Pembroke Welsh Corgi

AKC Herding Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

There are several theories about the origins of the Welsh Corgi. Both Corgi varieties may be descended from Swedish Vallhunds brought to Wales by Vikings in the 800s. Or perhaps the Cardigan is the older variety, brought to Wales by the Celts in about 1200 BC (the name Corgi comes from the Celtic word for dog, “corgi”). Another source claims the Pembroke variety was brought to Wales by Flemish weavers in the 1100s. No matter what the breed’s true early history, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi breed developed in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and was used to drive cattle by nipping their heels and barking. His low stature helped him run under the cattle’s legs without getting injured by kicks. The Pembroke and Cardigan varieties were freely interbred until the 1930s, after which time breeders tried to accentuate their differences. A Pembroke Welsh Corgi is well-known as the favorite breed and pet of Queen Elizabeth II. Because of royal favor, and perhaps because of a slightly gentler personality, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has become very popular, while the Cardigan is not as widespread.


The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a long, low dog with large erect ears; a broad, flat skull; and a fox-like head. The Pembroke’s tail is almost nonexistent. The Cardigan variety has a long tail. The Pembroke’s eyes are dark, preferably with black rims, and the nose is black. The soft coat comes in red, sable, fawn, or black and tan, usually with white markings. The Pembroke generally has straighter legs and is not quite as long-bodied as the Cardigan. The Pembroke’s head is generally more wedge-shaped, with pointed ears.

Key Facts

  • Height:  10 to 12 in.
  • Size:  Small
  • Weight:  Up to 30 lbs. (male); up to 28 lbs. (female)
  • Availability:  Might take some effort to find
  • Talents:  Herding, watchdog, guarding, and competitive obedience


Tends to nip at people’s heels (herding behavior), though this behavior can be trained out. A good traveler. Prone to PRA, glaucoma, and back disorders. Buy only from stock with current CERF or OFA eye clearance. Don’t overfeed as this breed tends to put on weight easily.


Hardy, highly intelligent, obedient, protective, and devoted. Spunky. A large dog in a small dog’s body. A good obedience dog. Should be properly socialized and trained when young to avoid overprotective behavior as an adult. Some Pembrokes are more outgoing, restless, and excitable than the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Several of these brave dogs have lost their lives defending their homes; they were too small for the situation.


  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Easy to train
  • Independence:  Not particularly dependent or independent
  • Dominance:  Moderate
  • Other Pets:  Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood
  • Combativeness:  Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise:  Average barker
  • Indoors:  Very active indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  A little grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Medium coat
  • Shedding:  Seasonally heavy shedder
  • Docking/Cropping:  The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  Small, but a pretty good jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space:  OK without a yard
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Pembroke Welsh Corgi Breed Standard

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Gifts