With the upcoming royal wedding, there are symbols of the British monarchy adorning coffee mugs, teacups, T-shirts, and more, but there isn’t a more unofficial symbol of Queen Elizabeth and the house of Windsor than a Welsh Corgi. Last week, as part of the promotion of the Lifetime movie, Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance, they held a “Corgi Court” in Herald Square in New York City with a pack of Corgis dressed as the royals, complete with a Prince Harry groom and a Meghan Markle bride wearing their finest, reported People.
Corgis (or Corgwn in Welsh, Corgi is Welsh for ‘dwarf dog’) come in two varieties, Pembroke and Cardigan, and there are subtle differences, but mainly they can be identified because Cardigans have a German shepherd-type tail.
Queen Elizabeth has been a Corgi fancier for most of her life, and her Corgis were all of the Pembroke variety. The queen and her sister, Margaret, had Corgis and Daschunds and bred a few together to create what they called “Dorgis.”
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America says that the breed was first recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1934, but Corgis have been around for centuries.
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Clifford Hubbard, known as the authority on Welsh dog breeds, says that Corgis can be traced back to the 10th century as herding dogs.
“The Corgi most certainly dated back to the early twelfth century and probably to the reign of Hywel Dda, King of Wales, in the early tenth century.”
Traditionally, Corgis are known as cattle herding dogs, but through British history, they have been livestock herding and guard dogs, mixed in with everything from chickens to horses. The short stature of the Corgi makes them a natural around horses as they dive down when they herd, easily avoiding a kick with a hoof.
Iris Combe, a Corgi authority, says that the breed was a go-to on British farms.
“They still retain this easy adaptability to manage all different sorts of livestock, from poultry, cattle or pigs. On the whole, they can be used for most any purpose on the farm, though as a sheepherder they are not as suitable as collies, corgis being too sharp and excitable for sheep. They have even been used as gun dogs on both feather and fur and they are most efficient ratters.”
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Corgis are smart and active dogs, known for being big dogs in small, stocky bodies. They are good pets and excellent companions, and due to their smaller stature, can live in an apartment or on an estate (they do prefer a yard, though). Nest says that like most intelligent dogs, they need an outlet for their energy. In other words, like most working dogs, they want a job.
As seen in many situations with Queen Elizabeth, Corgis are social and can be boisterous in a pack. Nest suggests that it’s best to keep your Corgi busy.
“Without ample physical and mental stimulation, a corgi might entertain his boredom with some mischief and destructiveness. ”
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Author and illustrator Tasha Tudor was perhaps second to Queen Elizabeth as the best known Corgi enthusiast, capturing her own Corgis in art and children’s books like Corgiville Fair, and The Great Corgiville Kidnapping, says The Daily Corgi editor Laura Eno. When she was alive, Tudor lived a simple life on her Vermont farm with her very own pack of Corgis to challenge that of the monarch.
To Tudor, there was no other breed.
“There is no other dog that can compare to a Corgi. They’re the epitome of beauty.”