No one can resist a cute corgi. From their pointy ears, stubby legs, and fluffy butts, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cuter dog breed. But where did the corgi come from? What types of corgis are out there? And how can I get one?
Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to the corgi dog breed.
History of the Corgi
It’s hard to believe, considering how cute and goofy they look in TikToks and on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but corgis are actually part of a working breed. Those physical traits we consider aesthetic actually had a specific purpose.
The Pembroke corgi worked tirelessly to help farmers in Wales as early as the 10th century. Their perky energy and intelligence all helped them herd cattle. They would escort the cows out to graze in the morning, protect them from predators, and bring them back for milking in the evening. While it seems unbelievable that a corgi could control an animal the size of a cow, cows in 10th century Wales were considerably smaller than ones you’ll see on farms today in the United States. They also kept the rodent population in check and protected the family as well. They essentially were equipped to handle any task that didn’t have a height requirement.
Origins of the corgi have been lost to time. Not many people were keeping strict breeding records back then. According to a mythical legend, two farm children stumbled upon a pair of puppies they believed to be foxes. Enchanted, they brought these fox puppies home. They family believed they were gifts from fairies. Welsh legend describes how fairies would use little dogs to pull their carriages or use them as steeds to ride into battle. If you inspect a purebred closely, you’ll still see the markings of the “fairy saddle” on their shoulders in their coat coloring. All corgis allegedly stem from these magical fairy gift puppies.
While imagining a corgi carrying a fairy into battle is just about the cutest thing you can imagine, the more commonly accepted theory connects corgis to the Swedish Vallhund. Some believe Scandinavian raiders brought their dogs with them to the British Isles and bred them with other Welsh dogs. What resulted was the corgi.
Unfortunately for the working breed, they lost their job to modernization. Welsh farmers started using a fenced-pasture method and their specific herding skills no longer were necessary. Farmers transitioned to longer-legged dogs, and that’s how border collies stole the corgi’s source of employment.
Perhaps that’s for the best. Corgis now enjoy a position of royalty among pet breeds. Queen Elizabeth II oversees an official Pembroke Welsh corgi breeding program that descended from her first corgi, Susan. Today, they’re used as show dogs due to their skill, high energy, and intelligence.
Fun Facts About Corgis
There’s so much to know about this amazing dog breed. Here are some fun facts about corgis for you to enjoy.
- The name “corgi” has multiple origin stories. Some believe the word “corgi” comes from the Welsh word “cor” which means “to watch over or gather” and “gi,” which is Welsh for “dog.” Another hypothesis translates “cor” as “dwarf,” which would make them “dog of the dwarfs” or “dwarf dog.” Both seem appropriate.
- A corgi’s short stature actually helped them herd. While you’d think you’d want a bigger dog to herd cattle, corgis would use their short height to access their heels to nip at them. That enabled them to annoy the cows into the direction they wanted to go.
- A Pembroke Welsh corgi comes from the spitz family. It shares roots with other Nordic dogs like the Swedish Vallhund, the Norwegian Buhund, and the Schipperke.
- While they look similar, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi have completely separate origins. They both worked on farms, but Cardigans worked in southwest Wales and Pembrokes in southern Wales. They each have completely different terrains.
- Pembroke corgis have no tails, while cardigans have them. But both breeds have insanely adorable fluffy butts.
- You know how dogs get the zoomies? Corgis have a special brand of zoomies called “frapping:” Frenetic Random Activity Period. They’re a high energy dog and require a lot of physical exercise to stay happy and sane!
Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgi Adoption
When you see a dog breed you love, it’s tempting to go out and buy one. However, we here at Creative Haven Homestead believe in the power of adoption. If you’re patient and willing to travel, you’re sure to find the breed you’re looking for in a shelter.
The PetFinder app is a great place to start when looking for a specific breed. They easily let you sort by age, size, breed, and more so you can get really specific in the breed you’re looking for. While there’s always a chance you’ll find corgi puppies, it’s more likely that you’ll find an adult corgi. We prefer adopting adults anyway! Raising a corgi puppy essentially becomes a full-time job.
Another great way to adopt a corgi dog breed is by following breed-specific rescues online.
We’re a big fan of the East Coast Corgi Rescue. They do a lot of awesome work to rehome corgis of all kinds. They’re extremely thorough when vetting applicants to make sure every dog goes home with the right person. They’re based in Washington DC, but they adopt out to DC, MD, VA, PA, DE, and NJ.
Another awesome rescue we recommend is Southeast Corgi Rescue. They serve NC, SC and GA.
Give each of them a follow on social media so you can stay up to date with all the awesome work they do!
Corgis Are Not a Starter Dog
Before you bring a corgi of any kind into your home, you need to be 100% certain this is the dog breed for you. Corgis are not an easy breed. They’re as cute as can be, but corgis require an immense amount of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy. While we love corgis, we have to stay content to enjoy TikToks and pictures of Corgis. Because we have small animals in the house, we know that a corgi’s herding instinct could put them in danger.
Don’t let the corgi size fool you. A corgi is a powerhouse of a pet, and they require strict discipline and almost constant exercise. Whether you’re looking for a long-haired corgi, miniature corgi, Pembroke corgi, or any other corgi dog mix or mutt, do your research and make sure you’re ready for this personality-filled pup!
Thank you for this fantastic article. I am an owner of a full bred Welsh Cardigan Corgi, but she was my third dog. I had Labrador retriever before her and what a difference! I was prepared for the differences and researched my breed a lot before finding her. I am so glad that I did; she is challenging and not the kind of dog you can lay on and drag around like a Lab. Learned that quickly and adapted MY behavior to suit, but also keeping a firm, but gentle hand on her. She is a joy and the most loyal and protective dog I have ever owned. She lays down when i do and rises when i do. Always on alert and ready to “work”. Loves to chase a ball, but I also found her with a mouse in the basement that she caught before i even saw it! Such a wonderful animal. Loves to walk and run through our woods and keeps on constant “patrol” for anything that moves. Because of this she was bitten twice last summer by copperheads; they move and she goes after them. Not fun and a very expensive vet visit both times, but it is so painful for them to get bitten. We have since adapted our land to mitigate snake warrens because she will certainly do it again. Again, thanks fort his article; i love reading about the fairy legends and had not heard that before.
Thanks so much for giving it a read! And it sounds like your dogs have an amazing home. Not everyone’s willing to make adjustments for their pets; we certainly do, and it takes dedication and a committed mindset. And isn’t the fairy legend so adorable? It made me smile!
Long haired Corgis and miniature Corgis are not a breed, and in fact do not meet the Corgi standard. Pembroke and Cardigan are the only 2 Corgi breeds .
Just because they aren’t a breed standard doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a home! None of our dogs will ever meet breed standard and we’re absolutely okay with that. We’ll always promote adoption first.
And the article contains a lot of good information.
I agree. I never said that they didn’t deserve a home. All dogs deserve a home and to be part of a family. I was merely pointing out what is a “breed” verses a variation. Please do misinterpret my factual statement.
And we appreciate your feedback! We adjusted the wording: “Whether you’re looking for a long-haired corgi, miniature corgi, Pembroke corgi, or any other corgi dog mix or mutt, do your research and make sure you’re ready for this personality-filled pup!”
We hope that clears up any misunderstandings of future readers. Thanks for reading!