At 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder and 27 to 30 pounds, a well-built male Pembroke presents a big dog in a small package. Short but powerful legs, muscular thighs, and a deep chest equip him for a hard day’s work. Built long and low, Pembrokes are surprisingly quick and agile. They can be red, sable, fawn, and black and tan, with or without white markings. The Pembroke is a bright, sensitive dog who enjoys play with his human family and responds well to training. As herders bred to move cattle, they are fearless and independent. They are vigilant watchdogs, with acute senses and a “big dog” bark. Families who can meet their bold but kindly Pembroke’s need for activity and togetherness will never have a more loyal, loving pet.
In medieval times, the kings of Europe advertised their majesty to their subjects and visiting emissaries by the richness of their possessions. Carpets, textiles, and tapestries were important factors in these displays of conspicuous consumption.
The era’s best weavers were centered in Flanders, now northern Belgium. It was common for monarchs to stage talent raids to induce Flemish weavers to relocate to their kingdoms. So it was that in the year 1107, Henry I of Britain invited a community of these master craftsmen to live and work in southwestern Wales. The weavers accepted Henry’s invitation and brought all they needed to re-create their agrarian way of life in their new homeland. This included the dogs they bred to herd cattle and sheep. These sturdy, short-legged herders were the foundation for the breed we now know as the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
The Pembroke has been a distinctly separate breed from his cousin the Cardigan Welsh Corgi since the late 1800s, but the two breeds often intermingled in the old Welsh breeding centers of Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire. Today, the most noticeable differences between the breeds are the ears (the Pembroke’s are pointed and erect, the Cardi’s rounded) and the tail (the Cardi tale is much longer than the Pembroke’s).
The world’s most famous Pembroke fan is Elizabeth II. The queen got her first Pembroke, Dookie, in 1933 and has not been without one or more since.