Complete Guide To The Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Personality, Grooming, Feeding and More

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a pint-sized powerhouse with a bold personality. Athletic and hardy, they’re warmhearted but independent companions with steadfast loyalty to family and friends. You’ll have a hard time finding a puppy cuter than a Pembroke Welsh Corgi!

I’ve seen plenty of Corgis during my 20-year career as a veterinarian. The following information is based on my experience as well as the conversations I’ve had with Corgi owners.

How Big Do Pembroke Welsh Corgis Get?

Male10″ – 12″ at the shoulderUp to 30 lbs
Female10″ – 12″ at the shoulderUp to 28 lbs

What Do Corgis Look Like?

Pembroke Welsh Corgis have an unmistakable look. Short but with a broad chest, powerful legs and a muscular body, they’re little dogs with nothing to fear.

Recognized colors are:

• Black and tan
• Fawn
• Sable
• Red

White markings are acceptable, but dogs shouldn’t be predominantly white. Coats are short but thick.

Ears are firm, erect and gently pointed, and eye color varies. Tails are docked as close as possible to the body without being indented — a rare Corgi is born with a bobtail. Occasionally the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is mistaken for the slightly taller and larger Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

What Is The Personality of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi?

Corgis were bred to herd, so they like having something meaningful to do. They’re eager to exercise, but their short legs struggle on runs, and they can’t keep up with a bike. Activities that play to their strengths, like long walks, hide and seek and a game of fetch, will grab their attention.

Charming but not clingy, Corgis are faithful companions for active families — they’re typically well-mannered with children and other pets. But they’re strong-willed, and their herding instincts run deep, so early training and socialization are musts to prevent nipping behavior.

What Kind Of Grooming Does A Pembroke Welsh Corgi Need?

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a luxurious double coat — a short insulating layer covered by a thick outer coat. They shed consistently and seasonally in the spring or early summer and need regular grooming to keep them in top condition. It’s a year-round effort requiring commitment.

Daily care with a slicker brush removes dead hair, keeping it off the floor, but only a rake or steel comb will reach the undercoat. If the undercoat gets too thick, it can cause matting close to the skin that’s uncomfortable for the dog and difficult to remove. Prevention is best.

Close to the ground, a Corgi’s coat tends to pick up mud and debris, so baths are an important part of their grooming schedule. A monthly shampoo and light conditioning are ideal — don’t forget to trim their nails and cleanse their ears. Most pet owners can manage it, but an occasional date with a professional groomer makes ongoing maintenance simpler.

What Are The Exercise Needs Of A Pembroke Welsh Corgi ?

Before we talk about anything else, know that your Corgi should wear a harness – never a collar. Their short, stocky long-backed bodies will put too much strain on the neck if there’s a collar being worn.

These dogs were originally bred to be herders so they do love to exercise. Many of my corgi patients are avid ball chasers and some are even frisbee dogs. I’ve also seen a few dogs compete in the agility ring. There is a wide variety of competitive dog sports that your Corgi can participate in including barn work, herding, scent work, and more!

For most Corgis, a good, long daily walk is essential for their bodies and their minds. These are intelligent dogs that crave stimulation.

What Is The Best Food For A Pembroke Welsh Corgi?

Most small kibble dry dog foods will be suitable for a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Because of their small mouths, smaller kibble will be a better idea than one that may be larger and harder to chew. Canned food should only be used if there are little to no teeth or if your dog needs a way to get more fluids in (for example, a dog with kidney disease).

Grain-free diets are a myth. Please do not feed your Corgi a grain-free diet unless there are specific food allergies that would benefit from a grain-free diet. Always consult your veterinarian before you decide to make any major diet changes.

Some good brands that I recommend include:

I usually tend to go with the bigger dog food companies because of the amount of time and money they have to research and test their products. They also have a stronger history of safe foods (very rarely will they have recalls) over the newer, more boutique-style dog foods.

This dog is usually a chow hound and is easily prone to obesity. It is important always to give your dog high-quality dog food. Monitor the number of treats and “people food” you give your dog to keep him healthy and fit. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is the best and easiest way to extend the life of your Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

How Long Does a Pembroke Welsh Corgi Live?

12-13 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Conditions Do Pembroke Welsh Corgis Have?

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are generally pretty healthy dogs. While they can have any health disorder, the ones that are the most common that concern me are:

  • Obesity
  • Arthritis (especially in the elbows and knees)
  • IVDD

Having a very long back can make them prone to developing back issues such as IVDD. The biggest risk factors for this breed developing this issue is being overweight and jumping off of couches and beds regularly.

Where Can I Find a Pembroke Welsh Corgi?

If you’re truly interested in a great Corgi that’s representative of the best qualities of the breed, start first with the directory from the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America.

Another great resource is to search for a local or regional breed club for good breeder recommendations.

AKC has a list of breeders and available puppies here.

Looking for a Rescue Corgi? Check out this list from the national club.

Where Can I Find Out More About Pembroke Welsh Corgis?

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club Of America

AKC’s Breed Page

Interesting Facts about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

• The Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s Ancestry is Remarkably Different than the Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi are two distinct breeds. Yet for dogs that are so similar in appearance, their lineage is unique.

Cardigans, the older of the two breeds by a millennium, were introduced to Wales by the Celtic tribes of Europe — they come from the same German stock as Dachshunds. Pembrokes are descended from the Nordic Spitz breeds, traveling to Wales with the Vikings around 1000 AD. They share no known common ancestor.

• They’re Super-Smart

Ranked 12th in intelligence among breeds, Pembroke Welsh Corgis can learn new commands with fewer than 15 repetitions — average breeds need 25 to 40 — and are more likely to obey commands on the first try.

• Their Genes Make Them Short

The Corgi’s height is caused by achondroplastic dwarfism — a genetic disorder that slows leg growth at an early age. Farmers intentionally bred them for this characteristic because short legs make it easier for them to weave around livestock. Corgis hold the world record as the smallest herd dog.

• The Beautiful Blue Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are occasionally born blue with a Merle coat and haunting blue eyes. Valuable as pets, they can’t be shown, however, and breeding is discouraged.

• Their Color Morphs After Birth

Corgi litters are always surprises. A puppy’s birth colors may change a few days after birth, and true markings aren’t always evident until they’re older, especially among tri-color dogs.

• The Royal Family is Their Biggest Fan

Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has owned more than 30 Corgis since 1933. Whisper, her last, passed away in 2018. But in March of 2021, she treated herself to two new pups to keep her company.

Prince William and Kate Middleton honored the breed by letting them help name their second child. Ten Corgis, each with a vest bearing a name raced and the winner was — Princess Charlotte.

Other celebrity fans include actress Betty White, horror author Stephen King, film star Ava Gardner and comedian Kirstie Alley.

Corgis are Related to Huskies

It’s hard to believe, but the stout Corgi has Nordic Spitz dog genes in their bloodline. Contributors include the Keeshond, Shiba Inu, Bichon Frise, Siberian Husky and more.

They Were Once Found in the Amazon —, That Is

Rufus, a Pembroke Corgi, was Amazon’s shortest volunteer. Belonging to Amazon’s former lead engineer, he visited the office every day, roaming the halls, inspiring staff and collecting treats. Although he passed away in May of 2009, he’s credited with establishing the dog-friendly culture office workers enjoy today.