While the earliest history of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is difficult to trace, there is substantial evidence that the breed’s ancestors were brought to Wales in the 12th century by Flemish weavers who were encouraged by King Edward III to settle in Britain. When the weavers established farmsteads, the dogs were quickly put to work herding cattle, sheep, and ducks. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi we know today was developed in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and first appeared in the show ring in 1925. The Pembroke probably existed in its current form well before 1925, but since it was known primarily as a farm dog, it was slow to attract the interest of breeders.
Pembrokes share many traits with Cardigan Welsh Corgis, but they are in fact two distinct breeds; the former was recognized as a separate breed by the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom in 1934. Interbreeding between Pembroke and Cardigan corgis was common until that time, which accounts for many of their similarities: short stature, comparable size, and erect ears. The most easily recognizable distinctions between the two breeds are that the Pembroke has more severely pointed ears, a more foxlike face, and either a bobtail or no tail at all. Pembrokes’ coats can be red, sable, fawn, or black and tan; many have a distinctive “saddle” marking on the sides of their shoulders.
Although corgis have the appearance of a toy breed, they are actually stocky dogs on short legs and are more than sturdy enough to handle rigorous farm work. The corgi’s small stature makes it ideal for herding, since it can easily nip at the heels of wandering livestock. Rather than circling a herd the way many other farm dogs do, the corgi tends to work from behind, running back and forth in semicircles and driving the whole herd forward. Corgis also tend to herd silently, as too much barking can easily startle the livestock. Their working traits often transfer into family life, so a pet corgi may not be much of a barker, but it might try to herd the kids around the living room.
Corgis are affectionate, intelligent dogs, making them a perennial family favorite. They are neither aggressive nor timid, so they get along well with new people and new animals. Corgis also have a strong desire to please their owners; they respond well to training and often serve as protective watchdogs. However, like many other working dogs, corgis are happiest when they have a job to do, so they need plenty of active time with games and tasks.
Want proof of the corgi herding propensity… or even non-herding but still adorable corgi footage? We’ve got it:
- The corgi herding video that turned us into believers
- Young corgis herding cows
- Corgi herding sheep (more typical than herding cows in the U.S.)
- Corgi pups attempting to herd a cat
- Excellent slow motion of three corgi’s running
- Corgi being vacuumed (how else do you handle all that fur?)
- CORGI FLOP!!!
- Corgi beach party (not a video, but still awesome)