Did you just welcome a new Corgi into your home? Are you thinking about it? Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Whether your new furry friend is a puppy, an adult, or a senior dog, we have the information you need to properly train and care for him or her. This guide is tailored mostly to Pembroke Welsh Corgis and was compiled with new dog owners in mind, but we also have tips and tricks for seasoned fur parents and those new to this breed.

Your guide to Corgis

Corgis are strong and lively herders, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). They are great house dogs given that they have a small stature and make good companions. Corgis are easy to train and very loyal. They’re incredible watchdogs and can help keep your household safe with their bark, which typically sounds like it’s coming from a large dog.

You can adopt a Corgi at an animal shelter or find a breeder. It’s important to look for breeders that can provide detailed health records of their puppies (and parents!) as well as genetic testing for health conditions. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and their Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) maintains a voluntary database of Corgis and their health screening results.

Fun facts

Here are some fun facts about Corgis, according to the Dogtime:

  • Corgis were originally bred to herd horses
  • This breed tends to overeat, so regular exercise is very important
  • Pembroke Corgis are double-coated and have a thick undercoat and longer topcoat
  • Corgis come in two different breeds: Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Physical characteristics

corgis

Corgis are built “long and low,” according to the AKC and stand at about 10 or 12 inches at the shoulder. They typically weigh about 30 pounds and boast short strong legs and muscular thighs. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi often has a natural bobtail, that is, they are born without a tail! This is due to a mutation in the T gene.

Bringing your new Corgi home

Whether you’re adding a puppy or a dog to your family, it’s important to remember that everything is new to your furry friend. When you bring the pup home for the first time, ensure your house is fairly quiet so your pooch can get used to his or her surroundings without any anxiety; you were both probably a bit nervous about the change anyway. You want your pup to explore and learn about your family, according to puppyintraining.com.

Did you name your dog yet? Teaching your pup his or her name should be one of the first things you do. It’s easy, just continuously refer to the pup as Rex or Sparky or whatever the name may be. What’s not so easy is training the pup. You may want to get help with this by enrolling your new Corgi in a training group or get your own personal trainer. This will help get your puppy going to the bathroom in the right places, keep him or her from eating your favorite shoes, stop excessive barking or whining, and much more. Dogs make some funky sounds don’t they? Click here to learn more about dog sounds.

Nutrition

A balanced diet is vital to your dog’s growth and health, according to the ASPCA, and portion control is key. Especially for this breed given their tendency to overeat.

It’s okay to give your dog commercial pet foods, just be sure to read the label and ensure that what you’re buying is based on your dog’s caloric needs.

“Barring any special needs, illness-related deficiencies, or instructions from your vet, your pet should be able to get all the nutrients he or she needs from high-quality commercial pet foods, which are specially formulated with these standards in mind,” the ASPCA reported.

You should also keep in mind that a dog’s diet needs to be altered as they grow. A puppy should have a different diet than an adult or senior dog, and adult dogs should have a different diet than senior dogs.  

The best thing you can do for your pup when it comes to diet is talk to your veterinarian about a meal plan.

Playtime

corgis

Corgis love physical activity and should exercise every day. With their short legs, it can be tough for them to go on a long run, but they would be great on a long walk! Your Corgi would love a job to do, so if you want to extend your playtime beyond a light jog or walk, hide one of their toys so they can hunt for it.

Corgis love herding, obedience, tracking, and agility, the AKC reported.

Grooming

Corgis have a thick coat that is weatherproof. Their coat has two layers: a soft, light undercoat and a coarse outer coat. They need to be brushed every day and have extra baths during shedding season.

You should trim your Corgis nails often and ensure that their ears are clean.

Health & aging

corgis

Do you know your pup’s birthday? Never miss a celebration with your four-legged friend! And keep in mind that you’ll need to care for him or her differently as your pup ages.

Corgis have a lifespan of about 11-13 years, according to PetMD. Your dog is considered a senior pup after turning 8. Make sure you’ve had your pup tested with Embark so you’re armed with as much information as possible to ensure your dog is healthy and to sidestep any preventable disease that may come your way.

Embark tests for the following 7 conditions that could affect your Corgi:

Von Willebrand Disease Type I Von Willebrand Factor is exposed on tissue surfaces upon tissue injury, where it is recognized by platelets and other clotting factors, thus triggering the clotting cascade. As such, dogs with Von Willebrand Disease (vWD) often bruise easily or bleed excessively from small cuts and nicks. Affected dogs are also at risk for excessive bleeding during surgery. vWD is characterized into three types based on clinical severity, serum levels of vWF, and vWF protein composition. Dogs with Type I vWD have low, but perfectly function vWF, meaning a large number of them never show clinical signs. However, your vet should be notified of this genetic result, so they can be prepared should your dog require a surgical procedure.

X-linked Severe Combined Immunodeficiency — This is a deficiency of multiple immune components: affected dogs require close monitoring for signs of infection, and should not be administered modified live vaccines. SCID pups cannot produce functional B-lymphocytes, the cells responsible for producing antibodies and long-term “memory” of infection, as well as T-lymphocytes, which can act to destroy immune cells themselves and direct other immune cells to do their job.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy – rcd3 — This retinal disease causes progressive, painless vision loss due to progressive degeneration of the retina, the “seeing” portion of the eye. There is no cure for progressive retinal atrophy, but most dogs adapt very well to vision loss.

Degenerative Myelopathy — A disease of mature dogs, this is a progressive degenerative disorder of the spinal cord that can cause muscle wasting and gait abnormalities. Affected dogs do not usually show signs until they are mature adults. The first signs of DM often involve the hind legs, where a dog may drag or scuff the tops of their hind paws, or walk with a hesitant or uncoordinated gait in the hind. There is no cure for DM, though many vets (including Embark’s!) recommend antioxidant supplementation and regular exercise to keep the nerves and muscles healthy.

Muscular Dystrophy — Characterized by non-painful muscle weakness and wasting, early diagnosis and supportive treatment can slow the pace of this progressive muscle disease. Dogs affected with MD have abnormally low levels of functional dystrophin, leading to muscle fiber damage, progressive muscle wasting, and weakness. There is no treatment for muscular dystrophy; however experimental trials have shown great promise.

Exercise-Induced Collapse – First characterized in field-trial lines of Labrador Retriever dogs, this muscle disorder can cause episodes of muscle weakness and sometimes collapse; after recovering, most dogs are perfectly normal and eager to get back to work. Corgis, as well as many other breeds, have been shown to have this mutation at some frequency. Because episodes of collapse can be detrimental to affected dogs, it is recommended to avoid collapse triggers, which sometimes means changing the dog’s occupation.

What we have our eye on for the future:

We don’t test for every single disease that affects Corgis, but we hope to soon! Here’s what we have our eye on and will test for as soon as our database allows:

Intervertebral Disk Disease (Type II) –  This condition is common in chondrodysplastic or short-legged dogs like the Corgi and the Dachshund, and can affect your dog’s ability to walk, among other neurologic deficits. The type II form of intervertebral disk disease concerns the center portion of the intervertebral disc, which is normally a gelatinous material. In Type II IVDD, this center can calcify and become brittle, making it easier for it to tear through the fibrous outer ring and exerting pressure on the spinal cord underneath. “Type II IVDD should be something all owners of chondrodysplastic dogs are aware of,” says Embark Veterinarian Erin Chu. “We often recommend that our short legged pups try to avoid too much leaping off beds, couches, and high stairs, as IVDD can sometimes be triggered by high impact events; looking for early signs of IVDD can also improve your dog’s prognosis.”

Merle – While most commonly thought of as a coat color prevalent in Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Corgis, and others, merle has made its way into many dog breeds and can associate with a variety of health issues including deafness, blindness, and cancer predisposition, most notably if a dog has two copies of the merle mutation. For this reason, two merle dogs should not be bred together even if they are healthy.

We hope that this guide helps you with your Corgi and that you remain happy together for years to come! However, we know that the only bad part of having a pup is losing them. If you are grieving and in need of a resource, click here for a relevant blog post. 

Thanks for Embarking with us! 

If you’d like your very own Embark Dog DNA Test, you can order one here.

A Guide to Corgis
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