With its diminutive stature and lively personality, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a very popular breed. Beloved of Queen Elizabeth II, who owns several, the PWC has a unique appearance, similar only to its cousin the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Although only recognised as separate breeds in the 1930s, many experts believe that the two corgi strains developed separately in Wales many centuries ago and were used for herding cattle. The PWC is therefore classed as a Pastoral breed.
The PWC has a long back and short legs, lying low to the ground. It has a strong active body as befits its heritage as a cattle herder, and is also extremely agile, perhaps so it could escape being kicked by the cows as it worked. Its head is similar to a fox, with pointed nose and broad flat skull, and with warm brown eyes and jaunty pricked ears. Its legs should be straight and angled at 90 degrees to its body, with elbows tucking in well to its sides. Its chest is deep, protruding down between the forelegs, and it has sturdy hindquarters to match. Sometimes, the PWS is born with a short tail, but although docking was once common, this practice is now forbidden in much of Europe.
The PWC has a thick, dense coat which resists the water very effectively. It sheds readily, but twice a year the shedding is particularly noticeable, and the dog should be groomed daily to keep the coat in good condition and help remove loose hair. Some owners also find regular bathing at these times helps manage the shedding. The PWC has beautiful colours and markings, with four possible colours: Red, Sable, Fawn and Black and Tan. Sometimes it also has a "saddle" marking, whimsically said to have originated from its role as a dog for fairies to ride.
Perhaps because of its role as a cattle herder, the PWC is renowned for being lively and active. But this also means it sometimes needs firm handling, as it can be inclined to follow its instinct and nip at the heels, especially those of children. However, as this breed is highly intelligent, it can be trained not to do this if the habit is tackled early. The PWC can occasionally be difficult to house-train, in which case crate training is recommended as an alternative. The PWC also has a loud bark for its size, which it uses very readily. This makes it a superb guard dog, but the situation may need managing if it barks excessively.
General care and welfare
The PWC is bred from working stock, and so it needs plenty of regular exercise to keep it happy and healthy. A minimum of an hour a day is recommended. Corgis can sometimes tend to overeat, so owners should keep a close eye on their weight, ensuring that their diet is carefully monitored and that they are active enough to maintain their condition. Regular grooming, especially at times of increased shedding, is essential, and it may also need bathing regularly as it is inclined to get wet and muddy when out walking.
The PWC's unique physique can make it susceptible to back problems, and it can also suffer with glaucoma and PRA. There are no specific inherited conditions known to affect the PWC, but as with all dogs, there are a number of general problems which can arise. Owners should check their dog weekly and an annual vet check is also advisable so that problems can be identified and treated promptly.