The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is classified by the American Kennel Club as a member of the Herding Group. The breed's ancestors arrived in Wales perhaps as early as the ninth century and developed there as a farm dog, used primarily to herd cattle. Although the herding instinct remains, present day corgis have expanded their horizons and their purpose far beyond the Welsh farm and its cattle. Residing now around the globe, Corgis are active as companions, show dogs, obedience, tracking and agility dogs, therapy dogs and dogs for the hearing impaired, and, of course, herding dogs. Some have even been trained as gun dogs and for protection work.
Corgis are bright, intelligent, sturdy and adaptable, as easily capable of playing ball on twenty acres as snoozing on the couch in an apartment, both of which they can do for hours at a time. They are also alert watchdogs, and natural clowns. In the American Kennel Club's Complete Dog Book, the introduction to the official standard of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi states that "The Pembroke is one of the most agreeable of small house dogs. It has an affectionate nature, but does not force its attentions upon those unwilling to accept them. Its intelligence is undoubted, and it is a remarkably alert, ever vigilant guard of the the fireside." The official standard describes the Pembroke's general appearance as "low set, strong, sturdily built and active, giving an impression of substance and stamina in a small space." They have a weather resistant, "wash and wear" coat which requires little maintenance, but do shed (usually twice a year). Acceptable colors are red, sable, fawn, black and tan with or without white markings.
The information provided below assumes that you will be buying your puppy from a breeder of Pembroke Welsh Corgis. As a breed club devoted to the welfare of the breed, we of course recommend it. What are some of the advantages? Breeders are very familiar with the characteristics and personality of the breed. Visiting a breeder allows you to see Corgis at home and at play and to see first hand how your Corgi was raised. A breeder serves as a continuing source of information when you have questions about training, grooming, feeding, etc.. For information on breeders in your area, please contact the club's recording secretary.
If you decided that a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the dog for you, keep in mind what your needs are and how much time you have to spend. Raising a young puppy is a lot of fun but also requires a big commitment in terms of time and training, etc. Older puppies who are past the housebreaking and teething stages, or adults who have "retired" from the show ring also are sometimes available. Puppies are usually sold as pets or show prospects; the latter require an additional time commitment in order to train the puppy for the show ring and keep it in show condition. Ask the breeder to help you decide on the best Corgi for you. When buying any Corgi, whether puppy or adult, you should receive a record of vaccinations and other medical treatment, if any, a pedigree, which serves as your Corgi's "family tree," and an American Kennel Club registration form (unless, however, certain conditions were imposed when you bought your Corgi. e.g., that it be spayed or neutered, in which case registration papers usually will not be provided until the conditions are met). The breeder also should provide you with suggestions on feeding, grooming, and training. It is in your best interest to follow these suggestions - the breeder is speaking from experience and has devoted a great deal of time, effort and thought on what it take to produce a happy healthy Corgi.
The wonderful qualities that attract people to Pembroke Welsh Corgis also can be their downfall! Although intelligent, Corgis can easily come bored and their mischievous side may surface. As with any breed, Corgis should be taught manners and rules to make them better companions and guests. Remember that (1) YOU are the boss and (2) those naughty but adorable things your puppy is getting away with now will be a lot less adorable a year from now. Set limits and stick to them! Training (housebreaking and manners) can begin as soon as your Corgi is familiar with his or her new home and should be well under way by the time your puppy is six months old. There are many obedience clubs offering classes in the "basics" (walk on lead, sit, down, come and stay) - ask your breeder about information on a club in your area. Many breeders will recommend a crate for your Corgi. When used properly, it can be an essential training and housebreaking tool and can serve as a bed. Since dogs are cave or lair dwellers by nature (and Corgis do love to go in and under things), the crate also represents safety and security, especially when traveling by car.