ForPaws Corgi Rescue

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Getting Started:
General Information about
Corgis and Corgi Rescue

by Kathy Miller, ForPaws

Is a Corgi right for you?

Corgis are so adorable that people sometimes think they're sweet little fluffballs. Well, they are sweet and they are fluffballs — but they're also herding dogs and many have a surprisingly assertive personality. People call them "a big dog in a small dog's body."

Remember that Corgis were bred to herd cattle. They are strong-minded and need to be dealt with with the same level of control you would expect if you were dealing with a 70 pound German Shepherd. You wouldn't let a dog that size get away with growling and refusing to get off the couch when you ask it to. It is equally important with a Corgi.

Breed selector

When adopting any dog, it's important to do a little research. We think it's especially important when adopting a herding breed and we take great pains to help you evaluate how a given dog will fit your family and lifestyle.We suggest you begin with a breed selector such as

Even if you are sure you want a Corgi, a selector such as this helps you focus on what matters to you.

Corgis can be hard to find

Corgis, especially purebreds, are not nearly as available as many other breeds in the rescue community. While it is certainly not impossible to find purebreds for adoption, it may entail waiting for many, many months before one becomes available. I encourage you to register with the official breed rescue channels to widen your possibilities.

We are not currently accepting applications for purebreds, except from experienced Corgi owners.

Considering a mix

If you're open to adopting a Corgi mix, you open yourself to many more possibilities — and you get a terrific pet. In many cases, you get a dog approximately the size of a Corgi, with some of the Corgi features — and a Corgi personality! Corgi mixes make very, very nice pets. I know, I have one, as well as a purebred Cardigan Welsh Corgi and a purebred Pembroke Welsh Corgi! My rescue mix is the best and most beautiful dog I can imagine. I'm not trying to tell you which way to go — I just want to give you an idea of what goes on in the Corgi rescue community and what to realistically expect.

If you really want a purebred...

...then your best bet is probably a reputable breeder. There are also some Corgi rescue organizations that only work with purebreds. ForPaws works with purebreds and mixes.

Male or female?

Many people specify a female, thinking she will be less dominant and make a better pet. I was of the same impression when I first started searching for my own Corgi, as this is true with many dog breeds. As it happens, Corgis trick you here! The female in Corgis tends to be the more dominant gender. They are usually the "alpha" (pack leader) and as a result, they are more testing and a little more interested in having things their own way than the males.

I know this is somewhat unusual, as the male is the more dominant in many breeds, but with Corgis, the males are the "teddy bears."

If you are concerned about the inclination of a male to "mark" his territory, this is not a problem with a neutered male. Some who've been neutered very late in life (age five or over) may show more of a propensity to sniff and mark while outside, but they are not a housetraining problem at all! (This comes from personal experience. I've got a male Corgi/Aussie mix who was neutered at age five.)

The difficult cases

Many Corgis end up in rescue because they asserted themselves with their owners and the owner didn't know what to do. If the dog is allowed to remain in charge, the situation escalates and the dog can become quite unruly and in some cases, even aggressive.

Many of the Corgis that end up in rescue, purebreds in particular, need some remedial work. They need to be taught "good manners" and clearly shown that their role and position in the pack hierarchy is under that of the owner. This is work that often needs to be done by someone experienced with Corgis and/or the temperament of an assertive herding breed, or there may not be much hope for the dog in the long run.

Sadly, many Corgis are put down when they reach a point at which the owner can't control them. In many cases these dogs might have been saved if they'd had the opportunity to work with someone more familiar with the breed and some effective techniques in handling an assertive Corgi. (Note: None of these techniques ever include physically or emotionally abusive tactics. Corgis are extremely smart dogs and respond to positive praise for behaviors well done, versus any sort of punishment. We do not advocate punishment, or working with professional trainers who use punishment as a technique where Corgis or Corgi mixes are concerned.)

This remedial work is not easy work in some cases, and may even be dangerous if approached without proper caution and knowledge. This is why we sometimes seem to be incredibly choosy about those who adopt dogs from us. We are very aware that some of these dogs have already had one experience in which the match between dog and owner wasn't the right one for either party. We really try to ensure that the same sort of mismatch doesn't happen again.

How we match dogs and owners

We make every attempt to evaluate the dogs in our care on an individual basis. We usually have a pretty good idea as to which ones are a bit more assertive and which ones are more submissive and mild mannered. If we see, from reviewing your application and talking with you about your former experiences with dogs, that you have had relatively little experience with a very dominant personality, but are interested in a dog with a very dominant temperament, we will counsel you to reconsider your position and explain why, based on our knowledge and assessment of the dog in question. This is part of the service that a potential adopter should expect from any rescuer.

Other Corgi rescue organizations Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club lists rescue contacts, by region Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America: Click on the Rescue link

Learning more about Corgis

If you'd like to learn a little more about Corgis and see some great pictures of them, we recommend: Breed selector helps you find breeds that match your life and your wants. An excellent reference that will tell you all about many breeds of dogs, including the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Devoted to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Corgi-L (a very active Corgi list server) home page Homepage for the breeder from whom I got my Cardigan, Kenai. They breed Cardis and Pems so you can see some great pictures of each! Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America


See our Reading List for general dog books and books about Corgis.


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