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Unlike some dog breeds, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi does not have a traceable breed history. Its origins are obscured by tales and folklore and even contain ties to the wee folk of the British Isles. It is believed that Pembroke Welsh Corgi ancestry dates back to at least the 10th century. According to legend, two children tending their family's cattle on royal lands found a pair of puppies, which they thought were foxes. When they brought the puppies home, they were told the dogs were a gift from the fairies. Welsh legends tell us that the fairies would use the little dogs to pull their carriages or as mounts for them to ride into battle. If you look, you can still see the marks of the fairy saddle on their shoulders (especially pronounced in the sable color). As the little puppies that the children brought home grew, they learned to help their humans watch over their cattle, a task to become a responsibility for their descendants for the centuries to follow. The more commonly accepted theory traces back to Scandinavian raiders bringing their dogs with them to the British Isles, possibly as far back as the 9th or 10th century. The Swedish Vallhund is seen to bear many similarities to today's Pembroke Welsh Corgi and is presumed to have been bred with native Welsh dogs. Any of the offspring that expressed cattle herding/driving traits were no doubt selectively bred to enhance that skill. It is also thought that the dogs brought over with Flemish weavers, who settled in Pembrokeshire, South Wales in the 12th century, were bred with the local cattle dogs adding the Spitz characteristics that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi expresses today.

The name of the breed is as difficult to nail down as is its origin. One school combines the Welsh word "cor," which means "to watch over or gather" with "gi," a form of the Welsh word for dog. This was certainly a responsibility of these small cattle herders and homestead guardians. Another ascribes the word corgi as the Celtic word for dog and that the Norman invaders thereafter referred to any local dog as a "cur" or mongrel. Finally, legend pops up again with the interpretation that the word "cor" means "dwarf." Combine that with the Welsh form for dog "gi" and you have "dog of the dwarfs or "dwarf dog." For many years Corgis (both breeds) were referred to as either "Ci-llathed" meaning "yard long dog" (we're talking a Welsh yard here) or as "Ci Sawdlo" due to its nature of nipping at cattle's heels.


In 1934, the AKC recognized the Pembroke and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi as two distinct breeds. What is different about these two breeds? First, the Cardigan traces its origins to Cardiganshire, and the Pembroke to Pembrokeshire. The dogs also have easily identifiable physical differences. The Cardigan usually have tails, while the Pembroke usually have their tails docked. The Pembroke has a shorter body, and the ears are pointed, while the Cardigan’s are more rounded at the tips.


The Pembroke is "a big dog in a small dog's body," with a personality that is playful and fun-loving, but can also be a loyal and devoted family member. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are working cattle dogs, and although most corgi's today never even see a cow, they still love to work for their owners. They are easy to train and quick learners. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a very intelligent and versatile companion animal. Pembrokes love attention and can be real clowns. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are goofy dogs, and will definitely put a smile on their owner's face daily with how silly they act. They really do act derpy sometimes, haha! The most suitable home for a Pembroke is with an owner who is looking more for a companion than just a decoration. Pembrokes become their owners little shadows. They tend to follow their owners around and are always interested in whatever they are doing. Because of their social happy nature, Pembrokes have been known to excel in therapy work. Though the Pembroke is an energetic breed and eager for new sights and smells, Pems are just as content to keep their owners company at home. With an adequate amount of exercise they are just as suited to city life as to life in the country. Pembrokes are very people oriented and they are at their best when incorporated into full family life. Pembrokes are excellent with responsible children. 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. If the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a downside, it stems from how intelligent they are. Pembroke's have a strong sense of their own being. That being said, they can be suitable for novice pet owners, given the owner is willing to accept the challenge of their intelligent and willful nature. Overall, Pembroke Welsh Corgis make great companion animals for most families, and can adapt to most lifestyles. 

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