Destin Benoit
Your guide to this review today is by pet expert Destin Benoit
Published March 26, 2021

A charming dog breed, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has the stereotypical corgi look that we all recognize from dog pictures and videos across the internet.

Not to be confused with the Cardigan Welsh Corgi dog breed, which shares a very similar look. Both Welsh Corgi dog breeds are often mistaken for each other, but there are a few telltale ways to decipher which is which.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything from standard corgi FAQs to the history of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. And yes, we’ll also give you a few pointers to stop you from mixing up the two Welsh corgi breeds.

Welsh Corgi Pembroke Puppy

Breed Overview

Dog Breed GroupHeightWeightLife Expectancy
Herding Group (includes dogs such as Sheepdogs, the Border Collie, and Shepherd dogs, among others).10 to 12 inchesMale average: up to 30lbs
Female average: up to 28lbs
12 to 13 years

In the table above, you’ll note that the average weight of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi should be no more than 30 pounds. A height 10 to 12 inches tall is ideal for Corgis.

Having a dog of this breed that is over 30 pounds, but of the average height, would mean that your pup is overweight and you should seek assistance from your vet to ensure that you can make the proper changes to their diet.

It’s not unheard of to have Corgis that are over 12 inches in height.

History of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s ancestors were a line of northern spitz breed dogs, typically used as working dogs of various kinds.

Corgis, themselves, still fall under the working dog category – as herding dogs.

This particular Corgi has its origins in Pembrokeshire in Wales, hence the name of the breed. The ancestors of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and perhaps the exact breed, themselves, can be dated back to 1107 CE (Common Era).

It is said that the dogs were brought with Flemish weaves as they traveled to Wales to take up residence there. There is, interestingly enough, a story that goes along with this tale – one that we will briefly tell below:

Two children were running through a forest and came upon a fairy’s funeral. The fairies in attendance gave the children a Corgi puppy each and allowed the children to take them home. It was upon taking them home that the breed gained their popularity.

Another fable says that Corgi dogs were used in the same way that humans would use war horses. Fae would ride them into battle! As humans began to know the breed, they used them as herding dogs due to their size and capability.

Corgi were originally bred to be a cattle herding dog breed. They belong to the Herding group of dogs. They still retain their herding instinct today, even if many of them aren’t employed as working dogs anymore.

A Welsh Corgi Pembroke dog stands on a pin in the middle of the forest, illuminated by a ray of incident light

The Show Dog Life

It was 1925 when both the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi appear at The Kennel Club in Britain together to compete in dog shows. That same year, the Corgi Club was created. Local members of the Corgi Club were said to favor Pembroke Welsh Corgis over the Cardigan Welsh Corgi breed.

The Kennel Club officially recognized Welsh Corgis in 1928, but they were put in the same category, under the same heading (despite them being separate breeds of Welsh Corgi). It wasn’t until 1934 that they each got their own group to thrive in during dog shows and were recognized as separate breeds.

Though Pembroke Welsh Corgis are still popular in the United States, they were, until recently, labelled as a very vulnerable breed in the U.K.

In 2007, the UK banned tail-docking, and the number of Welsh Corgi breeders in the country has also fallen. Both of these factors has influenced the steady decline of Welsh Corgis in the United Kingdom. Not that is really a bad thing, because tail-docking is an abhorrent practice and breeding should be left to professional breeders who dedicate their lives and careers to the care of the dogs that they breed.

However, as a breed that is native to the U.K. through its links to Wales, it is concerning to see the number of Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppies fall. At the end of 2017, there were just 456 Corgi puppies registered with The Kennel Club.

More recently, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi appeared on the popular United States television series Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This Pembroke Welsh Corgi is known as Cheddar and belongs to two of the show’s repeat characters – Captain Raymond Holt and Kevin Cozner.

Cheddar is shown to be extremely intelligent, understanding several verbal commands, and carrying out various tasks that are asked of him. His first appearance is in an episode that is named after him, and he appears in nine episodes in total.

Another television series that has renewed the love of Pembroke Welsh Corgis is the Netflix series The Crown.

It is said that The Crown has had a direct hand in helping save Corgis from extinction after they were added to The Kennel Club’s “At-risk” list in 2009.

Though it’s possible that some of the decline of the breed falls on the idea that only the rich and/or elderly would have Corgis as a pet, the showing of a young Elizabeth the Second with her beloved pup has helped rekindle the popularity of the breed.

Within two months of the release of The Crown, The Kennel Club saw enough interest in the breed that they were able to take them off of the endangered list completely.

That just goes to show the power of popular and entertaining media. Showing Corgis in a positive light has enabled interested in the breed to grow again, and potentially saved it from extinction.

America, like the UK, also has its own set of American Kennel Club organizations. Each American Kennel Club sets out with similar goals. There exists an American Kennel Club for each breed of Welsh Corgi – the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America.

Each American Kennel Club ensures that the breed standard of each of the Welsh Corgi breeds is met. They encourage their members to only accept that breed standard as the one they should expect when viewing one of the Welsh Corgi breeds.

The Royal Corgis

Queen Elizabeth is well-known for her love of Corgis or Dorgis (Dachshund and Corgi crossbreed). She’s owned one or the other since she was 18 years old, and has adopted more into her life in the year 2021.

The Royal Corgis, as they are often dubbed, even have their own Wikipedia page because they’re such a staple to British Royal history.

Since Queen Elizabeth the Second became Queen of the Commonwealth in 1952, she has been the mother to over 30 Corgis (or Corgi crossbreeds, but mostly standard Corgis). During her long rule, she has typically owned at least one Corgi dog at any given time.

Queen Elizabeth has also owned other breeds of dog, including Cocker Spaniels. Her Majesty seems to prefer low set pups with short legs, that tend to have a slightly longer body length. All of the dog breeds she has owned are known for being extremely friendly and trainable.

Queen Elizabeth the First was just as smitten with her own Corgis. They had their own regimen in the Royal household, and each had to have its own wicker basket so that they could avoid drafts while resting.

Needless to say, the Royal Corgis have been immortalized by numerous paintings and photographs over the years. They will live on far beyond the life expectancy of any non-Royal Corgi dog.

welsh corgi pembroke dog morning sunrise

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Dog Breed Appearance

For a medium-sized Corgi that is between 10 and 12 inches in height, you should expect that a male Pembroke Welsh Corgi is around 27 pounds, while a female is 25 pounds.

There’s a little bit of leeway for weight, but for Pembroke Welsh Corgis, this weight to height ratio would be ideal.

For smaller or larger Corgis, consult your veterinarian to ensure that your Corgi dog is fit and well, and that you have the proper pet care information.

The typical male Pembroke Welsh Corgi showcases power in a small body. Though they may seem like a lap dog or a couch potato, the Corgi was bred to be a working dog, and that still shows today.

Male Pembroke Welsh Corgis are well-built, with lots of muscle, despite their smaller stature. You can expect your Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog to be fast, agile, and stronger than you might expect them to be.

The same can be said for the females of the breed, though they naturally run a little smaller and a few pounds lighter than their male counterpart. They are just as intelligent and powerful!

Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be found with a fur coat in the following colors: Fawn, red, sable, black and tan. In any of these coat colors, your Pembroke Welsh Corgi may or may not have white markings on their coat.

Having white markings is not a prerequisit for a Pembroke to be a Pembroke Welsh Corgi or not. Both Pembrokes and Cardigans are known for having white markings, so you won’t be able to tell them apart just by looking at their coat.

The American Kennel Club notes that the breed standard of a Pembroke Corgi dog includes all shades of red, sable, fawn, black and tan. These may include white markings, which are acceptable on the dog’s legs, chest, neck, muzzle, underbelly, or as a narrow line on the dog’s head (noted as a “narrow blaze” of white).

For dog shows, the following colors and markings are seen as faults: A white coat with red or dark markings, a blue or smoky cast of the dog’s coat, white on the back between the withers and the tail, or white on the sides between the elbows and the back of the dog’s hindquarters, as well as any white markings on the ears. In addition, any black coat with no tan present, where there are white markings, is also a fault.

The coat of a Pembroke dog should be of medium length, with a weather resistant undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat.

A serious fault in the breed standard would be if the coat was of an extreme length and had exaggerated feathering on the ears, chest, legs, feet, underparts, and hindquarters of the dog.

The tail of a Pembroke, in America, should be docked as short as possible without being indented, though a tail of up to two inches in length is allowed. As tail docking has been banned in the UK’s own Kennel Club, the breed standard for Pembroke tails is as follows:

“Undocked, set in line with the topline. Natural carriage, which may be above or below topline when dog is moving or alert. Natural bobtails may occur, and can be carried above or below topline when dog is moving or alert.”

Until recently, tail docking was allowed in the UK Kennel Club as it is still allowed in the American Kennel club. Rarely is it mentioned that tail docking can have far-reaching health issues for the afflicted dog, including a risk of fecal incontinence, urinary incontinence, and hernias. Tail docking is considered a cosmetic procedure, and is unnecessary.

How to tell Welsh Corgis Apart

Because a Pembroke dog has become such a recognizable breed, people often come across a dwarf dog that has a long body and short legs and immediately think it’s a Pembroke or a Pembroke dog cross.

The reality is that there are plenty of long-body, short-leg dogs out there. Sadly, for Cardigan Welsh Corgis, they often get mistaken for their other Welsh cousin.

Interestingly enough, Cardigan Welsh Corgis have been around approximately two thousand years longer than Pembrokes have.

Physically, the two breeds of dog are dwarf breeds that have large heads, short legs, and long bodies. They share a lot of characteristics, but they are two separate breeds of dog.

Both breeds have upright ears, but a Cardigan dog has slightly larger and more rounded ears than Pembrokes do.

Cardigan breeds also have a long tail, which is described as fox-like. Pembrokes, as we know, have shorter tails which may or may not be docked (depending on the owner and the country the dog resides in).

Of the two breeds, Cardigan dogs are heavier. The male Cardigan can weigh up to 38 pounds.

Pembrokes have a more rectangular look to them, thanks to the structure of their squared-off hindquarters. Cardigan dogs have a sloping rear, which gives them a curvier appearance.

Cardigan pups also have more coat colors than Pembrokes. A Cardigan Corgi could have a number of different colored markings (brindle, tan, or white), while true Pembrokes are only acceptable with white markings. Cardigan Corgis can also have a blue toned coat, while that is seen as an error in Pembrokes.

In our opinion, the long tail and sloping hindquarters are the easiest ways to quickly identify a Cardigan Welsh Corgi at first glance.

Two welsh corgi pembroke dogs laying under the dining table with Christmas tree behind

Interesting Facts about Pembroke Welsh Corgis

  • Pembrokes are great competitors! They are extremely intelligent and are enthusiastic about hard work. You won’t realize how fast your dog is until he goes shooting across a field during playtime.
  • Many Pembrokes compete in dog shows across the world. They love being involved in dog sports and they have the brain for commands and in-depth agility training. Your dog will be perfect for herding, obedience, agility, and conformation categories in competitions.
  • Legend points towards the shoulders of Pembrokes and takes note of the way it almost looks like there is a built-in saddle over the breed. This saddle was used as a seat for fae when they employed Pembrokes to pull fairy coaches or serve as a war horse for warrior fae.
  • Pembrokes, like other Corgis, were bred to be working dogs that could herd animals and guard farms. They are the perfect companion if you want a sweet dog, but they’re also incredibly fast and can easily keep up with other animals and humans around them.
  • With good dog health, your Pembroke dog could reach up to 25 mph when running.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Temperament

Pembroke dogs have wonderful temperaments that make them suitable for families as well as farm life. These adaptable dogs will fit in just about anywhere.

The two breeds of Welsh Corgi are both high-energy dogs. They’re always raring to go because they were bred to be an extra set of eyes on farmland and assist their humans with looking after other animals on the farm.

When they’re younger, your dog will always be begging for your attention and a game to play with you. It’s crucial that you and your family have the time to be your dog’s playmate. Pembroke dogs are very sociable, especially when they’re younger.

If you don’t have the time or energy to commit to the energy levels of a younger Corgi dog, we recommend adopting one that’s a little older and has settled into their personality.

To keep your Pembroke entertained, think about their origins and what they’re known for today. These energetic pups are so very intelligent and athletic. You could easily set up an obstacle course for them that your children could be involved with. Alternatively, take your dog to a local park and let them have fun with other dogs. Remember to bring a ball or three!

Younger Welsh Corgis are more playful and demanding. They have seemingly endless energy and don’t know what to do with it. This will fade somewhat as they get older, but it’s only really a senior Corgi that will be a lap dog more often than not.

Both breeds of Welsh Corgi are very friendly. Interestingly enough, a Corgi can be marked down for shyness during Kennel Club shows because they aren’t typically a shy kind of dog! However, they can be a little unsocial towards dogs they don’t know.

Dogs who spent more time with other dogs when they were puppies are more likely to have better canine social skills. Socialization is an important part of training any dog.

Pembroke dogs are extremely affectionate towards their family members. Dogs raised in a home with people around will easily bond with the humans they live with.

In addition, they’re great with children. That said, babies and toddlers shouldn’t ever be left along with a dog in the room because you just don’t know what will happen. Corgis have great temperaments, but it’s best to be in the room when your younger children and pups are playing. They love cuddles!

Corgis are also pretty good with strangers, which is great because you’ll be going out with your dog often.

Of the two breeds of Welsh Corgi, the Cardigan has slightly better intelligence than the Pembroke dog. According to the American Kennel Club, the Cardigan has almost human intelligence.

Tricolor Pembroke Welsh Corgi Leaping Over a Jump at a Dog Agility Trial

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Care

Training

Owners rejoice, your dog is an agreeable type and will happily let you train them!

Pembroke dogs are one of the best dogs to train, even as a puppy. They have a mind of their own and might wander off if you don’t keep their focus on you, but overall, they are a pleasure to teach new things.

Pembrokes respond well to training, they’re very energetic, and they’re willing to learn.

We would recommend exposing your puppy to a variety of places, people, and situations from when they can leave their mother to about four months old. By exposing them to different things at a young age, you can help them become a well-adjusted dog with good sociability.

Obedience training wouldn’t go amiss, either. Corgis are notoriously good at picking up new skills. You can try teaching them at home, but there’s always skill and obedience dog classes that you can take them to.

In terms of potty training, Pembrokes are no harder to train than any other dog. With a Corgi’s intelligence, you may even find that they pick up potty training faster than other dogs you’ve had in the past.

Feeding

Owners should be feeding their pup a high quality dog food that is approved by their vet. A good average should be around three quarters to one and a half cups of food each day, which is spilt into two main meals.

However, some Corgis will eat as little as half a cup of food each day. If you’re unsure, follow the directions on the packaging of the food brand you’re using and adjust if you find it’s too much for your dog. Ask your vet for advice.

Your dog should be drinking approximately one fluid ounce of water per pound of body weight every day, too.

funny portrait of cute corgi dog outdoors in summer fields

Grooming

Never shave a dog with a double coat. Your Corgi will be fine if you give them a quick once-over with a comb and slicker brush each day. Your corgi will shed a lot, and during shedding season your Corgi will shed more often, but regular grooming should help with the excess fur.

During shedding season, you should endeavor to bathe your Corgi more often to help loosen dead hairs. Outside of this time, only bathe your Corgi once each month. Otherwise, you could dry out their skin.

Health

Though the Pembroke is usually healthy if they are purebred and come from a knowledgeable breeder, there are exceptions for poorly bred Corgis.

In particular, these kinds of Pembrokes have been known to have hip dysplasia, cataracts, cutaneous asthenia, and a few other health conditions.

One of the more serious health conditions is degenerative myelopathy. This causes leg lameness, which leads to paralysis.

Some Pembrokes have also had epilepsy, intervertebral disk disease, and eye diseases (like progressive retinal atrophy).

The life span of a Corgi is 12 to 13 years.

Exercising

Pembroke dogs will require moderate amounts of exercise each day to keep them in good health. They are not, however, considered high-maintenance dogs. They need a lot of playtime when they’re younger, but don’t need any expensive grooming or behavior classes to thrive.

Adopt Don’t Shop (Rescue Groups)

There are more than 450 American Kennel Club Rescue Network groups across the U.S. If you’re looking to adopt, we believe you would be best served by contacting the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America (PWCCA) first.

This wonderful organization has their own newsletter, and a completely up-to-date website full of a wealth of information about Pembroke pups.

They have a huge list of rescues on their website that are all affiliated with PWCCA, and encourage you to contact your local rescue committee to review a pre-adoption application and get the process started.

There are rescues all over America, from Missouri to North and South Carolina, and further afield than that, too!

Should I Adopt a Corgi?

Like the PWCCA say, if you think you have the room, the time, and the love to give, there’s no reason you shouldn’t adopt a Corgi from a rescue. Rescuing a dog means giving them a second (or third or fourth) chance at a home. Your home could be their forever home.

Reputable Breeders

Again, we direct you to the PWCCA, where they have a list of reputable breeders that have registered with them.

How do you pick out a Corgi puppy?

Visit any potential puppies with an open heart and an open mind. Make sure you only go to a reputable and registered breeder for your safety. Always ask for health checks and documentation.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Price

The average price is anywhere from $1000 to $2000 USD for a Pembroke puppy.

Portrait of Pembroke Welsh Corgi sitting on the wooden stair.

FAQ’s:

Q: Are Corgis good family dogs?

A: Corgis have great temperaments and are known for being energetic. They love cuddles, and are the perfect dog to have around lively children. A Corgi will grow with your family; from a playful pup to a senior dog that prefers to bathe in the sun and lay on laps.

Q: Are Corgis aggressive?

A: No, Corgis are not naturally aggressive breeds. In the event that your Corgi is showing aggressive traits, you may want to consider their environment and the recent changes in it. Corgis will not react well to strange humans or strange dogs that they don’t know.

Q: Should I get a male or female Corgi?

A: Male Corgi dogs are better if you want a lap dog as they grow older, while female Corgis are better for families that have young children. This is because the female Corgi will act as a protector in the case that they believe the children to be in danger.

Q: Where does the Corgi rank?

A: The Corgi ranks fairly high within America’s own rankings! The Welsh Pembroke Corgi ranks at number 11 on the popularity list of the American Kennel Club’s most popular breeds from 2020, while its cousin – the Welsh Cardigan Corgi breed – ranks down at number 66.

Q: Do Corgis smell?

A: There’s a misconception that Corgis do smell quite bad, but this isn’t the truth. There are plenty of other breeds that smell worse, and Corgis are very good at keeping themselves clean. The smell on a Corgi comes from its surroundings because they don’t need to bathe as often.

Provided the surroundings of your pup are relatively clean, your Corgi shouldn’t smell worse than any other dog.

Destin Benoit
A former Special Forces Canine Handler, Destin Benoit has extensive knowledge and experience with military canine training. He has worked with multiple military dogs in the most stressful places and situations in the world. Currently, Destin is a SOC Canine Handler, aiding in the protection of the US diplomats abroad.

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