Pembroke Welsh Corgis are vocal dogs that have a tendency to bark at anything and everything. While they are intelligent dogs, they also can be stubborn. If housebreaking is a problem, crate training is advised. Their strong herding instinct may cause them to nip at the heels of children when they are playing. Pembrokes are prone to overeating. Their food intake should be monitored closely. Even though they are small dogs, Pembrokes have a lot of energy and need a healthy amount of exercise each day. To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
Pembrokes are double-coated, with a thick undercoat and a longer topcoat. They shed continuously, with heavier shedding at least twice a year. You'll find them in red, sable, black, tri-colored, or fawn, usually with white markings. The length of the coat varies on the body. Some Pems have fluffy coats — long with excessive feathering on the ears, chest, legs and feet. Many Pembrokes have what is called a "fairy saddle" over their back. This marking, which is caused by a change in thickness and direction of a strip of hair, gets its name from legend.
Brush your pembrokes teeth daily. don't cut nails too far to avoid bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear. As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Pembrokes are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Pembrokes will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed. If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Pembrokes, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal.
Recommended daily amount: 3/4 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals. Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl. Pembrokes like to eat, and will over-indulge if given the chance. Keep your Pem in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test. First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise. For more on feeding your Pembroke, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.