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Corgi Facts

Origin: Wales
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Breed Group: Herding
Coat Type: Double coat with a dense undercoat
Coat Colours: Red, sable, fawn, black and tan
Temperament: Intelligent, Energetic, Alert
Height: 25-30 cm (10-12 inches)
Weight: 10-14 kg (22-31 lbs)

Introduction

The Corgi, a diminutive purebred canine, is a versatile farm dog and the smallest within the herding dog category. This breed comprises two distinct varieties, each named after the Welsh counties of their origin. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, hailing from Pembrokeshire, boasts a tailless appearance, while the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, linked to Cardiganshire, sports a long, fluffy tail. Although this breed’s origins trace back to Wales in the United Kingdom, it has gained immense popularity across the globe, including in Ireland.

Both Corgi breeds share similar features such as erect ears and fox-shaped heads. However, the more widely recognized of the two is the Pembroke. These dogs have a natural affinity for children, though they may display herding tendencies by gently nipping at heels.

Despite their small stature and large ears, Corgis can adapt to apartment living if their owners manage their barking tendencies and provide ample outdoor exercise. These dogs have an inherent inclination to bark, a trait rooted in their herding history, and will vocalize when excited, alerted, or during play. Size and appearance vary, influenced by the characteristics of their parentage.

A Brief History

The Corgi breed is traditionally divided into two main types: the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Their roots stretch back over a thousand years. Legend has it that these small herding dogs were gifts from woodland fairies, with the distinctive markings on their coats representing fairy saddles. Though they’re primarily known for their herding abilities, their charming demeanour and intelligence have made them favourites among royals, most notably Queen Elizabeth II.

Differences in Corgi Origins

Although the Pembroke and Cardigan are both Welsh breeds, their origins differ remarkably. The Pembroke lacks a tail in the US and has a lineage from the Spitz breeds, showcasing features such as a thicker coat, more pointed ears, and a fox-like face.

On the other hand, the Cardigan has a more hound-like appearance, with larger size and rounded ears. The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that the Cardigan Welsh Corgi was introduced to Cardiganshire by the Celts in 1200 BC, bearing similarities to the Bronant, a relative of the Dachshund.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s ancestors are attributed to Flemish weavers who arrived in Pembrokeshire in the 10th or 11th century AD. Another theory suggests that the Pembroke resulted from the interbreeding between Swedish Vallhunds brought by Viking raiders and native dogs. The Corgi’s history is believed to span over 1,000 years, potentially 3,000 for the Cardigan. Welsh legends associate Pembrokes with fairies and elves.

The Farmer’s Right-Hand Man

The term ‘Corgi’ has Welsh origins with “Cor” possibly meaning dwarf or to watch over, and “ci/gi” translating to dog. Corgis were invaluable in past farming practices, given their agility and herding skills, especially during the Enclosure Acts of the 17th century. The Corgi’s working style primarily focuses on droving, which entails driving the herd from the rear and sides. The breed has been acclaimed for guarding farmyards and herding cattle, making them indispensable for farmers.

Development of the Breeds

The initial conformation dog show in 1859 did not feature Corgis until 1925. Both the Pembroke and Cardigan were initially interbred and shown together, causing dissatisfaction among exhibitors. The UK Kennel Club recognized them as two distinct breeds in 1934. The first Pembrokes in America, Little Madam and Captain William Lewis, were introduced in 1934, with Little Madam becoming the first American Champion Corgi Bitch in 1935. Despite evolving roles over the years, Corgis remain true to their original traits, demonstrating remarkable loyalty and determination.

The Corgi: Did You Know?

  • Corgis are skilled herding dogs, capable of herding geese.
  • They belong to the Spitz family and share a close relationship with Siberian Huskies.
  • The word “Corgi” is Welsh for “dwarf dog.”
  • In the UK, Corgis are considered a “vulnerable” breed, with a minimum registration requirement of 300 dogs to avoid this status.
  • The Pembroke Corgi is often referred to as the “Fairy Dog of Wales” due to a legend associating them with fairies and elves.
  • Corgis are the smallest among the American Kennel Club’s herding group classification.
  • Some Corgis are used as service dogs for the hearing impaired.
  • Notable individuals who have owned Corgis include French President Charles de Gaulle, Queen Elizabeth II (who has owned over 30 Corgis during her lifetime), Jerry Brown (Governor of California), the Shah of Persia Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, and former Governor General of New Zealand Sir Paul Reeves.

Corgi Puppies

Welcoming a Corgi puppy into one’s home is akin to inviting a bundle of joy and energy. Their playful nature and insatiable curiosity make them delightful companions from a young age. For potential pet owners in Ireland seeking a spirited and friendly canine buddy, Corgi puppies are a top choice. Proper training and early socialization are crucial for these puppies to grow into well-behaved adult dogs.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is arguably the more renowned of the two breeds. These Corgis are identified by their shorter tails and slightly smaller build. They’re also more commonly seen in popular culture, notably as the favourite breed of the British Royal Family. Pembrokes are vivacious, intelligent, and loyal, making them superb companions both in a pastoral setting and a bustling Irish city apartment.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, distinguished by its longer tail and slightly larger build, boasts a rich history of working alongside Welsh farmers. These Corgis possess a robust constitution and are known for their keen intelligence and affectionate nature. Their slightly larger size and different lineage mean that they have distinct care and training needs compared to their Pembroke cousins.

Differences between Pembrokes and Cardigans:

  1. Temperament:
    • Pembrokes are known for their spirited and outgoing personalities, making them quite lively.
    • On the other hand, Cardigans often possess a more reserved and laid-back demeanour.
  2. Size and Build:
    • Pembrokes are generally on the smaller side.
    • In contrast, Cardigans have a slightly larger stature, characterized by heavier bones and elongated bodies.
  3. Tails:
    • In the US, Pembrokes often have their tails docked.
    • However, because tail docking for pet dogs is illegal in the UK and Europe, Pembrokes in these regions usually sport tails, except for the rare ones born with natural bobtails.
    • Cardigans boast a distinctive fox-like tail.
  4. Facial Features:
    • Pembrokes have more pointed features, especially in their ears and noses, giving them a resemblance to foxes.
  5. Ears:
    • While Pembrokes have the aforementioned pointed ears, Cardigans display longer and more rounded ears.
  6. Eyes:
    • Both breeds share the trait of black eye rims.
    • However, the eyes of Cardigan Blue Merles can range from pale blue to blue, and some might even have blue-flecked eyes.
  7. Front Feet:
    • Pembrokes have straight front feet.
    • In contrast, Cardigans’ front feet turn outwards.
  8. Colouration:
    • Pembrokes can come in a variety of shades, including Red, Sable, Fawn, and Black and Tan.
    • Cardigans offer a broader colour spectrum, with Blue Merle, Brindle, Tricolour with Brindle, and Tricolour with Red all being acceptable.

Size and Weight

Corgis might be short, but they’re sturdily built. On average:

  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi:
    • Height: 25-30 cm (10-12 inches)
    • Weight: 10-13 kg (22-30 lbs)
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi:
    • Height: 30-33 cm (12-13 inches)
    • Weight: 13-17 kg (29-38 lbs)

Despite their small stature, Corgis have a robust build. Prospective owners should be prepared to provide regular exercise to prevent weight-related health issues.

Coat & Colours

Both Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis have a double coat that requires regular grooming. These coats can come in various colours, including red, sable, brindle, black, and blue merle. A bi-weekly brush will help keep their coat healthy and free from mats, especially during the shedding season.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Different Colour Variations

  1. Red:
    • A prevalent colour among Pembroke Welsh Corgis, it encompasses a spectrum of vibrant reddish-brown shades, fluctuating from light to dark tones.
  2. Sable:
    • This intriguing pattern features individual hairs showing a mix of colours. A foundational colour, either light or dark brown, is adorned with black tips, creating a layered, textured coat.
  3. Fawn:
    • Corgis of this hue boast a coat that’s creamy and light. The fawn can range from an almost white shade to a more intense, golden tone.
  4. Black and Tan:
    • A popular duo of colours, the coat is dominantly black with notable tan accents around the eyebrows, cheeks, legs, and underside.
  5. Tricolour:
    • These Corgis display a triad of black, white, and tan. The primary coat colour is black, complemented by white markings typically on the chest, legs, face, and occasionally a blaze on the forehead. Tan marks are noticeable above the eyes, cheeks, and legs.
  6. Merle:
    • Though less prevalent among Pembroke Welsh Corgis compared to their Cardigan counterparts, merle Corgis exhibit a marbled coat, flaunting varied shades and patterns for a distinctive appearance.
  7. Other Markings:
    • Beyond these primary hues, some Pembroke Welsh Corgis might have white accents on their chest, legs, muzzle, or tail tip, further accentuating their visual charm.

In essence, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi parades an array of colour variations: red, sable, fawn, black and tan, tricolour, and sporadically merle. These myriad colours enhance the breed’s visual allure and diversity, allowing enthusiasts to choose from a plethora of coat colours and patterns.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi: Different Colour Variations

  1. Brindle:
    • Brindle Cardigans feature a dark foundational colour intertwined with streaks or flecks of a lighter shade, often fawn or tan. This generates a unique and standout pattern with varied depth.
  2. Red:
    • Widely cherished among Cardigan Welsh Corgis, the red variety can span from a deep, luscious red to a lighter, radiant shade. This colour often casts a warm and welcoming aura.
  3. Sable:
    • Sable Cardigans showcase a unique gradient effect on their coat. Darker tips fade to a lighter base, presenting a blend of gold, tan, or grey nuances.
  4. Black:
    • Cardigan Welsh Corgis with a pure black coat exude a sleek and refined aura. Their coats can possess a glossy sheen, further elevating the breed’s charisma.
  5. Blue Merle:
    • Distinctly characterised by a marbled or mottled pattern, blue merle Cardigans combine shades of grey or blue with a black base colour. Often, these Cardigans have captivating blue or grey eyes, enhancing their singular appearance.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s extensive colour spectrum, ranging from brindle to blue merle, undoubtedly contributes to its continued popularity and unique charm.

Temperament

Corgis are known for their lively and affectionate nature. They’re incredibly loyal to their families and tend to get along well with children and other pets. Their high intelligence means they’re quick learners, but it also indicates a need for regular mental stimulation. Without adequate engagement, a Corgi might resort to mischievous behaviours out of boredom.

Popular Corgi Mixes

The Corgi’s charm, combined with its stout stature and playful demeanour, has led to its increasing popularity in hybrid breeding. Some of the most sought-after Corgi mixes include:

  • Corgidor: A blend of the Corgi and Labrador Retriever. Known for its friendly disposition and robust build.
  • Corgi-Poo: A mix with a Poodle. Often inherits the hypoallergenic coat of the Poodle, making it popular among allergy sufferers.
  • Pembroke Sheltie/Corgi Sheltie: Combines the Corgi with a Shetland Sheepdog. This mix is highly intelligent and often very vocal.
  • Corgsky: A fusion of the Corgi and Siberian Husky. Captivates many with its mesmerising eyes and distinctive coat patterns.
  • Dorgi: A blend of the Corgi and Dachshund. Showcases an elongated body and has a playful, yet sometimes stubborn, nature.

Corgi for Sale Ireland

For those in Ireland eager to bring a Corgi into their homes, we offer a valuable resource. However, prospective buyers should ensure they’re purchasing from reputable breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of the dogs. Adopting a Corgi is a long-term commitment, and it’s essential to ensure that the dog has been raised in a loving, healthy environment.

Whether you reside in the heart of Dublin, Cork or the picturesque countryside of Kerry, this breed can be a perfect addition to your family. As always, ensure that you’re sourcing your pet responsibly and are prepared for the joys and responsibilities of dog ownership.