Recommended for: Families
Maintenance level: High
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Temperament: Smart, loyal, loving
Health Risk: High probability of health issues during its lifetime, hence it is one of the more expensive breeds to insure.
WELSH CORGI OVERVIEW
The Welsh Corgi is a small, sturdy breed of dog known for its short legs which make its body appear quite long. There are two breeds of Corgis: the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Though similar, there are a few distinct differences between the two breeds.
Both the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgi are quite low to the ground thanks to their short legs, and as a result obesity can be a problem leading to difficulty walking. They have a wide, flat skull, black nose, and brown, oval-shaped eyes. They have a thick double coat made up of a short, water-resistant undercoat and a longer, rougher topcoat. Pembrokes differ from Cardigans mainly in their lack of a tail, while Cardigans have a long tail, a slightly longer body, and larger, wider-set eyes. Pembrokes come in red (with or without white), sable/white, fawn/white, red-headed tricolour and black-headed tricolour. Cardigans have more colour varieties, including red, sable, fawn, brindle, black/brindle, blue merle and black/tan/white. They are quite easy to groom, only requiring a brush and bathe when necessary. They shed heavily twice a year.
Pembrokes tend to be shorter and lighter than Cardigans – they between weigh 1o and 12 kg and stand around 25-30 cm tall. Cardigans weigh 11-14 kg and stand between 25 and 33 cm tall. Both lifespans average at about 12-15 years.
Due to their propensity for weight gain, corgis need regular exercise to keep them at a healthy weight. They require a long, daily walk as well as plenty of space to play at home.
WELSH CORGI HISTORY
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi traces back to 1107 AD, when they were said to have travelled with Vikings and Flemish weavers. Even earlier, in the 10th century, they herded sheep, geese, ducks and other livestock. They are related to other breeds such as the Schipperke, Keeshond, Pomeranian, Samoyed, Chow Chow, Norwegian Elkhound and Finnish Spitz.
Cardigan Welsh Corgis, on the other hand, supposedly share their roots with the Teckel Family of dogs, which also bred Dachshunds. They are believed to have existed in wales for over 3,000 years.
Pembrokes and Cardigans first entered the show ring in 1925 and the Corgi Club was founded in December of that year. They were officially recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1928 as “Welsh Corgis” and again in 1934 as two distinct breeds.
They were first brought to the US in 1933 and received recognition in 1934. As of 2013, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi stands as the 24th most popular breed in the US according to the AKC, and the Cardigan ranks at 75.
WELSH CORGI TEMPERAMENT
Both the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis are smart, loyal, loving, and eager to please. Thanks to their origins as working dogs, they’re very active and protective of their loved ones; however they have also been known to try to herd people by nipping at their feet. They make great watchdogs and guard dogs due to their tendency to vocalise and will alert you to the presence of a stranger.
They are great with kids, since they’re small and gentle yet very sturdy and can withstand rough play. When socialised from a young age, Corgis can get along very well with other dogs.
It is important for Corgi owners not to let their dog develop Small Dog Syndrome, a human-induced behavioural problem in which the dog believes it is dominant because its family showers it with more attention than they might with a larger dog.
COMMON WELSH CORGI DISEASES & CONDITIONS
- Hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the thighbone and hip joint do not fit together properly, causing pain and lameness. Arthritis can develop later in life as a result of the condition.
Like in humans, canine cataracts occur when a cloudy membrane forms over the eye, causing vision loss. They can be removed surgically.
- Cutaneous Asthenia
Also referred to as “Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome”, dematosparaxis or dominant collagen dysplasia, this condition results in the skin’s connective tissue becoming loose, fragile and stretchy. This can lead to affected dogs getting bruises and blood blisters easily.
Cystinuria occurs when excessive amounts of the protein cysteine are excreted in the urine, possibly indicating a stone. Usually this condition only affects male dogs.
- Degenerative myelopathy
Degenerative myelopathy mainly affects German Shepherds but some Corgis may be affected by this neurological disease which can cause parapesis. Signs include dragging the feet, slipping rear limbs, and eventually losing the ability to walk or stand by itself. There is a DNA test available to test for the gene, though affected dogs should not be bred.
Possibly inherited, epilepsy is a neurological disorder which causes seizures that can manifest themselves in unusual behaviour, dizziness, rigidity and fainting spells. Though it is frightening to watch, the prognosis for affected dogs is usually quite good, and treatment is available.
- Intervertebral Disc Disease
This is a condition that occurs when the disc between the vertebras becomes damaged, causing swelling and leaking. Common symptoms include: inactivity or lethargic behaviour, shivering, limping, or the inability to bend down to eat. If you notice these behaviours, get in touch with your vet.
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) with Pulmonary Hypertension
PDA is a congenital blood defect which leads to unoxygenated blood to bypass the lungs and Pulmonary Hypertension refers to high blood pressure in the lungs. The latter can be treated surgically.
- Progressive retinal atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy refers to a family of eye conditions which cause the retina’s gradual deterioration. Night vision is lost in the early stages of the disease, and day vision is lost as the disease progresses. Many dogs adapt to the loss of vision well, as long as their environment stays the same.
- Retinal dysplasia
Retinal dysplasia is the abnormal development of the retina, sometimes causing it to detach, causing blindness.
- Von Willebrand’s disease
Von Willebrand’s disease, a condition which impedes the blood’s ability to clot, can lead to excessive bleeding post-surgery, nosebleeds, bleeding gums or blood in the stomach. It is currently incurable, and blood transfusions are the only treatments available. Most dogs suffering this disease can lead normal lives, and there are tests available to determine if your pet has it.
INTERESTING WELSH CORGI FACTS
- The name “Corgi” comes from the Welsh word for “dwarf dog”. They have also been referred to as “yard-long dogs” in the past.
- Corgis were popularised by Queen Elizabeth II who has had many Corgis. She currently has two Corgis and two Dorgis (Corgi cross Dachshund).
- Stephen King, Ava Gardner, Kiefer Sutherland, Selma Blair and Kirstie Alley have all owned Corgis.
- Even though many tailless Pembroke Corgis were that way because their tails were docked, many Pembrokes today are naturally born with no tail.
- The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is ranked as the 11th smartest dog breed and the Cardigan is ranked 26th.
- Welsh legend has it Corgis were the preferred method of travel for fairies.
Corgi Club of Victoria: http://corgiclubvic.com/
Corgi Rescue Australia: http://corgi.rescueme.org/au
Welsh Corgi Pet Insurance Quote
Getting pet insurance for your Welsh Corgi will help ensure you can always afford the best vet care for them. Bow Wow Meow offers a range of flexible pet insurance options including cover for accidental injury, illness and routine care.
Wondering how much it would cost to insure your Welsh Corgi if you got one? It’s quick and easy to get a quote.
(Note: dogs must be over 8 weeks old to take out insurance, so please enter a birth date to reflect this when getting an indicative quote.)