Critter Culture
Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Short Dog, Big Personality

Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Short Dog, Big Personality

Critter Culture Staff



The people-loving Pembroke Welsh corgi is a versatile, outgoing, and intelligent breed. Although they are the shortest member of the herding dog group, their personality is that of a much larger dog. They’ll alert you to the presence of strangers, but they’ll never turn down an opportunity for some fun and games with their human companions. The short-legged Pembroke Welsh corgi has become a social media star due to its famous “smile” and expressive personality.


There are two unique corgi breeds

Welsh Corgi Pembroke and Welsh Corgi Cardigan

People often confuse the Pembroke with another breed, the Cardigan Welsh corgi. They look similar, but the Cardigan is longer-bodied and heavier boned than the Pembroke, weighing about 8 pounds more on average. Additionally, the Pembroke’s ears are more fox-like than the Cardigan’s round ears, and the Pembroke tail is naturally shorter. Corgi fans say both breeds are loving pets, but the Cardigan tends to be a bit more reserved than the Pembroke.


Pembrokes are a healthy breed

Smiling Pembroke corgi Tatomm / Getty Images

These corgis are a chondrodysplastic — or dwarf — breed, and grow to a height of 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder. Proportionally, they have the same build as an average-sized dog. They’re just closer to the ground. Pembrokes are sturdy, strong dogs with powerful, short legs and tons of stamina. Overall, this is a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12 to 13 years. Older corgis may develop a condition called degenerative myelopathy or spinal cord degeneration.


Prepare for heavy seasonal shedding

grooming routine shedding bath Ирина Мещерякова / Getty Images

Pembrokes have a low-maintenance, waterproof, double coat that may be fawn, sable, red, or black and tan. They don’t require frequent baths or elaborate grooming routines. Weekly brushing is sufficient throughout much of the year. In the late spring and early summer, this little canine’s coat sheds profusely. To keep it under control, most owners find that daily grooming with a slicker brush works wonders.


Pembrokes are apartment-friendly

apartment rural city housebroken pembroke Veronika7833 / Getty Images

If you’re seeking a lovable and entertaining companion that adapts well to smaller living spaces, the Pembroke Welsh corgi is a superb choice. This breed is highly adaptable to both city and rural life and is easily housebroken. As long as they get plenty of exercise and playtime, they’re happy.


They bark for various reasons

Corgi outside Sabina Berezina / Getty Images

With a Pembroke around, you’ll always know when a guest has arrived or there’s a strange critter invading its territory. They’re barkers, a behavior that stems from their herding instincts. You’ll learn to tell the difference between their “alert” bark and the bark they use to communicate with you. Some corgis resort to barking behavior when feeling bored.


They love children

boy playing with welsh corgi dog in cardboard box

Pembrokes are enthusiastic, affectionate pets for families with children. They have big personalities that kids love and steady temperaments that parents can trust. Because they’re super smart, Pembrokes learn tricks that children find especially entertaining. Parents should be aware of the breed’s herding behaviors, however. These dogs may nip at the heels of younger children to keep them in line. This is a behavior that you can curb with gentle, determined training.


Pembrokes get along with other pets

scottish fold cat and welsh corgi dog lying under blanket together on sofa LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

This breed is good with other pets, including cats, especially if you raise them together. Experienced Pembroke owners say their dogs tend to take on a leadership role over other pets in the home, including their larger dog breeds. Introductions to pets other than dogs or cats may take additional time and patience. Slow socialization works best.


They’re “fairy-bred”

fairies fables magical welsh corgi Nataba / Getty Images

Fans of magical fables may enjoy the Pembroke Welsh corgi’s deep, mystical origin story and their connections to fairy folk. According to Welsh myth, fairies used corgis to pull their carriages and serve as battle steeds. One version of this myth says that two children came upon a warrior fairy’s funeral procession. The fallen fairy’s comrades gifted his valiant corgi steeds to the children.


They like high places

Pembroke corgi chasing bubbles outside Nataba / Getty Images

Don’t be surprised if you find your Pembroke perched on the back of the sofa or a table. These alert, watchful dogs act as home guardians, posting themselves in high places. Canine behaviorists say this unique behavior could be due to the Pembroke’s short stature and a strong instinct to keep watch over their surroundings.


An active Pembroke is a happy one

corgi playing with woman chee gin tan / Getty Images

The American Kennel Club ranks the Pembroke Welsh corgi as one of the 15 most active dog breeds. An hour of energetic play and exercise each day keeps them fit, alert, and healthy. These mini-powerhouses are excellent walking, hiking, and jogging companions. Their enthusiasm and athletic capabilities allow them to excel at competitive canine sports, especially herding, tracking, and agility. Service organizations often train them as hearing ear dogs and therapy dogs due to their work ethic and outgoing nature.



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