Endangered Dog Breeds
The Welsh Corgi
This month there will be a series of blog posts featuring dog breeds which have become rare in the UK.
We hear so much about the Labradors, German Shepherds, and Collies which are popular breeds. However, numbers are declining in rarer breeds and it would be such a shame to see them disappear completely.
This time we take a look at the Welsh Corgi.
Endangered Dog Breeds #4 TheWelsh (Cardigan) Corgi
Everyone knows the Queen’s favourite breed of dog is the Corgi. She was given her first Pembroke Corgi (Susan) at the age of eighteen and has had one by her side ever since. The Queen has personally owned over thirty corgis along with many corgi/dachshund mixed breeds which are known as Dorgis. These originated from one of Princess Margaret’s dachshunds called Pipkin.
Although numbers have dropped for the Pembroke Corgi, it is the Welsh Cardigan corgi which is more vulnerable. There were less than one hundred Cardigan corgis registered last year compared to 333 Pembroke’s.
Both types of corgi have existed in Wales for over 3000 years, but it is the Cardigan which has been around for the longest time.
The Cardigan corgi was once called the ‘yard dog’ because the length from nose to the tip of the tail was a Welsh yard (40 inches /102 cm.)
In 1931 the first pair of Corgi’s were imported into the United States.
They were initially bred to herd cattle, sheep and horses. They were known as heelers because they nipped at the heels of the cattle and were used to stop the animals from straying or were herded for miles to market. Their low bodies and athletic physiques made them perfect for this. At night, the corgis protected the farmer’s flock from predators.
Unfortunately, they may have a tendency to nip at the heels of a small child so a good training programme needs to be instigated.
They are included in the Pastoral Breed Group along with other herding breeds like Collies and Old English Sheepdogs
The Cardigan is the longer dog of the two and has a long thick tail. The Pembroke’s tail is shorter and curly like a bob tail, it was often docked until the process of docking was banned.
The personality of the Cardigan Corgi is described as intelligent, sensible, active and fun loving. They can be stubborn and will overeat given the opportunity. They also like to bark at everything making them excellent watchdogs.
The average height is 11 inches, and around 30 pounds in weight, with a lifespan of up to fifteen years.
They have a fox-like head, erect ears, and oval-shaped eyes. Their long backs mean they can be susceptible to back problems, but they do need plenty of exercise.
Corgis have a thick double coat to keep them warm on the Welsh hillsides, they need regular brushing and are high shedders.
The name Corgi comes from the Welsh word ‘Cor gi’ which means dwarf dog.
Until 1934 the Welsh corgi was considered to be one breed. They then split into the Cardigan and Pembroke varieties, both areas in Wales.
The Cardigan is considered to be less social and more territorial than the Pembroke.
Another way of telling the two breeds apart is by their ears. Cardigans have rounded ears and Pembrokes ears are pointy in shape.
According to Welsh fairytale legend, corgis were believed to pull the carriages of fairies and elves. Consequently, they have markings on their coats which appear to be the outline of a saddle or harness.
If you are interested in owning a corgi, here are links to the UK Kennel Clubs Assured Breeders.