The good the bad and the hairy: Get the inside scoop on corgi ownership

Pups this cute are hard to resist! They grow into brilliant, active dogs who need plenty of exercise and intellectual stimulation!

Pups this cute are hard to resist! They grow into brilliant, active dogs who need plenty of exercise and intellectual stimulation!

After our well-attended “Corgis in the Snow” play day, we realized all that corgi publicity might have people thinking about adding a corgi to their family. While no corgi lover would discourage someone from providing a wonderful home to a wonderful pet, we all agree on one thing: Corgis—as much as we love them—are not for everyone!

As smart as little whips and incredibly cute, corgis are not just teddy bears. In addition to the safe, healthy, loving home that every pet should have, this hard-working herding breed demands lots of activity and interaction, thorough socialization and appropriate training to be a happy member of the family.

If you are thinking of getting a corgi, you need to know that they can be quite vocal. They tend to bark at play, while herding, to greet arrivals, to protect their territory, and to communicate in general. They don’t tend to yap incessantly just to hear their brains rattle, but they do have a lot to talk about. They can be trained to be quiet on command, but it takes sustained training effort.

Corgis are born to herd, so heel nipping comes instinctively to them. They tend to want to herd people, cats, cars and other moving objects in addition to cows and sheep, so chasing is a behavior you really have to be on top of, especially around children or if you live in a city or around wildlife or stock. They can be trained to curb their herding desires, but it does require attentive and consistent training.

Corgis shed like crazy and they shed year round… More than you could imagine a dog of such short stature could possibly generate! If you love white dog hairs on your black sweaters, this is the dog for you!

Corgis are prone to obesity (being both efficient fuel burners and legendary chow hounds) and there are other breed-specific health risks to know about.

And as with any pet, (but even more so!) if a corgi’s mental, physical and social activity needs are neglected, they can develop behavior problems or put their energy into destructive “projects” of their own.

There are many other questions not covered here (How are corgis with kids? Do they get along with other dogs? …cats? etc.) which can’t be attributed to the breed as much as to the individual, but it would pay to talk to corgi owners (and take a look at the comments on this blog post) to get input on these kinds of questions.

Although I’ve noted negatives here, this post certainly isn’t intended to scare anyone off corgis or even to be a comprehensive list of pros and cons. (Pros include words like smart, furry, friendly, smiling, hilarious, adorable, absolutely FUN best friend). It’s just a note to encourage anyone who is considering buying or rescuing a corgi (or any dog breed) to do your homework first!

When it comes to corgis:
If you love dog hair… If you can cope with a little barking… If you are willing to socialize and train a natural herder… If you have a good home and (preferably fenced) yard… AND you have lots of active time to spend with a humorous, affectionate, alert and brilliant dog… take a look at these resources (and others) to get started on your research!


6 responses to “The good the bad and the hairy: Get the inside scoop on corgi ownership

  1. Socialization with humans and other dogs is also important. Corgis can be very protective of their owners and can get a little mean towards other humans and animals when they haven’t had a chance to be around others. Make sure you take your corgi to a dog park as many chances as you get so they can make lots of new friends. Dogs and humans alike!

  2. My Corgi girl is a sweetheart and loves everyone and other dogs. Her biggest downfall by far is the shedding, it is unreal, but you learn to deal with it. I find a trim, bath and brushing the groomer helps. She is a sassy little thing and stubborn! We love her!

  3. Courtney Bagnell

    My husband and I absolutely LOVE our Sampson, however I have to agree with the article, these wiggle bottoms aren’t for everyone. We got Sam from a friend as a puppy and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. His personality is beyond hilarious and at times we find ourselves attempting to have a conversation with him. His stubborn demeanor just makes him all the more charming and training never has a dull moment. It once took 3 hours to teach him to shake, only because he didn’t see why he had to “fake introductions” with his people just to get a cookie. The hair IS never ending which is why I gave up bathing him at home years ago… by the time I was done bathing him, then myself, then my bathroom and FINALLY unclogging the drain, I realized that $25 for the groomer was MORE than worth it. His low-rider stature used to cause us grief, since all that time and hard work getting him handsome was erased in a matter of minutes. Forget wiping paws after a rain storm, a full under-carriage job is more like it. We wouldn’t trade Sam for anything and feel that people should consider themselves lucky when a Corgi wiggles into their lives.

  4. Ah yes, the person who invents the automatic corgi undercarriage wash is really going to get rich!

  5. If we can create a demand for Corgi hair sweaters, maybe we will all become rich! To cope with the shedding I bought two Roomba robot vacuum cleaners (pet series 590) at Costco, one for home and one for the office. The series I bought has to be unclogged every couple weeks, but it vacuums for an hour every day. which seems to keep dog hair off the carpet. (I subsequently bought stock in the company.) I think a new improved pet series version is now available. Another purchase was a medium size Furminator dog brush – those things are expensive but they work, store it carefully so the fine teeth don’t get broken.

    Regarding barking:, Buddy is the quietest dog I’ve ever been around! He is almost as silent as a ghost. Sometimes I will go looking for him and call and then realize he’s been standing right behind me. . He can be expressive, but his job is to be an office dog and barking is never allowed inside a building. (A few growls are heard inside my house when he hears another dog walking on the road in front of my house, but no outright barking in the house.) Background: I got him when he was about five months old. For the first couple days he seemed nervous because mom and dad were not around, but by day three he began to bark to declare his canine authority over a two block area. So every day for a couple weeks we walked the perimeter of the property and he quickly learned his territory ends at the decorative fence. No barking problem since. These corgis are smart.

    That’s not to say they cannot express themselves. Today at a bank he would not roll over for a bank teller holding a dog biscuit. Finally I went over and hand signaled him down and roll over. He let out a statement “rrrrrgghhghghghgh” meaning “This is so demeaning” and rolled over. A few weeks ago I was driving south on South Willson and heard a “aaarrooowwoooooooo” which translates as “you missed the turn to Cooper Park!”

  6. Great comments, Steve! I know what you mean about Cooper Park. If we don’t get rich on corgi fur sweaters, maybe we can harness the finely tuned CPS (Corgi Positioning System) for the betterment of mankind!

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