The Welsh Corgi sometimes known as Corgi, is a small type of herding dog that originated in Wales.
Two separate breeds are recognised: the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
There are physical differences between the two different breeds. According to the breed standards, overall the Cardigan is larger, both in weight and in height. Their tails are of different shapes – docking had previously been used.
Both breeds have short but powerful legs, muscular thighs, and a deep chest equip him for a hard day’s work. Built long and low, Corgies are surprisingly quick and agile.
They can be red, sable, fawn, and black and tan, with or without white markings.
The breed is very intelligent, active, and loyal.
The average lifespan of the Welsh Corgi is 13 to 16 years.
Both Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire are historically agricultural counties of Wales. They have historically been used as herding dogs, specifically for cattle.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi lineage has been traced back as far as 1107 AD. It is said that Flemish weavers brought the dogs with them as they traveled to reside in Wales.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi has been attributed to the influences of Nordic settlers in the region. Dogs of similar dimensions exist in modern Scandinavia, called the Swedish Vallhund, and it is claimed by some historians that these two breeds share a common ancestor.
In the late 19th century, farmers in began to switch from cattle to sheep but the corgi is not suited for working sheep. Similarities between the Welsh Corgis have been attributed to cross-breeding between the two, or simply selected breeding from those who wished to have the Cardigan variety appear closer in nature to the Pembroke.
The first recorded date for Corgis appearing in the show ring in Wales is 1925. Captain J. P. Howell called together a meeting of breeders of both the Pembroke and the Cardigan varieties, and formed the Welsh Corgi Club, with an initial membership of 59 members.
Cardigans and Pembrokes were at one time freely interbred, and until as late as 1934 they were considered a single breed in the United Kingdom.
In 1933, the first Welsh Corgis were brought to the United States.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are famous as the preferred breed of Queen Elizabeth II, who has owned more than 30 during her reign.
Corgis as characters were incorporated into the storybook fantasies Corgiville Fair, The Great Corgiville Kidnapping, and Corgiville Christmas of American author and illustrator Tasha Tudor.
In 1963, a Corgi was featured in the Walt Disney film Little Dog Lost, which led to an increase in popularity for the breed within the United States.
A theatrical adaptation took place of Welsh author Roald Dahl’s The BFG which toured the UK in 1991 required several different Corgis to perform on stage as those of Queen Elizabeth.
The Queen’s Corgi is a Belgian animated film depicting the Queen’s Corgis.
The Kennel Club has credited the renewed interest in the breed to the popular Netflix television series, The Crown.
Welsh Corgis are of the type of herding dog referred to as “heelers”, meaning that they would nip at the heels of the larger animals to keep them on the move. The combination of their low height off the ground and innate agility of Welsh Corgis would allow them to avoid the hooves of cattle.
Ancient lore states that two children were running through a forest and stumbled upon the funeral of a fairy. The mourning fairies gave the two children two small corgi puppies and the children took them home, thus giving the breed popularity.
Stories also state that Corgis played the role of war horses for fairies before they became herding dogs for humans.
At the base of the haunches of Corgis, there is a line of slightly rougher fur that ancient Welsh lore states is the saddle line from fairy warriors.
Welsh Corgis can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests.
They are among the oldest of all British breeds.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the more popular breed, yet still appears on The Kennel Club’s Vulnerable dog breeds of the United Kingdom list.
The Pembroke has been ranked 11th in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, which states that the breed is considered an excellent working dog.
The term “Corgi” means either cur dog or dwarf dog (cor = dwarf, gi = lenitive of ci, dog) in the Welsh language, which was not intended as an insult to the dog’s size, rather as a purely descriptive term.
Welsh Corgis are the shortest breed of the herding dog group.
Welsh Corgis are very popular in the United States. Cities such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco hold annual “Corgi Meetups” in which hundreds of dogs and their owners congregate to spend the day.