Puppy buying should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. A lot of thought, consideration and exploration should be undertaken before a new pup is brought into a home. Owning a dog is a lifestyle choice that needs thorough study with an eye towards the care, obligation and responsibility entailed for the life of that pet.
Choosing the breed that’s right for you requires some work. There is no substitute for making a careful study of each breed’s characteristics and narrowing down the field until you are left with the one that best suits your temperament, lifestyle, accommodations and taste.
Size: An adult Pembroke Welsh Corgi can weigh anywhere between 20 and 35 pounds. The responsible Pembroke breeder tries to breed for a dog that is between 10 and 12 inches at the wither (right behind the neck where it joins the back) and falls within the weight range called for in the Standard of the breed which is 25 pounds for a female (not larger than 28 pounds) and 27 pounds for a dog (not larger than 30 pounds). It is not unusual for even the most responsible breeder to have dogs that fall outside of that range, so you should be able to find a size to suit you. A Corgi doesn’t need a large outdoor area in which to exercise, but it would be ideal to have a nice shady part of the back yard dedicated to the dog’s use on occasion.
Grooming: While a Corgi is not a high maintenance dog as far as grooming goes, they do have a double coat consisting of a harsher outer coat and a thick, dense undercoat and THEY DO SHED. They seasonally shed the undercoat, usually fairly heavily in the Spring and not quite as heavily in the Fall, and they often shed a little bit of the outer coat year round. Shedding is kept under control simply by scheduling routine grooming sessions with a brush or comb. You can do it yourself and it need not take long (15 minutes or less), if done on a regular basis of a minimum of once a week, (twice weekly or more is better). Toenail care is very important and your dog should be taught from an early age to have its nails trimmed either with toenail cutters or with a toenail grinder. This should be done at least monthly. Tooth care is also an important consideration. There are several kits on the market with doggie toothpaste (a must!) that will enable you to quickly clean your dog’s teeth once a week. The Corgi doesn’t require a lot of grooming other than the occasional bath and the routine grooming described above. For step by step instruction see Grooming the Pet Corgi. There is a long-coated Corgi (called a “Fluffy”) that does require more grooming than the Pembroke with the shorter coat. A fluffy coat is considered a very serious coat fault for the show ring. Fluffies should not be bred. Fluffies have exaggerated feathering on ears, chest, legs and feet, underparts and hindquarters. No different in personality from a Corgi with a proper coat, they make excellent pets even though more grooming is needed to keep a fluffy coat in good condition. See Grooming the Fluffy Corgi.
Exercise: The Corgi does not require a lot of exercise, but if he is allowed to become a couch potato he will easily gain too much weight. As with children, the Corgi should be taken outside to play, whether you teach them to retrieve a ball or take them on routine walks around the neighborhood. Corgis excel in the performance arenas of herding and agility, but are not so full of excess energy that they must have a way to burn it off. They are perfectly content to sit at your feet while you read a book or go with you as you walk or jog or participate in any number of outdoor activities. We have known Corgis who accompanied their owners on a horseback ride, or canoeing, sailing or motor boating. They are at home backpacking in the woods or walking on the beach. They love to be where you are!
Children: Pembroke Welsh Corgis are usually excellent dogs with children, though we do not advise getting a puppy for a child under the age of five. As with people, there are those Corgis who have more dominant personalities that would not be the best choice for a family situation unless the parents have had a good deal of experience with this type of personality. This is one of the major reasons to purchase a Corgi puppy from a breeder who can make sure that the family with active children will get the correct puppy for their situation. The well-bred Corgi should never have a tendency to bite, but, unfortunately, there are Corgis who do, so be careful of your choice if the breeder is not an experienced one.
Male or Female Pup? In many breeds there is a decided difference in size or temperament between the sexes. In Pembroke Welsh Corgis there really is little difference between a male and a female. So much depends upon the individual pup in the litter that you should place more emphasis on the temperament of the puppy than on its sex. An unaltered female will come in season on average, twice yearly. They will be in season for approximately three weeks, at which time you must take measures to isolate her from males and prevent staining in your home. All reputable, responsible breeders sell their pet quality puppies on a spay-neuter contract on limited registration. If you do not expect to breed or exhibit your dog at shows, we recommend having it spayed or neutered at the earliest opportunity. These procedures do not change a dog’s personality, but they can help preserve its health and curb the pet population.
Do All Family Members Want a Dog? Before you go further, be sure you are able to take care of a Corgi. Be sure you have the time, interest and ability to meet its requirements and needs for its lifetime. And be sure that the puppy (and ultimate grown-up dog) is going to be accepted by the rest of your family as a part of the family unit.
What Kind of Temperament Does the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Have? Much as children from one family differ in personality, so do puppies differ within a litter. While the Corgi as a breed is a bright, outgoing, happy dog with a droll sense of humor, they can also be either very soft and submissive or quite dominant and bossy. The trick is to make sure the puppy you select out of the litter matches your personality and lifestyle. An overly soft or very bossy Corgi would not be a good choice for an active family with children. A Corgi that attempts to bite should never be tolerated. Pembrokes are usually very clean dogs that housebreak easily. They do not have any special dietary needs other than a good brand name puppy food up to six to nine months of age. After that, a good, brand-name, balanced adult food is all they will need.
Are There Any Health Concerns in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi? The Pembroke is well known as a sturdy, healthy breed of dog with few inherited problems. All breeding stock should have the following health clearances: hips that have been certified free of hip dysplasia by either OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or the PennHip method, their eyes should have been examined by a board certified veterinary opthalmologist and registered with CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) – the only exception would be a Pembroke that has been diagnosed with PPM (Persisant Pupilary Membrane) for which a Pembroke will not be issued a CERF number, yet is still cleared for breeding – and finally, all breeding stock should be DNA tested for vonWillebrand’s Disease (a bleeding disorder) or proven clear by clear parentage. Please note that while all dogs used for breeding should have the above health clearances, if you buy a puppy or adult dog that proves to be dysplastic or vWD affected, these dogs can usually live full, normal lives. Because a Pembroke is not a weight-bearing breed, even dogs that are dysplastic are often symptom free throughout their lives. Also, the type of vWD that affects Pembrokes is a very mild form of the disease and often even affected dogs show no symptoms throughout their lives. The exception to this is that a vWD affected dog will be more likely to have a bleeding episode if it is under a great deal of physical stress (such as surgery).