published 27 January 2021
This month’s breed - The Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an adorable, agreeable small dog whose size conceals generations of herding instincts and traits associated with much larger breeds. The American Kennel Club ranks the Corgi as the smallest dog in its herding group and the 13th-most popular breed in the United States – an unsurprising ranking for an intelligent, tenacious, family-friendly dog that is equally loving and dependable.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are small but powerful dogs with surprising agility given their size and short legs. Muscular, long, and low-set, Pembroke Corgis differ from their cousin, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, in several respects: Pembrokes typically have docked tails compared to long tails for Cardigans (though some countries have banned the practice, making the difference more difficult to spot); additionally, the Cardigan has a slightly larger head and comes in different colors than its Pembroke counterpart. Pembroke Corgis maintain good genetic health, especially when purchased from responsible breeders, though some can suffer from inherited conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and other rare conditions.
Corgis come in myriad colors and patterns, including:
Some find it hard to believe that a dog the size of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was bred for herding cattle, but its deeply entrenched instincts that back centuries: it is believed that the cattle dogs that were brought to Wales by the Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries are the true ancestors of the Corgi as we know it today. (It is also possible that they may have descended from a line of dogs that were brought to Wales in the 12th century by Flemish weavers.)
Corgis possess all the vital traits to be extremely efficient cattle dogs: tenacity, determination, and high intelligence. Both the Pembroke and its close cousin, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, descend from the line of northern spitz-type dogs. Initially recognized as one breed, the Kennel Club of the UK decided in 1934 to recognize the Pembroke and Cardigan separately. The American Kennel Club followed suit in the same year and in 1936, the Pembroke was first shown in the USA. The official AKC breed standard is maintained by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is perhaps best known for being Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s preferred breed of dog. Queen Elizabeth II of England was given her first Corgi by her father, King George, in 1933, and the breed has been a fixture in her life ever since.
Pembroke Corgis are highly intelligent, outgoing, and friendly dogs. Strong and athletic, Corgis are happiest with moderate daily exercise – they especially love herding and chasing, the same activities they engage in as working dogs. Their pleasant disposition makes Corgis a great fit for families, and their protectiveness if they sense a threat to their family or social group makes the breed great watchdogs. Their determination can sometimes turn into a stubborn streak, however, making early, consistent training beneficial to avoid future behavioral issues.
Corgis possess a weatherproof short undercoat with a longer, coarser outer coat of varying length. Pembrokes do benefit from a once-daily brushing with a comb and slicker brush to minimize their tendency to shed, which increases in spring and early summer. The American Kennel Club also recommends occasional baths to loosen dead hairs (though Corgis should be completely dry before brushing), regular nail trimmings, and routine ear checks.
Corgis are very near and dear to my heart. In fact, the breed is a major reason that I wanted to work with animals! Growing up in England, my family owned a male Corgi named Monty. He was incredibly loyal – not to mention my very first dog – and helped inspire a lifelong love of the breed. Eventually, my husband and Bark Busters co-founder Danny Wilson and I had a Corgi named Gypsy, who was our pride and joy for 13 amazing years.
Corgis have become more and more popular in the USA, and for good reason: they are great family dogs, with keen intelligence that means they take to training well. This same intelligence can be a challenge for their owners, however, as Corgis do not relinquish leadership easily – after all, the same determination, tenacity, and independence that serve them well as herding dogs can also make them a challenge to handle.
The common issues with Corgis are normally barking, chasing, leash-pulling and sibling rivalry. They can be bossy with other dogs, with a desire to rule the roost. Early training makes a real difference when it comes to managing the strong herding instincts possessed by Corgis, which may transfer to everything they do. Good management is especially important around young children, who may be nipped during overexuberant play. The Corgi is not malicious, but it can get itself into trouble if left on its own to run the show.
If you are struggling with your Corgi’s behavioral issues, contact your local Bark Busters® trainer. Our trainers are available both in person and through live interactive virtual sessions to help establish a pattern of consistency, resolve any and all issues, and help you nurture a relationship with your Corgi built on mutual understanding, trust, respect, and love.
We are standing by to help you develop a consistent, compassionate approach to good behavior for your Corgi. Learn more about our services and schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with one of our trainers today!
As previously mentioned, early education is important. Making sure your Corgi walks properly on a leash is an important exercise. If your dog pulls on the leash, it can be damaging its skeletal frame. You should always start this training in the home and start with short walks and make them fun and educational. No need to go for long walks while educating.
Introducing the Leash
Many folks struggle to control their dogs when out on a walk regardless of their size.
We recommend starting when your dog is still a puppy and educating your puppy where you want it to walk. That should not be straining at the leash.
Bark Busters® are often asked why dogs pull on the leash and concerned ‘pet parents’ worry that their dog will be injured with all this pulling. Not to mention the toll the pulling takes on the human, the answer is simple, it’s all down to using the right technique, coupled with the right leash and equipment.
Dogs Naturally Pull Against a Tight Leash
Pressure on your dog’s neck is not good for the trachea or his skeletal frame. It also places unnecessary pressure on your arms and joints. It benefits neither you nor your dog and cannot be fun. Yet we all see this type of walking daily and it has to be because people don’t know there is a better way.
In the wild if an animal is trapped, it will naturally try to get away. It knows it is vulnerable if it is captured or tethered. Although the canine has been domesticated for thousands of years, your dog still has this instinct in its mind. The only way to avoid this natural pulling, is to learn to get your dog to walk on a loose leash.
Dogs are natural pullers. It’s in a dog’s DNA to pull against any restraint.
This is why it is possible to get a dog to pull a sled. When a dog feels a restraint it naturally pulls against the restraint. This is normal dog behavior, but we can alter the dog’s perception if we always keep the dog on a loose leash, where it feels NO restraint.
The Waggwalker is a walking harness designed by dog trainers to communicate and educate dogs how to walk sedately on the leash.
The WAGGWALKER® makes it easier to walk your dog because it provides a way of communicating, through sound and with no pain, letting your dog know when it is out of position and exactly where you want your dog to walk, so ‘take the lead and get tails wagging’.
The Corgi is an energetic athlete who needs a lot of exercise and free play. Taking your dog for long walks & hikes is great for their wellbeing.
A great interactive toy is The GameChanger® by Bark Busters®. Not only is this toy safe (made of FlexaPure - durable non-toxic PBA-free polyurethane material), but it stimulates a dog’s natural desire to chew. You fill the toy with some small treats, and your Corgi must decide how to get the treats out through the small holes. Entertainment for hours!