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Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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Pembroke Welsh Corgi Breed Highlights

A tan and white Corgi sticking its tongue out and sitting in the grass

  • Rufus, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, was the unofficial mascot for during their early days. The company credits him with creating the foundation for their dog-friendly workplace policies.

  • Queen Elizabeth II was instrumental in introducing this breed to the world, as she was a fancier of the breed and has owned more than 30 Pembroke Welsh Corgis during her reign. Her first Pembroke, who she called “Dookie,” she received as a gift in 1933 from her father, King George VI. The Queen’s beloved Corgis appeared alongside her and actor Daniel Craig in a performance aired at the start of the 2012 London Olympics.

  • In 2014, the Kennel Club placed Pembroke Welsh Corgis on their “vulnerable” breed list, as registrations of puppies dropped below 300 in the United Kingdom. But don’t worry — Pembrokes continue to rise in popularity in the United States and are a favorite social media star. According to the AKC, Pembrokes were the 13th most popular dog breed in the United States in 2018.

  • One of two breeds of Welsh Corgi, the Pembroke is so named for the Pembrokeshire county of Wales where it originated.

  • With such a long name, many Pembroke Welsh Corgi owners refer to the breed as “Pems,” PWCs,” or simply “Pembrokes.”

  • Pembrokes are the smallest herding breed, but don’t let their short legs fool you! They are quick and agile, and their short height makes it easier for them to dodge the kicking hooves of cattle.

  • How do you tell a Pembroke apart from a Cardigan Welsh Corgi? Look for ears that are a bit pointier at the tips, a smaller size than their Cardigan cousins, straighter legs, and a bobbed tail (or a shorter tail, if undocked). Pembrokes only have four different color patterns, while Cardigans come in a wider variety of colors.

Unique Physical Features

Pembroke Corgi illustration for Dog Breed Guide 

  • Pembrokes have a fox-like face and large ears

  • These low-riders have short legs and a long, sturdy body

  • Known for their bobbed tails, docking is becoming less common for this breed. More and more Pembrokes are sporting a longer tail.

  • Often referred to as loaves of bread, Corgis have adorable fluffy butts

Unique Personality

Pembroke Corgi illustration for Dog Breed Guide

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are full of personality and up for anything. Truly a big dog in a small body, these herders love to work and play. Their intelligence makes them easy and fun to train, but many Corgi owners will tell you that they often are “too smart” — their brains are always working!

With their expressive faces and quirky personalities, Corgis are excellent companions that will endlessly entertain. Demanders of belly rubs and opinionated orators, Pembrokes love hamming it up. Get used to hearing people exclaim, “It’s a Corgi!” and come over to say hi. Affectionate and loving, without being needy, a Corgi is a delight to share your life with.

Preferred Lifestyle

Energy Level

dog energy level - high (tri-athlete)

With Kids

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Pembrokes can make wonderful family dogs, but proper socialization and training is needed to prevent herding of the children.

With Other Pets

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Corgis enjoy living with other animals, as long as they’ve been properly introduced and socialized as a puppy.


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An adaptable breed, the Pembroke makes a great apartment dog or farm dog — and everything in between. They just need regular exercise and appropriate outlets for their energy.

Average Lifespan

12 to 15 years

Average Size


  • 25 - 30 pounds
  • 10 - 12 inches tall

Breed Group


Similar Breeds

  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi

  • Swedish Vallhund

  • Schipperke

  • Dachshund

History of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Three multi-colored Pembroke Wlesh Corgi dogs sitting together in the grass

One of six dog breeds originating in Wales, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s origin story is a mix of fairy lore and the need for an industrious and well-rounded farm dog. In Welsh folklore, the fairies gifted two of their Corgi steeds to the children that found them, and the dogs became an indispensable addition to farm life. It’s said that fairies would have Corgis pull their carriages and ride them into battle, which is why they have a distinctive “fairy saddle” on their neck and shoulders, where the color and fur pattern is slightly different than the rest of their body.

The Pembroke are most likely descendants of short-legged dogs brought by Flemish settlers to Wales in the 12th century. They were excellent working dogs that helped these settlers continue their agrarian way of life in herding cattle and other livestock. These dogs were descendants of the Pomeranian, Schipperke, and other Spitz-type breeds that were used as working dogs in northern Europe for centuries.

Having been around quite a while, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was bred specifically for their sturdiness, working abilities, and good temperament rather than looks. It wasn’t until 1920 that the Kennel Club officially recognized the Welsh Corgi breed.

Changes Over Time

When first recognized, the Welsh Corgi breed included both the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. It wasn’t until 1934 that they were recognized as two separate breeds.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi rose to fame after becoming the preferred dog breed of Queen Elizabeth II. Her first Pembroke was a gift from her father, King George VI, in 1933. He was dubbed “Dookie” by the then-princess, and she became a significant influencer for the breed throughout the 20th century. Queen Elizabeth has owned over 30 Pembroke Corgis throughout her reign but discontinued her breeding program in the early 21st century.

While the popularity of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has declined in the United Kingdom over the last decade, with only 274 Pembroke puppies registered with the Kennel Club in 2014 (compared to 34,715 Labrador Retriever puppies registered in the same year), they are in no danger of “going extinct.” Their popularity spiked again in the United Kingdom in 2015, and they are consistently ranked in the top 20 most popular dog breeds across the pond in the United States.

U.S. History of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Over Time

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has become a popular breed in the United States, having been recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1934. Breeder Lewi Roesler’s Pembroke “Little Madam” was the first registered Corgi, arriving in the U.S. from London just a year earlier. Their excellent personalities, adaptability, size, and the media coverage of the Queen’s corgis back in England, helped them skyrocket in popularity. By 1998, the Pembroke was ranked as the 37th most popular dog breed, jumping to the 13th most popular spot in 2018. The breed has also taken over social media. Corgis are a favorite on Instagram — many puppies having their own accounts and huge followings, such as Geordi La Corgi, with 439,000 followers at the beginning of 2019.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Behavior and Training

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are wonderful dogs to train, as they are smart, fast, and love to solve problems. Their (often excessive) love of food means that positive reinforcement training is a breeze. They also find play and attention from their owners a valuable reward. Keeping their minds engaged and providing them with enough exercise is essential in preventing them from transferring their herding instincts to people or other animals in the home.

Plays Well with Others?

  • Pembroke Welsh Corgis tend to be more sociable than their Cardigan cousins. Their affable personality, paired with their adorable looks, makes them a constant magnet for attention. This means socialization as a puppy is crucial for this breed! Proper proactive exposure to new sights, sounds, people, dogs, and other animals as a young puppy will help develop their socialization skills.
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Pair meeting new people or animals with high-value training treats or a favorite toy, and keep introductions short and sweet, so it doesn’t get overwhelming.

  • The Corgi does well with children in the home. Their sturdy build makes them better able to handle all the attention, and they love to run around and play. However, due to their herding instincts, they might nip at heels when overexcited. Young children and dogs should always be supervised, and it’s helpful for a dog to have their own “safe space” where they can go when they need some quiet time.

  • Corgis can do well with other animal companions. As a herding breed, their instinct to chase needs to be addressed from a young age. With proper socialization, training, and consistent management, this won’t present a problem. As with all dogs, Corgis should be supervised during play to make sure they don’t overwhelm other dogs or cats. They like to herd, nip, and bark during their play, which some dogs aren’t sure how to handle — simply step in if the play is getting too rambunctious and someone needs a break.
Graphic - a bouncing red ball

Exercise Requirements

While small, Pembrokes require more exercise than other dog breeds of their size. They were bred to run and herd all day, even with those short legs! Many Corgis enjoy hiking and swimming beyond their daily walks and games of fetch in the yard.

Mental Enrichment Needs

It’s essential to keep a Pembroke’s brain engaged with mental enrichment. These herders were born to solve problems and work independently. Mental enrichment will help keep them entertained and prevent unwanted puppy behaviors. Teach new tricks, attend obedience classes, join a dog sport, and provide dog puzzles and interactive toys for your Corgi to live its best life.

Common Behavioral Issues

As a herding dog, Pembrokes tend to nip, chase, and bark when they get overexcited. This can be addressed as puppies, helping them learn boundaries and how to calm down when asked.

Because Pembroke Welsh Corgis are such an intelligent breed, training is imperative to prevent unwanted behaviors that will crop up if they get bored. Positive reinforcement training will help you and your Corgi build a strong bond and teach them what to do instead of barking or nipping.

Fun Activities the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Enjoys

Pembroke Corgi illustration for Dog Breed Guide 

Pembroke Welsh Corgis do well in many different activities:

  • Herding

  • Treibball

  • Agility

  • Rally Obedience

  • Flyball

  • Therapy Work

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Coat Type

Pembrokes have a thick double coat that ranges from a smoother and close-to-the-body length to what’s referred to as a “fluffy” length. Pems have four different colors: fawn, sable, red, and black and tan - all with or without white markings.

Shedding Level

dog shedding level - 4 of 5 piles of fur

5 out of 5 piles of fur

Grooming Requirements

  • Weekly Brushing
  • Seasonal
brush with bubbles

Pembrokes shed. They constantly shed. No matter the length of your Pembroke’s coat, they will still shed. Have we mentioned they shed? Regular brushing will help keep the Corgi fur that’s floating around your home at a manageable level, especially during extra seasonal shedding that you’ll see in the spring and fall. This brushing will also help keep their skin and coat healthy by distributing natural oils and preventing tangles. Set yourself and your Pembroke up for success by introducing them to positive brushing experiences as a puppy.

Best Brush for a Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Slicker brush, pin comb, undercoat rake

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It’s not advised to clip a double-coat, as it can result in uneven grow out, damage to the hair follicles, and an increase in the chance of sunburn and overheating. A double coat, when well-maintained, actually helps keep a dog cool, facilitating airflow across the skin. If you decide to have a double-coated breed like the Pembroke clipped, whether per your veterinarian’s advice in dealing with skin issues or personal preference, it’s important to choose a groomer that knows how to avoid damaging the undercoat. Keep in mind that trimming will not reduce shedding. A Corgi will simply shed shorter (and often more prickly) fur. Regular brushing is your best bet to keep shedding hair contained.

Famous Owners of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

  • Queen Elizabeth (Royalty)

  • Kirstie Alley (Actress)

  • Stephen King (Author)

  • Selma Blair (Actress)

  • Kendra Wilkinson (Model)

  • Julie Andrews (Actress)

Famous Pembroke Welch Corgis

The whole Rowdy of pups in A Very Corgi Christmas


Tino in A Dog’s Purpose


The Queen’s Corgi animated film


Cheddar on Brooklyn 99

Non-Endorsement Statement: The social media posts displayed here do not imply any endorsement of these people or products, nor does it imply they endorse Trupanion or our product.

Common Health Conditions for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Breed

Use the chart of Trupanion claims data below to find out what health conditions happen most frequently for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi breed. Every Corgi is unique, but understanding what health conditions are likelier to occur can help you be a more prepared pet owner.

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dog-loving members say about Trupanion

Trupanion member Kelly


Groton, CT

Condition: Sarcoma

The Trupanion policy paid: $18,522.39

"My golden Kelly was young when I found a softball-sized lump on Kelly’s left hind leg. Four weeks straight of radiation, six rounds of chemo and checkups every three months, including x-rays and full blood panel were needed. Because of Trupanion, I didn’t have to address the biggest deciding factor that most people face—can I afford this? I can honestly say Kelly is alive today because of the financial support Trupanion provided."

- Lori

Trupanion member Axl


Ontario, Canada

Condition: Pneumonia, Hip Dysplasia, Lameness

The Trupanion policy paid: $2,084.01

"At two, our German shepherd Axl was diagnosed with pneumonia. Trupanion took care of all our financial concerns. At four, his hip issues led to pain medications, rehabilitation and rest, which all resulted in improved pain-free movement. I’m so grateful that we chose a plan that not only covers the cost of his treatment but also any physical therapy or rehabilitation he may need."

- Nanette K.

Trupanion member Bella


Ellijay, GA

Condition: Cushing’s disease, tumor, cruciate rupture

The Trupanion policy paid: $15,283.83

"Bella was treated for Cushing’s disease and a pituitary tumor with radiation therapy. Had we not had insurance for her, the decision for her medical care would have been more difficult, as each treatment was expensive. However, because we have Trupanion, these decisions were easier. Rather, we could focus our attention on her treatment and recovery instead of the financial impact these procedures would have on our family."

- Jason P.

Here's what our dog-loving members say about Trupanion

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