Q & A
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a Pembroke and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi?
Until 1934, the Kennel Club (Great Britain) classed the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis as
two varieties of one breed. Most fanciers believe that the two breeds evolved separately, the
Pembroke from the Spitz family and the Cardigan from the Dachshund family. The theory is
plausible, with anatomical evidence to support it, but impossible to verify or disprove.
Interbreeding between the two breeds occurred but was not widespread. With recognition of the
breeds as totally separate by the Kennel Club, breeders gave up interbreeding and the individual
integrity of both breeds were saved.
The differences between Pembrokes and Cardigans are as notable as are the similarities:
Similarities: Erect ears; foxy head; long, low body; intelligent; energetic; ability to herd and act as
Differences: The Pembroke is an extroversive breed, the Cardigan is friendly but may be reserved
with strangers. The Pembroke's ears are erect, firm, and of medium size, tapering slightly to a
rounded point, while the Cardigan's ears are more rounded at the tips. The Cardigan is slightly
larger and more heavily boned than the Pembroke. The Pembroke's feet generally point straight
forward, while the Cardigan has a slightly bowed front with feet that point outward (no more than
30 degrees). One of the obvious differences is the tail. A Pembroke has a natural bob or docked
tail and the Cardigan has a full length tail.
Why is the Pembroke's tail docked?
Because the AKC and Kennel Club (Great Britain) standards require it, along with removal of the
dew claws. Contrary to what some people think, tail docking is not a painful process for very young
puppies. The lack of a tail certainly does not detract from a Pembroke's expressiveness. The
Pembroke's foxy, intelligent face can be extremely expressive, with a distinct smile when he is
happy. Also, many Pembroke fanciers find the Pembroke's tail-less bottom cute (aka bunny butt,
Pembroke's behinds wiggle when they walk and when they're especially happy)! It remains to be
seen how a new British law against tail docking will affect the Pembroke standard in that country.
Are Pembrokes good with children?
They are excellent with responsible children. As with any dog, you must teach your children how to
treat the dog, and not allow them to abuse or tease the dog. The Pembroke is a loving, protective
and playful companion, ideal for a family that is able to take the time to train and play with its dog.
Do Pembrokes bark much?
Yes. Pembrokes are very vocal dogs; a typical Pembroke has several different sounds, from a low
"wuff" to a loud, threatening "BARK!". They engage in watchdog barking (such as when someone
rings the doorbell, or when they hear a suspicious noise outside) as well as barking for its own
sake. Because of their intelligence, Pembrokes can be trained to be quiet on command (although
it's much easier to train a Pembroke to "speak" than to "shut up"). Teaching a dog to "speak" has
been known to also train the dog to only "speak" when asked.
Does a Pembroke make a good watchdog?
To some degree this depends on the individual dog. But in general, Pembrokes are excellent
watchdogs. The Pembroke's bark is deep and loud; from the other side of a door he doesn't
sound like a small dog. "The Complete Pembroke Welsh Corgi" even cites a story of a little female
Pembroke protecting her family by disabling two prowlers (of course, this was in 1954, when the
bad guys probably were not armed).
"In line with his role as a guardian, the watchful Corgi sits beneath the baby carriage, minds the
toddlers, turns tears to smiles, and even separates sibling squabbles." (The Complete Pembroke
My Pembroke made the strangest noise last night. Is it normal?
The Pembroke's voice is nearly as expressive as his face: he typically has several different barks,
from the deep, threatening watchdog bark to the low "wuff" when he's been told to be quiet to the
higher, frantic "arfing" when he's excited. Some Pembrokes will also engage in a behavior called
"reverse sneezing", which sounds like pig-snorting or an asthma attack. The dog probably will
stop quickly; or you can gently cover his nose, letting him breathe through his mouth to stop the
My Corgi sleeps on his/her back - all four feet in the air! Or, My Corgi lies on his/her stomach
with one or both of his back feet (pads of his feet facing up) stuck out behind him (aka the
flying squirrel position). Or, My Corgi is allowed on the bed/sofa. When he lies at one end, he
always rests his head on a pillow or the arm rest. Is this normal?
Yes! These are just some of the more endearing qualities of a Corgi.
My Corgi gets fed in the kitchen. However, he normally takes a mouthful of dry food, runs into
the living room (which is carpeted) and throws the food up in the air and then proceeds to eat
the pieces one by one. Is this normal?
Yes. We're not really sure why they do it. Theories abound from the Corgi not wanting to eat alone
to not being hungry enough and just eating to please you. However, it seems that almost every
Corgi does prefer to "grab a mouthful" and trot happily to the nearest rug to really enjoy his meal.
I want to breed my Pembroke. How do I do about doing this?
First, ask yourself why you want to breed the dog. There are several WRONG reasons to breed:
1. "I love my Pembroke so much, I want another puppy just like him/her." The chances of a puppy
being exactly like his sire or dam in personality, behavior or coat are not high. You're much better
off to purchase another pup from the same breeder you got your current dog from; or to visit
several breeders and choose another pup you'll love. This option will cost you less money and
much less stress.
2. "I want to make money." This is NOT the way to do it! Remember, many Pembrokes require
veterinary assistance and often surgery to avoid losing the dam and puppies. This is expensive.
Most breeders would be happy to just break even on a litter, let alone turn a profit. These are
people who already have the equipment, experience and contacts for breeding a litter. Above all,
profit should not be the motivation for a responsible breeder.
3. "I want to let my female Pembroke have one litter before she is spayed." Actually, spaying your
dog before the first heat cycle is the BEST thing you can do to ensure a healthy life. This one
surgery will greatly reduce her chances of developing breast cancer and diabetes later in life. Your
beloved Pembroke is not a small, furry woman with a biological time clock ticking; she is a dog
and does not feel any need to experience motherhood.
4. "I've heard that spaying or neutering a dog makes it fat and lazy." The only thing that makes a
dog fat and lazy is overfeeding and a lack of exercise. Just as with older humans, a dog's
metabolism slows down in middle age. This is likely what led to the myth of fat spayed dogs in the
first place. Spaying/neutering have absolutely no ill effects if done correctly . Rather they have many
positive effects on the dog's behavior and health. In fact, your dog may become a better friend after
The only acceptable reason for breeding your Pembroke is for the good of the breed. If you are very
knowledgeable about the breed, and your Pembroke is an excellent representative of the breed in
temperament, appearance and health, then your dog may be a candidate for a litter. Work with a
local Pembroke club or reputable breeder; they can help you determine if you should breed your
dog and give you a good idea of the work and responsibility involved. Remember that many times
expensive C- sections are required, risking the life of your beloved Pembroke in addition to that of
the puppies. Breeding and raising a litter is a life-long commitment.
Are there many movies with Corgis?
Yes! The classic Pembroke movie is Disney's "Little Dog Lost". It's not available on videotape, but
is occasionally broadcast on the Disney Channel.
For celluloid Cardigans, check out "The Accidental Tourist" (a tricolor Cardigan practically steals
the show from William Hurt and Geena Davis), "Hot Shots" or "Dave" (a few brief shots of the
fictional President's two tricolor Cardigans).
If you know of other Corgi movie and TV appearances, let us know and we'll add them to this page.
What are the possible coat colors for a Pembroke?
Tricolor -- most of the body is black, with white markings on the legs, chest and head and tan
markings on the face and possibly legs.
Red -- usually with white markings on the chest, head and legs.
Fawn -- a paler shade of red, also with white markings.
Sable -- a red coat with many of the hairs tipped with black. A distinctive skullcap appearance to
the face is usual.
How will a Pembroke get along with my other pets?
Other dogs: a Pembroke puppy will likely try to play with them. Pembrokes have been known to
play-wrestle with dogs much larger than they are. This is fine as long as both dogs consider it
play; keep an eye on them to make sure they don't get out of hand. Use common sense when
introducing a new puppy into the house where an older dog lives.
Cats: Again, the Pembroke will probably try to play with the cats. Make sure your cats have a safe
retreat with easy access for them to go to when they get tired of being chased. Watch any
interaction to make sure it does not become too intense. Check the puppy's eyes daily to make
sure the cat does not accidentally injure them with its claws. If you have more than one dog,
monitor the action. A "pack" response is for the pack to chase the cat and may hurt it after catching
Small mammals: OK if kept in a cage or an adult is present and watching. Otherwise, be
forewarned that Pembrokes make good ratters and a loose rodent may not last long.
How long does a Pembroke typically live?
About 11-13 years. Of course, several may live longer if kept in good health.
What should I expect to pay for a pet-quality Pembroke?
The price will vary from location to location. It may also vary depending on the amount of veterinary
services already given to the puppy. Prices will normally range from $250.00 to $500.00.
Remember, pet shops will often have the highest prices (up to $800.00). Be prepared to pay a little
more for a puppy that comes with a guarantee from a reputable breeder; it's worth the difference.
What are the best toys for my puppy?
American rawhide is a good choice (stay away from foreign import rawhide which often is treated
with chemicals). Pembrokes often enjoy a larger rawhide than you would think. Corgi-L members
have reported problems with some other chewies, most notably cornmeal bones (known as
Booda Velvets) and cow hooves. The problem with these products is that some dogs bite off and
swallow large chunks, which can cause intestinal blockage and other problems. Smell may also
be a problem when dealing with cow hooves. Latex toys and nylon bones have similar problems
with bits of them being gnawed off and swallowed. Fleece toys are fine, although expensive. They
seem not to hold up to the constant damage inflicted by a Corgi. Rope toys are good for playing
fetch or tug of war, but can be torn up if left unsupervised with the dog. One of the best toys for the
unsupervised Corgi is a small Kong toy filled with peanut butter or small treats (freeze-dried liver,
hot dog slices, carrot or cheese pieces, small dog biscuits). This will keep your Corgi happily busy
for hours! It's a great toy to put into the crate with a dog that licks his feet (out of boredom) when in
the crate. The thing to remember is that any toy can present a problem, it is best to have an adult
present when the dog has access to an unproven toy.
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