Not High, But Long: The Corgi In The Breed Portrait

The Corgi is small with huge ears and a remarkable hip swing. You can find out here why the funny guy is by no means a lap dog.

The Corgi looks funny and innocent, but it’s a sly old prick! The dog with the particularly fluffy bottom is a real working dog breed with a high level of intelligence, an idiosyncratic head, and a lively disposition.

And there are even two Corgis:

  • as a Welsh Corgi Cardigan and
  • as Welsh Corgi Pembroke.

Both Corgis now count as separate breeds. However, they share a common past and are very similar. Since the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the more well-known breed, this article will focus primarily on them. Lady Welsh Corgi Cardigan also gets some of the limelight.

Find out all the information about the appearance, character, attitude, health, and care of the little “fairy dogs” in our breed portrait.

What does a Pembroke Welsh Corgi look like?

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s appearance is primarily characterized by its short legs and large ears. Its body is compact and stocky, with a remarkably long back. Together with the short legs, the dog is therefore often reminiscent of a dachshund.

The head

The head of the small dog with big erect ears is more like a German shepherd. According to the breed standard, the snout should be fox-like.

The rod

The Pembroke Corgi’s tail is naturally rather short and is often referred to as a “stubby tail”. In many countries, the Pembroke Corgi was also often docked shortly after birth. Fortunately, docking is now banned in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

The fur

Pembroke Corgi coat colors are red, sable, fawn, auburn, and black and red. White markings on the chest, head, and legs are desirable. The coat hair is of medium length and the dog has a very dense undercoat.

The “Fairy Saddle”

Unique to some members of the breed is the so-called “fairy saddle”. This is a special marking in the fur that is reminiscent of a saddle. It shows up in the shoulder area because that’s where the density and direction of the coat change as it progresses. According to a historical legend from their native Wales, Corgis were (and still are) prized as reliable mounts by local fairies and elves. Because if a dog has such short legs, you can easily get into the saddle as an elf. A dog can’t get any more magical than that.

Size: How big is a Corgi?

The Corgi is one of the medium-sized dog breeds. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi reaches a height at the withers of between 25 and 30 cm. Females are usually the same size as males.

How heavy is a corgi?

The ideal weight of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is between 11 and 14 kilograms.

What are the differences between the Welsh Corgi Cardigan?

Basically, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan looks almost exactly like the Welsh Corgi Pembroke. He’s just one size bigger and has more color combinations in his coat. The average height at the withers is 25 to 33 cm for the cardigan. Its average weight is between 14 and 17 kg.

The coat of the cardigan is permitted in the colors red, sable, fawn, black with or without coloring, brindle or merle, always with white markings.

A big difference to the Pembroke Corgi is the tail. The Cardigan Corgi is born with a long tail, which is not docked in puppies.

How old does a corgi get?

Both dog breeds are considered to be very robust and healthy. The life expectancy of the dogs is between 13 and 16 years. With good husbandry and care as well as appropriate health, the dog with short legs can even get older.

What character or nature does the Corgi have?

The dogs look small and fluffy but have a really big character. Both the Pembroke and Cardigan Corgi is known to be confident, lively, and most importantly, intelligent.

On the list of the smartest dog breeds in the world, the little guy with the big ears misses the top ten by a hair’s breadth at number 11. At the same time, the four-legged friends have a pretty stubborn head. The nature of dogs is characterized by willfulness, independence, and courage.

Due to its past as a herding dog, the Corgi is still endowed with a strong herding and protective instinct today. Although the dogs are not considered aggressive, they must be well socialized at an early age, ideally as puppies. There is no limit to the joy of barking, and new visitors are usually loudly announced.

The dogs are very trusting, playful, and cuddly towards their family. She really wants to please her people – as long as they get enough attention.

The Story of the Corgi

The history of the breed is one thing above all: old. The tracks of the courageous dogs, especially those of inner size, can be traced back to the tenth century.

According to legend, the ancestors of the Pembroke Corgi were brought to Wales by Flemish weavers. The Cardigan Corgi, on the other hand, is said to be descended from Scandinavian herding dogs introduced to Britain by settlers. However, it is no longer possible to say whether the two breeds descended from the same ancestors and only differentiated themselves over time through different crossings.

The Corgi was a popular herding dog in Wales since the 10th century. Surprisingly, of all things, for large livestock such as cows or cattle. Due to its small size, its agility, and its courage, the dog was ideally suited to running around between the cows and avoiding the kicking hooves. If a cow was stubborn, the four-legged friend gave a cheeky nip on the calf. This “calf biting” is still deeply anchored in the dogs’ blood.

With the transition from livestock to sheep in the 19th century, the Corgi gradually became unemployed. Instead of being used as a herding dog, he was bred more and more purely as a domestic dog, preferred by the English aristocracy.

After the two world wars, a renaissance began for the Pembroke Corgi in England, which was particularly reinforced by Queen Elizabeth II. The monarch is an outspoken lover of the breed and has raised over 30 corgis in her palace since taking office.

Despite its very prominent owner, the Pembroke Corgi is rather rare in England these days. In 2014, the dogs were even considered an “endangered breed.” Fortunately, the population has now stabilized again and the four-legged friend can continue to delight us, the queen and the elves.

Corgi: The right attitude and training

Corgis are beautiful dogs with demanding personalities. Their centuries-old history as herding dogs is deeply rooted in their nature. Anyone who is prepared to bring a sweet, easy-care, and undemanding lap dog into the house with a Corgi is making a big mistake.

As with all other dog breeds, the same applies here: consistent training right from the start is essential. This also includes socialization. Because as a herding dog that has always enthusiastically “nibbled” on cows, the Corgi today does not always distinguish between cows and humans. If his instinct gets the better of him, the human doesn’t stop the behavior and doesn’t offer any sensible alternatives, the dog will happily pinch the calves of people who run away if it’s not trained and socialized. After all, the “calf biter” wants to keep his herd together…

Since Corgi is so keen to please its people, a lot of praise and recognition is important. If the short-legged companion notices that he no longer gets any praise for certain tasks, he loses motivation very quickly. The dog prefers to do its own thing.

Like all herding dogs, the Corgi also needs a lot of exercise and activity. You can hardly look at his little legs, but the dog is a real sports enthusiast. He can easily keep up with jogging, cycling, or hiking. In addition, activities such as dog school, dog sports, agility, or obedience training are highly recommended. But be careful: the corgi’s physique is primarily made for agility and speed. In the interest of health, the small dogs should not jump a lot.

What care does the Corgi need?

Caring for the Corgi is quite simple. His short coat should be brushed through at least once a week. The Pembroke Corgi sheds twice a year, so you brush it more often. For species-appropriate care, regularly check vulnerable parts of the body such as the ears, snout, and abdomen for parasites such as ticks or mites.

Nutrition is also part of comprehensive care of the coat and health. The royal waltz is a small vacuum cleaner and loves food more than anything. He has, among other things in common with the Labrador. The dog, therefore, tends to be overweight, which is why you should always keep an eye on your four-legged friend’s diet.

What typical diseases does the Corgi have?

The Pembroke Corgi is one of the healthy and hardy dog breeds. Genetic hereditary diseases can occur in dogs but are rare thanks to strict controls in breeding. These include:

  • Monarchy (unilateral absence of the testicle)
  • Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joint)
  • degenerative myelopathy (damage to the spinal cord)
  • Von Willebrand syndrome (blood clotting disorder)
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (death of the retina)

How much does a corgi cost?

The Corgi is almost like a well-kept treasure because there are not many breeders in Germany. If you are interested in such a piece of gold, it is best to have a look at the website of the British Shepherd Dog Club CFBRH. Both Pembroke Corgi and Cardigan Corgi breeders are listed here. Alternatively, you can use the breeder search of the VDH (Verband für das deutsche Hundewesen e. V.). The prices for a puppy vary between 1,500 and 3,000 euros or more.

Or you can go straight to the animal shelter and see if there is a happy corgi (or other poor souls) looking for a new home. If you have a large garden, a lot of time, patience, and love, and are just as fascinated by fairies and elves as the corgi, you are guaranteed to be a perfect couple!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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