Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

1. If I just want a pet, why should I buy one from an established breeder and not from a pet store or from an ad in the paper?
Whether the Corgi puppy you buy is to be a companion for your family or a showdog, he or she must meet the same criteria: good health and good temperament. When you buy from a reputable breeder you will be buying from a person who has checked the health and temperament of both the mother and the father of the puppy. This breeder will also have screened his or her breeding stock for those genetic diseases which can be clinically tested. The puppy will be the results of a carefully planned breeding.

Pet store puppies are shipped in from puppy mills, that is, facilities which mass produce several breeds on a large scale, or from the brokers who handle the shipment of these puppies to the pet stores. The puppies have not been raised as socialized pets but as a mass-produced commercial commodity. Health in such operations merely means getting them to market alive, while quality is nonexistent.

Most reputable breeders do not advertise in the newspaper. They are knowledgeable, thoughtful breeders who, as the PWCCA code of ethics states, breed to produce quality Corgis, not to mass produce a cash crop. Most have waiting lists for their puppies.

2. I got my female Corgi from a pet store. Why won't any of the breeders let me breed her to one of their stud dogs?
Under the PWCCA Code of Ethics, members do not sell to pet shops or brokers; therefore, the bitch purchased from a pet store will be from mass-production breeders who have no concern for screening the Corgis they breed for genetic diseases or for assuring the puppies they produce have sound temperament and good health. Since this same Code of Ethics states that a member breeds for the purpose of producing Corgis of exceptional quality, breeding a pet store bitch would be contrary to that basic tenet.

3. Would it be better to buy two puppies so they can keep each other company?

This decision depends on you. Raising two puppies is twice the work. Most of us who work full time do not have the time to spend raising, training and socializing one puppy, let alone two. If you think you can handle two puppies, keep in mind that most reputable breeders will not sell you two puppies from the same litter, since these puppies may remain bonded more strongly to each other than to you and that the more dominant puppy will inhibit the more submissive puppy.

4. I work; how can I handle a puppy properly?
First, try to bring your puppy home during your vacation when you can spend some time with your new addition and start his or her house training. If you can't use vacation time, plan to take your puppy home on a long holiday weekend. If you can not go home at lunch, try to get a friend or petsitter to take your puppy out at noontime. If that is not feasible, leave the puppy's crate door open so he or she can have access to water, food and newspapers (not for reading!) until you come home after work.

5. Are there many differences between Pembrokes and Cardigans?
Although the Pembrokes and the Cardigans have similarities, they are two different breeds, not a variation of each other. The most readily identifiable physical difference is the tail: the Cardigan has one. The Pembroke's tail is docked close to the body. The Cardigan is longer than the Pembroke and heavier boned with a smaller eye and larger ear. Both the Pembroke and the Cardigan are intelligent dogs, trainable and good with children.

6. Should I get a male or female?
This is not a breed that has significant advantages in one gender or another--the males are just as good with children and other pets as the females, are as easy to housebreak, and are not more aggressive. The experienced breeder will be able to advise you which puppy's temperament meets your needs--they don't want to put the go-go-go puppy with a retired couple who want a couch potato, nor the quiet puppy in the home with 4 children and a position waiting on the soccer team! The fewer requirements you place as to color and gender, the easier it will be for breeders to locate just the right dog for you.

7. Do they get along with children and other pets?
Many breeders have cats and other pets who have close relationships with their dogs, and others make an effort to introduce their puppies to other species during their early socialization. Common sense is needed in introducing the puppy to a small cage pet so that no one gets nipped, and Pup understands that the ferret or bunny is a pet and not something to be "dispatched" (remember that Pembrokes are farm dogs, and ratting is one of the jobs!) Pembrokes living with other dogs, especially larger breeds, generally become the "boss" and herd the others around (sometimes to their annoyance). They are also happy to herd up errant children, especially if they're running, and the parents must be consistent in correcting this behavior from the beginning to prevent a later problem with "nipping heels." It may be cute in a baby puppy, but a pinch on the heel or calf from a larger and still enthusiastic herder hurts! Ask the breeder for helpful hints.

8. Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis good watchdogs?
Those big ears don't miss much! Pembrokes are very alert and will let you know when something out of the ordinary happens. This is all they should be expected to do--you do not want to encourage a puppy to growl or act in an aggressive manner. It is also up to you to teach the barking puppy that once you're alerted, they can be quiet! No one likes a yappy dogs that barks incessantly, even dog lovers. There are many techniques such as holding the muzzle for a moment, or startling the dog with a squirt of water or an object thrown nearby, accompanied by a firm, "Quiet." Ask the breeder of your puppy to show you some effective training ideas, and be consistent in using them. This breed is bright and bossy--if you aren't in charge, they will happily assume the role and a problem is much harder to correct than prevent!

9. What about shedding?
Oh, yes, they shed! A spayed or neutered Corgi will generally shed their undercoat (the soft, lighter hair beneath their coarse outer coat) in prodigious amounts in the spring or summer and more than the usual frequent combing and brushing is then called for. A good bath, followed by some serious combing, will remove the "tufts," with a second bath and grooming in the next week or two to get out the remainder. If you want to put the soft "fur" out for the birds to build their nests with, you can provide "cashmere wallpaper" for every bird nest in your neighborhood! A philosophical thought: dogs either shed or need expensive haircuts--vacuum cleaner bags are cheaper than the local groomer!!

10. How long do Pembroke Welsh Corgis live?
The PWCCA has a Genetics Committee that will soon be able to provide some data on health issues and longevity based on polling its many members. Some breeders estimate the ages of 12 or 13 to be the average life span for the breed, with healthy and happy oldsters well into their teens not uncommon. Experienced breeders generally screen their breeding stock for hip dysplasia and eye problems, and sometimes other diseases that they have become aware of as potential problems. We are very fortunate that this breed does not have a predisposition to many of the serious health concerns that plague some other breeds, and ethical breeders are to be commended for their efforts in keeping the Pembroke healthy and long-lived. Don't hesitate to ask about the health history of the parents and grandparents of a puppy you are interested in--this information should be available on a well-bred litter.

11.Is it true you have to carry them up and down stairs because of their long backs?
No, the Pembroke is a well muscled dog, capable of navigating normal sized steps with ease. However, as puppies, they must be taught to use steps, starting with single steps and progressing to more steps as the puppy grows. Be especially careful with open staircases; some Pems cannot resist the urge to jump! Stairs should not be a play area, but simply a means of going from one area of the house to another.

12. Do they need much exercise?
A Pembroke needs a modicum of exercise to maintain his mental and physical health. They tolerate exercise well, but should not be pushed beyond reasonable limits. Remember, this is a short legged breed, which will do well on short or long walks, jogging, or working in herding or agility events. Use common sense when exercising your Pem; avoid extreme heat or cold and always provide plenty of cool, fresh water after exercise. Pems do best when stimulated regularly through both physical and mental activities.

13. How old should they be before I can bring one home?
A Pembroke puppy should never be moved into a new home before 8 weeks of age. Even at 8 weeks, a Pembroke puppy is not large, and requires constant supervision from the adults in the family. Small puppies can quickly squeeze behind furniture, chew electrical wires, or fall down stairs. Many breeders will wait until 10-12 weeks to place puppies in their new homes. This delay is not meant to deprive the new family of the puppy's early development, but because most breeders have found that puppies benefit significantly from interaction with their littermates and their dam during the eight to ten week period of a puppy's life. Also, by not selling a puppy prior to eight weeks of age, the breeder will ensure that the puppy is large enough to fit into a new home and flourish.

14. What equipment do I need to have when I bring one home?
Crate, food and water bowls, exercise pen or fenced in yard (puppy-proofed), toys, rectal thermometer, collar and leash, grooming equipment (such as nail clippers or dremel, comb and brush, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo), dog food (follow breeder's recommendation), clean-up tools (pooper scoops, plastic bags, etc.) baby gate(s).

The crate provides a "den", or quiet place for the puppy to sleep and to go when no one is supervising him. Most dogs will seek out their crate for rest and quiet time. Crates also protect your dog from unwanted behavior and accidents, and they make riding in the car safer for everyone.

Fresh water should be available at all times, and the puppy should have his own food bowl. The breeder should send your puppy home with a starter supply of the puppy's food. Follow feeding instructions carefully, increasing quantities as the puppy grows.

Housebreaking the new puppy is easier with an exercise pen, available at many pet stores or through pet supply catalogs, or a fenced in yard. Remember to puppy proof the yard, small puppies can fit through even smaller holes or gaps in fencing. Be especially careful with swimming pools; puppies or adult dogs can easily fall into a pool and drown.

Toys provide mental and physical exercise. Hard rubber bones, balls (too large to swallow), rubber rings and tug toys are popular. Avoid anything that can be chewed into small pieces. Never give cooked or raw animal bones, as these may splinter and cause severe illness or death.

A rectal thermometer is important, as your veterinarian will often ask about a temperature if your puppy is ill. A dog's normal temperature is between 101 to 102 degrees.

Start the puppy off with a soft , narrow collar and a four to six foot leash. Do not leave the collar on the puppy when he is alone, as the collar can become caught and strangle the puppy. Remember to increase the size of the collar as the puppy grows.

Daily grooming is important to the puppy's health and education. Although the Pembroke coat does not mat, a daily "once over" with a comb and brush will keep his coat shiny and keep shedding to a minimum. Once a week nail care is essential. Ask the breeder to show you how to clip or grind nails. Teach your puppy to allow weekly dental care, using canine toothbrush and canine toothpaste. When bathing your puppy, use a non-detergent human shampoo (baby shampoo) or a specially formulated dog shampoo.

When exercising your puppy, be a good citizen and clean up after him. Pooper scoops are readily available at pet stores. Plastic sandwich bags work equally well and can be easily tossed into your garbage can.

Puppy-proof your home. Baby gates are an inexpensive way to confine the puppy during housebreaking. Wires, chemicals in toilet bowls, heat ducts, garbage cans, house plants, antifreeze, chocolate, onions, represent just a few of the hazards present. Never leave a puppy unattended. It only takes a minute for a puppy to find something potentially lethal.

15. What should I expect from an experienced breeder?
An experienced breeder will have plenty of questions for you and your family (home, lifestyle, why a Pembroke, dog ownership history, etc.). The breeder is only trying to make sure that you and the puppy are well matched! The breeder will provide you with a pedigree, sales receipt and contract, feeding instructions, and shot history. Expect to spend at least two or three hours learning about the breed, puppy care, etc. AKC registration papers for a full or limited registration will also be provided, depending on whether or not the puppy is being sold as a "show puppy". The breeder's contract will spell out any health guarantees and spay/neuter requirements. Most importantly, you should expect your breeder to answer your questions fully and honestly now and as your puppy grows. If the chemistry isn't right, think before you buy; an ethical breeder is responsible for each puppy bred for life.

16. PWCCA Policy on Tail Banding. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America believes it is and always has been an important part of our breed to have docked or natural bobtailed dogs. We strongly suggest that our puppies’ tails be banded as soon after birth as possible. This causes little discomfort to the puppies and is a totally bloodless procedure. Puppies that have been banded immediately return to normal nursing and settle in with their dam. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America stands firm on our right to raise our puppies as we always have, which includes the banding of tails.

We invite you to contact a PWCCA member who lives nearby by going to our membership roster where you may search by state for a breeder nearest your location.