buying from a backyard breeder the prices may be closer to $400 but then you do not have any assurances when it comes to health and usually no initial health care has been given. Adopting a Corgi from a rescue or shelter could be even less at $50 to $200 and that often includes initial medical care given, but usually this would be an adult rescue.

Initial costs will need to be covered including medical needs like immunization, deworming, blood tests, micro chipping and a check up. That will come to upwards of $70. Spaying if it is a female or neutering if it is male will cost another $200.

Non-medical costs to start out with will also come with things like a collar and leash, crate, carrier and other miscellaneous items. These costs can be expected to be around $200.

Annual costs will then need to be considered. Owning a dog will have financial implications you need to be able to cover. It will need to be fed obviously, food costs vary depending on the brands you opt for but expect food to start at $120 a year and treats to be another $25 a year. It will also need other items like toys to play with which will start at $35 a year and other miscellaneous items for $45 a year.

You may need to have regular trips to a professional groomer to trim its hair if it gets too long, and to take care of it nails. These costs will be around $320 a year. It will need to be licensed each year for about $20 and it will need training. Basic obedience training is going to start at $120 a year, if you decide to extend that ti will cost more. If you opt to undertake the training yourself then this could go down.

Annual medical costs will also need paying for, shots, flea prevention, heartworm prevention and check ups will come to about $235 a year. Medical insurance or emergency savings for your Corgi should start at $225 a year.

Overall you can expect costs for owning a Pembroke to start at $1145 a year.


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Featured Image Credit: Welshea, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.