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rec.pets.dogs: Pembroke Welsh Corgis Breed-FAQ
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 10 Nov 1997
There are nearly 100 FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
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This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other
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without express or implied warranty.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Perrine Crampton, .
See also the credits at the end of this document.
(c) Copyright Perrine Crampton 1997
* Updated: August 1, 1997
+ National and Regional Breed Clubs listing to include the
newsletter and Corresponding Secretary for each of the
Regional Clubs. ; (Club members and rescue contacts, please
email corrections to )
* First (more or less) release: August 3, 1995
Table of Contents
* Characteristics and Temperament
+ Pet and Companion
+ Obedience Trials, Tracking and Agility
+ Other Abilities
* General Health
* Inherited Medical Problems
+ Skin and Skeletal System
+ Other Conditions
* Where To Get A Pembroke Welsh Corgi
* Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
+ Email List
+ National and Regional Breed Clubs
+ Breed Rescue Organizations
Unlike some dog breeds, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi does not have a
traceable breed history. Its origins are obscured by tales and
folklore and even contain ties to the wee folk of the British Isles.
According to legend, two children tending their family's cattle on
royal lands found a pair of puppies, which they thought were foxes.
When they brought the puppies home, they were told the dogs were a
gift from the fairies. Welsh legends tell us that the fairies would
use the little dogs to pull their carriages or as mounts for them to
ride into battle. If you look, you can still see the marks of the
fairy saddle on their shoulders (especially pronounced in the sable
color). As the little puppies that the children brought home grew,
they learned to help their humans watch over their cattle, a task to
become a responsibility for their descendants for the centuries to
That's the legend. The more commonly accepted theory traces back to
Scandinavian raiders bringing their dogs with them to the British
Isles, possibly as far back as the 9th or 10th century. The Swedish
Vallhund is seen to bear many similarities to today's Pembroke Welsh
Corgi and is presumed to have been bred with native Welsh dogs. Any of
the offspring that expressed cattle herding/driving traits were no
doubt selectively bred to enhance that skill. It is also thought that
the dogs brought over with Flemish weavers, who settled in
Pembrokeshire, South Wales in the 12th century, were bred with the
local cattle dogs adding the Spitz characteristics that the Pembroke
Welsh Corgi expresses today.
The name of the breed is as difficult to nail down as is its origin.
One school combines the Welsh word "cor" which means "to watch over or
gather" with "gi", a form of the Welsh word for dog. This was
certainly a responsibility of these small cattle herders and homestead
guardians. Another ascribes the word corgi as the Celtic word for dog
and that the Norman invaders thereafter referred to any local dog as a
"cur" or mongrel. Finally, legend pops up again with the
interpretation that the word "cor" means "dwarf". Combine that with
the Welsh form for dog "gi" and you have "dog of the dwarfs or "dwarf
dog". For many years Corgis (both breeds) were referred to as either
'Ci-llathed' meaning "yard long dog" (we're talking a Welsh yard here)
or as 'Ci Sawdlo' due to its nature of nipping at cattle's heels.
The breed was first officially exhibited as the Welsh Corgi in England
in 1925 and was eligible to compete for challenge certificates in
1927. Both Pembrokes and Cardigans were shown in the same classes as
one breed until 1934, when the Kennel Club (British) separated the two
breeds. The first Pembrokes registered with the AKC appeared in 1934.
Pembrokes were first exhibited in the U.S. in 1936.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England, is a longtime Pembroke
fancier. In 1933 her father, then the Duke of York (later King George
VI), purchased a Pembroke puppy (Rozavel Golden Eagle)as a playmate
for his daughters Elizabeth and Margaret. Queen Elizabeth's interest
in the breed has continued throughout her life, and several lovely
Pembrokes still grace Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty's interest in the
breed, coupled with the appearance of a Pembroke family on the cover
of Farm Journal and the Disney film "Little Dog Lost", helped fuel
America's love affair with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is recognized by the American Kennel (AKC),
United Kennel Club (UKC), the Kennel Club (Great Britain, KC), the
FCI, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and many other kennel clubs
throughout the world.
Characteristics and Temperament
Pet and Companion
The breed standard general description of the Pembroke is: "Outlook
bold, but kindly. Expression intelligent and interested. Never shy or
vicious." If there was ever a summary description of the breed, this
would be it.
The Pembroke is "a big dog in a small dog's suit."
The Pembroke's personality is playful and fun-loving, but also can be
protective and tenacious. Pembrokes love attention and can be real
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a very intelligent and versatile companion
animal. The most suitable home for a Pembroke is with an owner who is
looking more for a companion than just a decoration, someone who is
looking for a dog who is as happy going for walks around the
neighborhood as for romps in the woods.
Though the Pembroke is an energetic breed and eager for new sights and
smells, Pems are just as content to keep their owners company at home.
With a modicum of exercise they are just as suited to city life as to
life in the country. Pembrokes are very people oriented and should not
be left in the backyard only to be occasionally petted. They are at
their best when incorporated into full family life.
Obedience Trials, Tracking and Agility
The Pembroke has a pleasant temperament. His intelligence and
eagerness to please makes for a personable dog who is interested in
learning, but sometimes not interested in repetitive training. The
independence of his working dog lineage coupled with his innate
intelligence means that he can get bored with an invariant training
routine and therefore needs a variety of exercises to keep his
interest in a task. Newer techniques using positive motivational
methods and food training are ideal for the average Pembroke and have
produced some very good obedience dogs. Their eagerness to please
their owners, coupled with a tendency to be little "hams" in public,
is an underlying reason why they do so well in obedience.
Many of these obedience-titled dogs have also acquired tracking
titles. Tracking is a sport where the dog must pick up and follow one
person's scent to the end of the trail and locate an article (a
glove). Advanced tracking complicates the situation by having
different people lay cross trails; the dog must stay on the original
one to the end. Most Pems take very readily to tracking, some
obtaining their first tracking title within months of beginning
training. Being low to the ground does help the nose work. The newest
phase of tracking competition will begin in fall of 1995 with the
Variable Surface Tracking program from the AKC. These tests are
designed to mimic tracking in an urban environment, over asphalt,
concrete, grass, etc. Many dogs that assist in search and rescue will
be the first titled dogs in this event.
Many Corgis (both Pembrokes and Cardigans) have also done well in
Agility. Agility is one of the newest performance events, requiring
the dog to run an obstacle course accompanied by its handler, all the
while competing against the clock. The obstacle course is a
scaled-down version of the course police or military dogs train on.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis, along with Cardigan Welsh Corgis, dominate
agility in their size class, and are as enthusiastic and competitive
as Border Collies. Pems frequently love agility much more than
obedience and can be found enthusiastically roaring through an agility
course barking happily the whole way, or "yelling" at their owners to
hurry up! USDAA, NADAC, NCDA and now the AKC provide agility
competition and titles for corgis to compete in.
The Pembroke is the smallest of the Herding group of dogs. As with
many other members of this group, the working instinct has not been
taken advantage of for quite some time, especially in the United
States. However, it is still in evidence in several lines today, and
Pembrokes have competed and earned top honors (High in Trial) in
competition at AKC herding trials, competing with other herding
breeds. Pembrokes have been primarily associated with cattle and were
used for that livestock originally but they can showcase their talents
with sheep, ducks or geese.
The Pembroke is a recognized breed throughout the world (after all, at
one point in time the sun never set on the British Empire) and
competes in conformation shows on most, if not all, continents. A
crowd-pleasing favorite due to its showmanship, the Pembroke has been
a serious group and Best in Show contender for many years.
Conformation judges compare dogs against a written breed standard and
evaluate their type and soundness. Many dogs which complete their
conformation championships also compete in obedience, tracking and
herding and when not at a show are usually pampered pets.
The Pembroke, due to his intelligence and eagerness to please, is a
standout in many other areas of canine work. Pems are often used as
Hearing Ear dogs, assisting owners afflicted with hearing impairments.
They alert their owners to important sounds, similar to the way Seeing
Eye dogs help their owners. Other Pembrokes have become Therapy Dogs,
friends for older adults in nursing homes or hospitalized patients.
The Pembroke has a foxy, intelligent face with bright, merry eyes and
a frequently smiling muzzle. The ears are erect, with their points
forming an equilateral triangle with the nose.
The body is relatively long (40% longer than its height at the
shoulders), with short legs and little or no tail. Colors are red,
sable, fawn or tri-color (red-headed or black-headed). White collars
are acceptable, as are white feet and legs, chest, underparts and
limited white on the head. The coat is of medium length and of a
double nature, with a thick undercoat covered by a topcoat. Also seen
(but considered incorrect by Pembroke breeders) are coats which are
too long (fluffies), wiry and kinky or overly short (also known as a
The Pembroke's weight should be in proportion to its height. Height
from ground to the highest point of the shoulders should be 10 to 12
inches. Weight should be 27-30 pounds for a male and 25-28 pounds for
a female. A correct Pembroke should not be so large-boned as to appear
coarse nor to have not enough bone and appear racy.
Coat: The grooming needs of the breed are minimal, however major
seasonal shedding may be a drawback for people lacking the time to
deal with it and should be a consideration when looking at the breed.
Regular brushing of the coat minimizes loose hairs and Corgi dust
bunnies around the house. The Pembroke blows coat (looses his/her
undercoat and sometimes top coat) twice a year, in the spring and
again in the fall. The easiest way to deal with the shedding Pem is to
give him a warm bath and comb out the dead hair while the dog is wet
and lathered. This should be followed by daily brushing for up to 2
weeks. The exception to the above is the fluffy (excessive ly
long-coated) Pembroke. Fluffies need extra brushing on a regular basis
(or periodic clip downs) in order to keep their coat in shape. Since
their hair is longer it will appear that they shed more. They also
need to have the hair on their buttocks trimmed to keep the area
Nails and feet: Of course, like any other breed, regular nail trimming
is important to stop the feet from splaying. Hair around the pads is
trimmed to help keep mud and snow from being tracked into the house.
The best practice is to trim the nails at least once a week. This will
maintain the short length and remind your (often times strong willed)
Pem that trimming its nails is nothing to panic about.
The best tools to use are guillotine-style nail clippers and a
grinder. Since it is very easy to cut the nail too short (cutting into
the quick and causing the nail to bleed), many people prefer the
grinder. The grinder comes in two varieties - with or without a cord.
This is the same type of grinder that crafts people use for delicate
sanding jobs and can be found in most any hardware or discount
department store. The two brands used by most breeders/serious
exhibitors are Oster (found in most pet supply catalogs) and Dremel
(found in hardware stores).
Feet: Especially for showing, the hair on a Pembroke's paws will need
to be trimmed. The best way to do this is with the beard-trimming
attachment on an electric razor. If you have to do it with scissors,
remember that the Pem's toes are webbed, and be careful to only cut
Ears: Ears should be kept free of any wax build up. A cotton ball with
a little mineral oil or Listerine is very effective.
Pembrokes are a fairly healthy breed, but as with all dogs (purebred
as well as mixed), do have some inherited problems. In a perfect
world, the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents of a litter
should be evaluated for possible genetic disease. General information
on Pembrokes follows as well as a list of possible genetically
transmitted diseases. For further information you should contact your
veterinarian and your breeder.
Lifespan: 11-13 years. Some Pembrokes have been known to live to 18-20
Males: Average onset age of puberty (6-8 months old).
Females: Tend to have normal length estrus (heat) cycle and gestation
(pregnancy). Average one heat every 6 months. Tend to be slightly
older when come into heat for the first time (9-11 months vs. 6 months
for small breeds). Most are free whelpers (require no help at
delivery) but increasing numbers of reports indicate more tendency
toward dystocia (difficult birth). If dystocia occurs, a caesarian
section is often required to save the life of the dam and the puppies.
For this reason, breeding Pembrokes should be left to those with the
experience to recognize warning signs of a difficult birth. No one
wants to lose a loved pet and, if not recognized early enough, a
dystocia can result in the death of the dam and puppies. Some dams may
be slow to remove placental sac or to tend to pups.
Litter size: Average 6-7 (range 1-12)
Birth weight: Average 10 oz (range 6-18 oz)
Dewclaws: Remove all.
Tails: If not born with a natural bob or tail-less, dock as close as
possible, but not so close as to leave an indentation. Tail should not
protrude beyond the anus (tail length must not exceed two inches).
Ears: Usually become erect between 4-16 weeks. If not up by 12 weeks
they should be taped.
Serious faults: Whitlies (excessive white body color with red or dark
markings); mismarks, (white on back between shoulder blades and tail,
on sides between elbows and back of hindquarters or on ears, black
with white markings and no tan); bluies (gray or smokey-red,
associated with light or blue eyes and light pigment of eye rims, nose
and lips); fluffies (excessive ly long coat); improper bites
(overshot, undershot, wry bite); ears not erect.&nbs p;
Inherited Medical Problems
(References: "Successful Dog Breeding", Walkowicz and Wilcox, 1994;
"Inherited Eye Diseases in Purebred Dogs", Rubin, 1989 "Ocular
Disorders Proven or Suspected to be Hereditary in Dogs", ACVO, 1992;
"Medical & Genetic Aspects of Purebred Dogs", Clark and Stainer,
One or both lens become cloudy, may involve only part of or the
entire lens; may progress to total blindness over time: (1)
Congenital cataracts, present at birth, may be inherited.
(2)Triangular subcapsular cataracts, generally occurs after 2
years old, believed to be inherited as an autosomal dominant
trait with incomplete penetrance. (3) Posterior cortical
cataracts, generally present by 1 year old, slowly progressive.
Inheritance pattern not yet proven. Cataracts may be present as
early as 8 weeks of age.
Persistent Pupillary Membrane
Pieces of a developmental membrane remain, vary from small
spots to large connecting strands, therefore influence on
vision varies with degree of involvement. May disappear with
age. Is familial, inherited as an autosomal recessive.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Primary Retinal Degeneration Type I. Death or destruction of
the cells in the retina (light absorbing layer of the eye)
which allow vision. Not associated with pain, but will
eventually progress to total blindness. Generally first noticed
as night blindness. No cure is known. Believed to be inherited
as an autosomal recessive but has not yet been proven in this
Abnormal development of the retina, may present as folds or
larger abnormalitie s. The fold version usually is not
progressive. Larger abnormalities may cause vision problems.
Sometimes the retina may detach. Detachment will cause
blindness. Inheritance pattern unknown but believed may be
inherited as an autosomal recessive.
Rare eye conditions
Corneal Dystrophy Inducing Vascularization (pigment and blood
vessels invade the cornea - the clear covering of the eyeball),
not much is known. Lens luxation: reported in British
literature but nothing known about problem in US literature.
Dermoid: also known as a corneal dermoid cyst. A skinlike cyst
on the surface of the eye, affects one or both eyes, may
contain skin, glands and hair. The inheritance pattern is
A term you should become familiar with is CERF (Canine Eye Registry
Foundation) . Owners whose dogs which have been examined by a
board-certified ophthalmologist may choose to have the results sent to
CERF and receive a certificate of registration. Please be aware that
the certificate is only good for one year. Dogs used for breeding
should be examined within the past year. Many breeders do not send the
reports in to CERF but should be able to provide you with a copy of
the original report.
Skin and Skeletal System
Also known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, dermatosparaxis, dominant
collagen dysplasia. Defective connective tissue which supports
and makes up the skin produces skin which is very fragile,
loose and stretchy, easily damaged. Also affects the blood
vessels in the skin and may cause bruising and large blood
blisters. Is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait.
Abnormality of the hip joint, may affect one or both sides.
Clinically may range from changes visible only on x-rays to
crippling arthritis. From 1974 to 1991 over 1500 Pembrokes were
evaluated by OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, a registry
for skeletal disease). Of these, 20.1% were considered to be
dysplastic based upon their x-rays. The inheritance is complex,
believed to involve several genes and likely environmental
influences (diet, rapid growth).
Hip dysplasia (HD) can vary in its effect on individual dogs.
Some dogs may fail OFA evaluation and never be lame or in pain
a day in their lives. Other dogs may have disease so severe
that the hip joint falls apart and live in chronic pain if
surgery is not performed. Controversy exists when relying on
OFA assessment of Pembrokes for HD as many dogs with excellent
movement (even some at 10 years of age or older) cannot pass
OFA. Young dogs may have preliminary xrays done before 2 years
old but cannot receive a permanent evaluation number before the
age of 2. Dogs may not pass OFA evaluation at 2 years of age
but receive numbers when they are 4-5 years old since if there
is no progression of disease on the x-ray (only in the case of
borderline or mild cases).
The Pembroke is a dwarf breed, which may explain the difference
from larger breeds. Some inherent joint laxity may be necessary
for proper rear extension during gaiting which is not
recognized as "normal" by OFA. A newer evaluation system
(PennHip) has been established. This system measures joint
laxity and when enough specimens of one breed have been
evaluated, compares dogs only to others of the same breed, not
to one standard as OFA does. For dogs suffering from clinical
degenerative arthritis caused by hip dysplasia, there are
several options available (both medical and surgical). Although
it is recommended that dogs not rated by OFA should not be used
for breeding, Pembrokes (along with the other dwarf breeds)are
unique and must be considered on an individual case basis by
knowledgeable breeders. Dogs with a familial history of
clinical hip dysplasia (arthritis in the hip joint which
affects the animal's health) should not be used for breeding.
Newborns whose ribcage is flattened (back to belly), often
associated with excessive joint laxity in the limbs. May or may
not progress. Usually by providing good footing and sometimes
physical therapy puppies return to normal structure.
Inheritance pattern is unknown. Most affected puppies are
usually very large, well-fed, and have trouble getting up on
their legs and prefer to crawl (hence the term swimmer).
High levels of cystine (a protein) is excreted in the urine,
predisposes to stone formation. Usually only a problem in
males. May be inherited as either an autosomal recessive or
sex-linked (pattern not yet proven).
Intervertebral Disk Disease
Compression of the spinal cord generally due to rupture of a
weak section in the disk. Signs include unsteady gait, problems
with getting up or down stairs and furniture, knuckling over of
limbs, weakness and paralysis. More commonly seen in breeds
such as Dachshunds but may be seen in Pembrokes. Treatment
varies with how severely affected the dog is; from restricted
exercise to back surgery.
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
A progressive degeneration of the nervous and supportive tissue
of the spinal cord in the lower back region which causes rear
leg lameness, weakness and eventual paralysis. Often
misdiagnosed as disk disease, probably because disk disease is
more commonly seen. DM is usually late age in onset (9 years
and older). Similar disease occurs more frequently in German
The inheritance pattern is unclear, but a familial trend has been
noticed. No cure is presently available; treatment is usually with
steroids which may improve the dog's condition temporarily. The actual
disease is not painful but leg injuries may occur due to inability to
One early sign of this disease (and disk disease) is an inability of
the dog to right its paw when knuckled over. The disease is
progressive, taking (generally) 6 months or longer to result in rear
limb paralysis with loss of bladder and bowel control. If the
degeneration spreads upward along the spinal cord, difficulty in
breathing and even death from respiratory arrest may occur.
Owners can help affected dogs by carrying them up and down steps or
building ramps, providing traction (rugs) on slick floors, and perhaps
use of a K9 Kart. Exercise may be of help in delaying progression of
the disease. It has been recommended that stricken dogs be placed on
an increasing, alternate-day exercise program which includes walking
Recurrent seizures, onset from 18 months old on. Seizure types vary.
Inheritanc e pattern uncertain but may be simple recessive.
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) with Pulmonary Hypertension
PDA is a congenital defect of the vascular system which allows a
percentage of unoxygenated blood to bypass the lungs. It is usually
detected in puppies during veterinary examination by hearing a
continuous machinery-type murmur. Pulmonary hypertension is high blood
pressure within the lungs and is a rare component of the PDA disease.
PDA can be surgically corrected; if left uncorrected the dog will
usually die of heart disease later in life. Inheritance pattern not
yet determined, but is familial in Pembrokes, humans and cattle.
Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)
Also referred to as pseudohemophilia. Due to defects in the blood
clotting system (Factor VIII). Has a range of presenting symptoms
depending on the amount of normal factor present, whether other
clotting problems are present; varies from no problem to severe
hemorrhage. Is thought to be inherited as an autosomal dominant
factor; questions abound whether low thyroid levels complicate the
Where To Get A Pembroke Welsh Corgi
We recommend that you do not buy a puppy from a pet store or an
irresponsible backyard breeder. Dogs in pet stores frequently come
from puppy mills, are not properly socialized and often their
pedigrees are incorrectly documente d (An AKC registration blue slip
is not a guarantee of that puppy's pedigree. Such paperwork relies on
the honesty and integrity of the breeder. AKC registration also should
not be misunderstood to imply that the dog is guaranteed to be free
from genetic defects or illness.) Puppy mill dogs also are more likely
to develop congenital illnesses than are those who were responsibly
bred. This is because the parents are not checked for the presence of
genetic disease before breeding. Puppies from irresponsible backyard
breeders are likely not as well vaccinated or dewormed, nor do they
come with health guarantees unlike puppies purchased from responsible
breeders. A responsible breeder is someone who allows their dogs to
grow to maturity before breeding them, had them checked for inherited
diseases before breeding, worried over mom and puppies (and
prospective owners), dewormed and vaccinated on time with quality
products, does not let the puppy leave the litter until at least 8
weeks of age, does not breed their bitch on every heat cycle and
stands behind their dogs until they die.
If you've already bought a Pembroke from a pet store, and its health
seems fine, there's probably no need to worry unduly. None of this is
to say that your dog is any less worthy of your love than one who came
from a responsible breeder! But, as a rule, pet shops are among the
worst places to get puppies. Just be glad you've given your little
love a good home.
Please note that "rescuing" a Pembroke (or any purebred puppy) from a
pet shop will only perpetuate the problem. By purchasing the dog, you
are helping to create a demand for the Pembroke in the eyes of the pet
shop owner, inevitably causing him/her to order two more from the
puppy mill for the next delivery! Dogs condemned to existence (it
really cannot qualify as life) in a puppy mill are the true victims of
the situation. Most live their lives in unhealthy, filthy conditions,
bred each heat cycle until they can no longer have puppies and then
put to sleep. We all know how difficult it is to see one of our
beloved Pems in that little crate in the window; but PLEASE resist the
temptation! Boycotting the pet shop or determining the sire and dam of
the puppy is a better solution. This information can then be passed
along to a Pembroke rescue group, who will record the information and
attempt to notify the original (non-puppy mill) breeder, if any is
Be careful of those breeders who advertise heavily in the newspaper.
These people (not all of them) may be breeding many, many litters and
fall into the irresponsible breeder category. Again, ask questions,
get a feel for what type of person you are trying to buy a puppy from.
People who desire a litter just to "make back the cost of the dog" or
"just want the children to see the miracle of birth" are unlikely to
be responsible breeders. What type of guarantee will they put into a
contract (if they even have one)?
The best way to get a purebred puppy whose origins and health you are
sure of, is to contact the national or local Pembroke Welsh Corgi club
(or local all-breed kennel club) for a breeder's directory. Inclusion
on such a list does not mean you should not ask questions of your own
about the background and health of the parents and puppies or intent
of the breeder. Preferably you should visit the breeder before the
puppies are born (because who can resist a puppy, even in a bad
kennel?). If puppies are not currently available, ask to be put on a
waiting list. Remember, breeders with reputations for producing good
dogs (pet, show, obedience, etc) often have waiting lists trying to
match the right dog with the right owner. Many people will not breed a
litter until over half the expected puppies are promised. To a
conscientious breeder, it is more important to have good homes waiting
than to have puppies needing to be placed.
Don't be afraid to ask questions! A good breeder will also have plenty
of questions for you (about your home, family, lifestyle, why you want
a Pembroke). You should feel as if you are being evaluated for
adoption of a child. This is a life-long commitment and the breeder
wants to make sure it is right for both of you.
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
_What is the difference between a Pembroke and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi?_
Until 1934, the Kennel Club (Great Britain) classed the Pembroke
and Cardigan Welsh Corgis as two varieties of one breed. Most
fanciers believe that the two breeds evolved separately, the
Pembroke from the Spitz family and the Cardigan from the Dachshund
family. The theory is plausible, with anatomical evidence to
support it, but impossible to verify or disprove. Interbreeding
between the two breeds occurred but was not widespread. With
recognition of the breeds as totally separate by the Kennel Club,
breeders gave up interbreeding and the individual integrity of both
breeds were saved.
The differences between Pems and Cardis are as notable as are the
Similarities: Erect ears; foxy head; long, low body; intelligent;
energetic; ability to herd and act as guard dog
Differences: The Pembroke is an extroversive breed, the Cardi is
friendly but may be reserved with strangers. The Pembroke's ears
are erect, firm, and of medium size, tapering slightly to a rounded
point, while the Cardigan's ears are more rounded at the tips. The
Cardigan is slightly larger and more heavily boned than the
Pembroke. The Pembroke's feet generally point straight forward,
while the Cardigan has a slightly bowed front with feet that point
outward (no more than 30 degrees). One of the obvious differences
is the tail. A Pembroke has a natural bob or docked tail and the
Cardigan has a full length tail.
_Why is the Pembroke's tail docked?_
Because the AKC and Kennel Club (Great Britain) standards require
it, along with removal of the dew claws. Contrary to what some
people think, tail docking is not a painful process for very young
puppies. The lack of a tail certainly does not detract from a
Pembroke's expressiveness. The Pem's foxy, intelligent face can be
extremely expressive, with a distinct smile when he is happy. Also,
many Pembroke fanciers find the Pem's tail-less bottom cute (aka
bunny butt, Pem's behinds wiggle when they walk and when they're
especially happy)! It remains to be seen how a new British law
against tail docking will affect the Pembroke standard in that
_Are Pembrokes good with children?_
They are excellent with responsible children. As with any dog, you
must teach your children how to treat the dog, and not allow them
to abuse or tease the dog. The Pembroke is a loving, protective and
playful companion, ideal for a family that is able to take the time
to train and play with its dog.
_Do Pembrokes bark much?_
Yes. Pems are very vocal dogs; a typical Pembroke has several
different sounds, from a low "wuff" to a loud, threatening "BARK!".
They engage in watchdog barking (such as when someone rings the
doorbell, or when they hear a suspicious noise outside) as well as
barking for its own sake. Because of their intelligence, Pems can
be trained to be quiet on command (although it's much easier to
train a Pembroke to "speak" than to "shut up"). Teaching a dog to
"speak" has been known to also train the dog to only "speak" when
_Does a Pembroke make a good watchdog?_
To some degree this depends on the individual dog. But in general,
Pembrokes are excellent watchdogs. The Pem's bark is deep and loud;
from the other side of a door he doesn't sound like a small dog.
"The Complete Pembroke Welsh Corgi" even cites a story of a little
female Pembroke protecting her family by disabling two prowlers (of
course, this was in 1954, when the bad guys probably were not
"In line with his role as a guardian, the watchful Corgi sits
beneath the baby carriage, minds the toddlers, turns tears to
smiles, and even separates sibling squabbles." (The Complete
Pembroke Welsh Corgi)
_My Pembroke made the strangest noise last night. Is it normal?_
The Pembroke's voice is nearly as expressive as his face: he
typically has several different barks, from the deep, threatening
watchdog bark to the low "wuff" when he's been told to be quiet to
the higher, frantic "arfing" when he's excited. Some Pems will also
engage in a behavior called "reverse sneezing", which sounds like
pig-snorting or an asthma attack. The dog probably will stop
quickly; or you can gently cover his nose, letting him breathe
through his mouth to stop the snorting.
_My Corgi sleeps on his/her back - all four feet in the air! Or, My
Corgi lies on his/her stomach with one or both of his back feet (pads
of his feet facing up) stuck out behind him (aka the flying squirrel
position). Or, My Corgi is allowed on the bed/sofa. When he lies at
one end, he always rests his head on a pillow or the arm rest. Is this
Yes! These are just some of the more endearing qualities of a
_My Corgi gets fed in the kitchen. However, he normally takes a
mouthful of dry food, runs into the living room (which is carpeted)
and throws the food up in the air and then proceeds to eat the pieces
one by one. Is this normal?_
Yes. We're not really sure WHY they do it. Theories abound from the
Corgi not wanting to eat alone to not being hungry enough and just
eating to please you. However, it seems that almost every Corgi
does prefer to "grab a mouthful" and trot happily to the nearest
rug to really enjoy his meal.
_I want to breed my Pembroke. How do I do about doing this?_
First, ask yourself why you want to breed the dog. There are
several WRONG reasons to breed:
1. "I love my Pem so much, I want another puppy just like him/her."
The chances of a puppy being exactly like his sire or dam in
personality, behavior or coat are not high. You're much better off
to purchase another pup from the same breeder you got your current
dog from; or to visit several breeders and choose another pup
you'll love. This option will cost you less money and much less
2. "I want to make money." This is NOT the way to do it! Remember,
many Pembrokes require veterinary assistance and often surgery to
avoid losing the dam and puppies. This is expensive. Most breeders
would be happy to just break even on a litter, let alone turn a
profit. These are people who already have the equipment, experience
and contacts for breeding a litter. Above all, profit should not be
the motivation for a responsible breeder.
3. "I want to let my female Pembroke have one litter before she is
spayed." Actually, spaying your dog before the first heat cycle is
the BEST thing you can do to ensure a healthy life. This one
surgery will greatly reduce her chances of developing breast cancer
and diabetes later in life. Your beloved Pembroke is not a small,
furry woman with a biological time clock ticking; she is a dog and
does not feel any need to experience motherhood.
4. "I've heard that spaying or neutering a dog makes it fat and
lazy." The only thing that makes a dog fat and lazy is overfeeding
and a lack of exercise. Just as with older humans, a dog's
metabolism slows down in middle age. This is likely what led to the
myth of fat spayed dogs in the first place. Spaying/neutering have
absolutely no ill effects if done correctly . Rather they have many
positive effects on the dog's behavior and health. In fact, your
dog may become a better friend after spaying/neutering.
The only acceptable reason for breeding your Pembroke is for the
good of the breed. If you are very knowledgeable about the breed,
and your Pem is an excellent representative of the breed in
temperament, appearance and health, then your dog may be a
candidate for a litter. Work with a local Pembroke club or
reputable breeder; they can help you determine if you should breed
your dog and give you a good idea of the work and responsibili ty
involved. Remember that many times expensive C- sections are
required, risking the life of your beloved Pembroke in addition to
that of the puppies. Breeding and raising a litter is a life-long
_Are there many movies with Corgis?_
Yes! The classic Pembroke movie is Disney's "Little Dog Lost". It's
not available on videotape, but is occasionally broadcast on the
For celluloid Cardigans, check out "The Accidental Tourist" (a
tricolor Cardi practically steals the show from William Hurt and
Geena Davis), "Hot Shots" or "Dave" (a few brief shots of the
fictional President's two tricolor Cardis).
If you know of other Corgi movie and TV appearances, let us know
and we'll add them to the FAQ.
_What are the possible coat colors for a Pembroke?_
Tricolor -- most of the body is black, with white markings on the
legs, chest and head and tan markings on the face and possibly
Red -- usually with white markings on the chest, head and legs.
Fawn -- a paler shade of red, also with white markings.
Sable -- a red coat with many of the hairs tipped with black. A
distinctive skullcap appearance to the face is usual.
_Are there any serious faults I should watch out for?_
Refer to the health and medical information section for possible
Monorchid/Cryptorchid -- a condition where one or both testicles
fail to descend into the scrotum. This can be a serious health
problem for the dog if the undescended testicles are not removed.
Dogs with this condition are at a high risk for testicular cancer.
These dogs should always be neutered; the one descended testicle
should also be removed.
Faults which are greatly frowned upon in the conformation ring
Fluffies (exceedingly long coats), whitlies (body color
predominantly white), mismarks (white markings in an inappropriate
area), bluies (a coat with a smokey blue or rust color). Any ear
that is not erect (button, rose, or drop). Do not expect puppy ears
to be totally erect until 3 months old. Taping puppy ears also will
help them to stand erect. Overshot or undershot bite, wry bite. An
improper bite, if bad enough, can be a health problem. Most bites
are only slightly "off" and experience no problems and make
excellent pets. Oversize/undersize - any Pembroke which is too
small or too big (see general health information).
_How will a Pembroke get along with my other pets?_
Other dogs: a Pembroke puppy will likely try to play with them.
Pembrokes have been known to play-wrestle with dogs much larger
than they are. This is fine as long as both dogs consider it play;
keep an eye on them to make sure they don't get out of hand. Use
common sense when introducing a new puppy into the house where an
older dog lives.
Cats: Again, the Pem will probably try to play with the cats. Make
sure your cats have a safe retreat with easy access for them to go
to when they get tired of being chased. Watch any interaction to
make sure it does not become too intense. Check the puppy's eyes
daily to make sure the cat does not accidentally injure them with
its claws. If you have more than one dog, monitor the action. A
"pack" response is for the pack to chase the cat and may hurt it
after catching their prey.
Small mammals: OK if kept in a cage or an adult is present and
watching. Otherwise, be forewarned that Pembrokes make good ratters
and a loose rodent may not last long.
_How long does a Pembroke typically live?_
About 11-13 years. Of course, several may live longer if kept in
_What should I expect to pay for a pet-quality Pembroke?_
The price will vary from location to location. It may also vary
depending on the amount of veterinary services already given to the
puppy. Prices will normally range from $250.00 to $500.00.
Remember, pet shops will often have the highest prices (up to
$800.00). Be prepared to pay a little more for a puppy that comes
with a guarantee from a reputable breeder; it's worth the
_What are the best toys for my puppy?_
American rawhide is a good choice (stay away from foreign import
rawhide which often is treated with chemicals). Pembrokes often
enjoy a larger rawhide than you would think. Corgi-L members have
reported problems with some other chewies, most notably cornmeal
bones (known as Booda Velvets) and cow hooves. The problem with
these products is that some dogs bite off and swallow large chunks,
which can cause intestinal blockage and other problems. Smell may
also be a problem when dealing with cow hooves. Latex toys and
nylon bones have similar problems with bits of them being gnawed
off and swallowed. Fleece toys are fine, although expensive. They
seem not to hold up to the constant damage inflicted by a Corgi.
Rope toys are good for playing fetch or tug of war, but can be torn
up if left unsupervised with the dog. One of the best toys for the
unsupervised Corgi is a small Kong toy filled with peanut butter or
small treats (freeze-dried liver, hot dog slices, carrot or cheese
pieces, small dog biscuits). This will keep your Corgi happily busy
for hours! It's a great toy to put into the crate with a dog that
licks his feet (out of boredom) when in the crate. The thing to
remember is that any toy can present a problem, it is best to have
an adult present when the dog has access to an unproven toy.
Harper, Deborah S. _The New Complete Pembroke Welsh Corgi_. Howell
Book House, 1994.
Lister-Kaye, Charles and Albin, Dickie. _The Welsh Corgi_. Popular
_An Introduction to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi_. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Club of America. 1992, 1994.
_This is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi_. Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of
Western Reserve. 1993.
_The Corgi Quarterly _Published quarterly. Many good articles with
many advertisements (photos) of Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis
throughout the United States. The Quarterly accepts advertisements
from all corgi enthusiasts. Cost is $40 per year ($44 outside the
U.S.). Back issues available . The Corgi Quarterly, 4401 Zephyr St.,
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-3299 Credit card orders call (303) 9345656 or
fax (303) 422-7000
A mailing list for both Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgi
owners/lovers is at:
Note that v = V (vee) and l = L (ell)
Subj: put anything you want
In the body of your message, type: SUBSCRIBE CORGI-L Jane Doe
Make sure to substitute YOUR first and last name for "Jane Doe."
National and Regional Breed Clubs
Regional Clubs are _listed in alphabetical order by State_. There are
other regional clubs out there which have not yet achieved recognition
by the American Kennel Club. Please note that membership in the
national club is based on years of experience and demonstrated
interest in the breed. If seriously interested in the Pembroke Welsh
Corgi you should join a regional club first.
The National (or Parent) Club for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America (PWCCA)
Corresponding Secretary: Joan Gibson Reid, 9589 Sheldon Rd.,
_Elk Grove, CA_ 95624
_PWCCA Newsletter:_ Subscriptions for non-members are $30
(domestic) and $36 (foreign, with additional charges for air
mail). _All subscriptions, address changes and orders for back
issues should be sent to the business manager_ - _Mrs. Mary
Miner, 90 Lasher Road, Ballston Spa, NY 12020_. Money orders
and checks (_payable to PWCCA Newsletter_) should be in US
funds. Editor: Sally Howe, P.O. Box 566, Campbell, CA 95009.
The newsletter contains articles on health, training, and fun
with Pembrokes in addition to regional and national specialty
show results. Many reputable breeders advertise their upcoming
litters in the newsletter.
_Note: the person listed under the name of each club is that club's
Correspon ding Secretary._ Contact the club closest to you for
information about Pembroke Welsh Corgis - puppies, older dogs needing
homes (rescues), meetings, how to join, etc.
The Southeast Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club
Linda Muglach, 95 Trails End Estates, _Leeds, AL_ 35094
Newsletter: The Southeast Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club Newsletter
Subscription is $10. Make check payable to SEPWCC and mail to:
Linda Muglach, 95 Trails End Estates, Leeds, AL 35094
Golden Gate Pembroke Welsh Corgi Fanciers
Joan M. Jensen, 2928 Franklin Street, _San Francisco, CA_ 94123
Newsletter: Corgi Tracks
Published three times per year by the Golden Gate Pembroke
Welsh Corgi Fanciers. Yearly subscription is $15 (foreign $18).
Make check payable to GGPWCF Newsletter and mail to: Terry
Tonjes, 2314 Knight Way, Sacramento, CA 95822
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of Southern California
Mrs. Betty S. Ribble, 30310 Miller Rd., _Valley Center, CA_
Newsletter: The Guardian
Published by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of Southern
California. One year subscription is $18. Make check payable to
PWCCSC and mail to: Kathy Dolge, 5381 El Carro Lane,
_Carpenteria, CA_ 93013.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Rockies
Lynn Kaemmerer, 1 Glenridge Dr, _Littleton, CO_ 80123
Newsletter: Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Rockies Newsletter
Nancy Junker, 2600 Meining Rd, Berthoud, CO 80513 and Karen
Supon, 4470 S. Celon Way, _Aurora, CO_ 80115
Mayflower Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club
Karen Martinac, 16 Paddock Rd., _Rye Brook, NY_ 10573
Newsletter: The Corgi Cryer
Published by the Mayflower PWCC. Yearly subscription is $20.
Mail check payable to The Corgi Cryer and mail to: Salley
Cooper, 222 Woodchuck, _Harwin ton, CT_ 06791 [They have won
the Dog Writers Association award for Best Dog News Magazine
for the past three years!]
Sunshine Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club (South Florida)
Cathy Dermott, 55 N.W. 209th St., _Miami, FL_ 33169
Newsletter: Central Themes
Published by the Sunshine PWCC. For information write: Bonnie
Hansen,10993 124th Ave. N, _Largo, FL_ 34648
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of Greater Atlanta, Inc.
Peggy McFarland, 1749 Lower Roswell Rd., _Marietta, GA_ 30067
Newsletter: Corgi Chatter
Published by the PWCC of Greater Atlanta. For information
write: Peggy McFarland, 1749 Lower Roswell Rd., Marietta, GA
Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club, Inc.
Fran Tucknott, 507 Falcon Ridge Way, _Bolingbrook, IL_ 60440
Newsletter: Corgi Capers
Published by the Lakeshore PWCC. Yearly subscription is $20.
Mail checks payable to Corgi Capers and mail to: Amy Andrews,
18105 Kirkshire, _Beverly Hills, MI_ 48025
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of The Garden State
Doris McGee, 126 Marsh Cr Wdsvl Rd, _Hopewell, NJ_ 08525
Newsletter: Corgi Toplines
Published by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Garden State.
Yearly subscription is $10, two years for $18. Make check
payable to PWCCGS and mail to: _[Note: Editor has changed.
Please contact Doris McGee, she will forward your subscription
or advertising requests to the new editor.]_
Gaitway Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club
Candy Kramer, 27927 Bethel Church Rd., _Paola, KS_ 66071
Newsletter: Gaitway Gab
Published by the Gaitway PWCC 3 times a year. Subscriptions are
$9. Mail check payable to Gaitway PWCC and mail to: Candy
Kramer, 27927 Bethel Church Rd., Paola, KS 66071
Ohio Valley Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club
JoAnn Ruehl, 15564 Sangamaw Rd., _Dillsboro, IN_ 47018
Published by the Ohio Valley PWCC. Subscriptions are $12. Make
check payable to Ohio Valley PWCC and mail to: JoAnn Ruehl,
15564 Sangamaw Rd., Dillsboro, IN 47018
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Western Reserve
Pat Stutzman, 170 Ravenna Rd., _Streetsboro, OH_ 44241
Newsletter: No Tall Tails
Published by the PWCC of Western Reserve. Subscriptions are
$15. Make check payable to the PWCC of Western Reserve and mail
to: Betty Delfosse/Deborah Brooks, 34681 Iris Lane, _Eastlake,
Green Country Pembroke Welsh Corgi Fanciers
Jane Walser, Rt.6, Box 891, _Tulsa, OK_ 74127
Newsletter: Green Country PWC Fanciers Newsletter
For information contact Jane Walser, Rt.6, Box 891, Tulsa, OK
Columbia River Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club
Deborah Scott, 1250 NE 52nd Ave., _Portland, OR_ 97213
Newsletter: Corgi Currents
Published by the Columbia River PWCC. Yearly subscription is
$15. Make check payable to Columbia River PWCC and mail to:
Vicki Kirsher, 339 Boone Rd. SE, _Salem, OR_ 97306
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Carolinas
Frank Adams, 1822 Woodsboro Dr., _Columbia, SC_ 29210
Newsletter: Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Carolinas
For info contact Frank Adams, 1822 Woodsboro Dr., Columbia, SC
Greater Houston Pembroke Welsh Corgi Fanciers
Sandi Weberlein, 10143 Cedar Edge Dr., _Houston, TX_ 77064
Newsletter: Corgi Chronicle
Published by the Greater Houston Pembroke Welsh Corgi Fanciers.
For information write to: Mary Ann Parker, 1915 Spillers,
Houston, TX 77043
North Texas Pembroke Welsh Corgi Fanciers
Jane Trude, 3029 Barnes Bridge Rd., _Dallas TX_ 75228
Newsletter: The Review
Published by the North Texas PWC Fanciers. Yearly subscription
is $20 per year. Make check payable to NTPWCF Review and mail
to: Willys Treanor, 1142 Elmwood Dr., _Abilene, TX_ 79605
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of The Potomac
Jayne Sutton, 6006 Larkspur Dr., _Alexandria, VA_ 22310
Newsletter: The Tide
Published by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Potomac.
Yearly subscription is $15. Make checks payable to PWCCP and
mail to: Ann Phillips, 2850 Daisy Rd., _Woodbine, MD_ 21797
Cascade Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club
Amanda Reinhardt, 6615 229th Ave. NE, _Redmond, WA_ 98053
Newsletter: The Corgi Clan Tales
Published by the Cascade PWCC. Yearly subscription is $18. Make
check payable to CPWCC and mail to: Carrie Hale, 4036 NE 57th
Street, _Seattle, WA_ 98105
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Association of Canada
Newsletter: The Corgi Courier
Published by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Association of Canada.
Yearly subscriptio n is $25. Make check payable to the Pembroke
Welsh Corgi Assoc. of Canada and mail to: Mrs. Laurie Savoil,
3000 Dean Ave., _Victoria, B.C. V8R 4YV CANADA_
Breed Rescue Organizations
A breed rescue organization is comprised of a group of devoted people
who love a particular breed of dog--in this case the Pembroke Welsh
Corgi--and are dedicated to making sure every dog has a loving home.
A person who works with animal rescue organizations help to find
loving, caring homes for displaced Pembrokes. Many times healthy,
purebred dogs are taken to the animal shelter or given up for adoption
because their owners can no longer care for them. The reasons vary
from illness, death of a family member, loss of income, new baby, to
just don't want the dog. This may be an ideal place for someone to get
a Pembroke, particularly an older dog (housebreaking isn't all it's
cracked up to be), that needs a stable home and love. Many wonderful
relationships have grown up between rescue dogs and their new owners.
Many people only get rescues now that they know about this option.
For more information on rescue dogs contact:
Ellen Childs, PWCCA Rescue Chairperson
Town Hill Rd., New Hartford, CT 06057
One of the club secretaries listed above.
All the members of Corgi-L helped to write this document in one way or
SOME members got REALLY involved and deserve special mention (and HUGE
thank yous from me!) for their efforts:
* Carol Campbell,
* Carolyn Cannon,
* Ginny Conway,
* Leslie Earl,
* Jody Gregersen,
* Kathy Harper,
* Jill Hart,
* Susan Heddleson,
* Jody Hoch,
* Leo Horishny,
* Deborah Hunt,
* Louise Law,
* Char Mano,
* Liz Myhre,
* Tricia Olson,
* Anne Peticolas,
* Julie Prince,
Cindy Tittle Moore, is the person who was (is)
responsible for getting this "baby" to the public. Thanks, Cindy!
Pembroke Welsh Corgi FAQ
Perrine Crampton, [email protected] ldnet.att.net
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