Health Problems of Pembroke Welsh Corgis

by on October 3rd, 2010
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A herding dog, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi (Pembroke) breed is believed to have originated from Pembrokeshire, Wales. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are generally healthy dogs. However, just as any breed they do have a few health issues. If you give your Pembroke good care, though, she can live from 12 to 15 years.

Basic Traits of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are easily trainable and make good family dogs if they’re socialized with children while they’re young puppies. They come in colors of sable, red, fawn, black or tan, with adult Corgis weighing between 24 to 28 pounds. Highly intelligent, Pembrokes are alert, friendly, self-confident, active, sturdily built and strong. As they’re wary of strangers, they serve as ideal guard dogs, but also get along well with other household pets such as cats.

Pembrokes and Cardigans

Many people consider Pembrokes and Cardigan Welsh Corgis to be the same dog, although they’re actually two different breeds. However, they share basically the same health concerns. For example, while Pembrokes enjoy running and playing outside, Cardigans are more standoffish and reserved with strangers, yet they’re just as loyal and eager to please their owners as Pembrokes.

Corgi Eye Problems

Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), also known as progressive retinal degeneration (PRD) refers to the name for canine progressive eye disease that lead to blindness. A genetic disorder, PRA was first discovered in early 1900s in Gordon Setters. Affecting other breeds besides corgis, PRA involves the nerve receptors known as rods and cods in the retina tissue located in the back of the eye. PRA is first noticed by a change in a dog’s personality such as not wanting to go down a dark hallway or downstairs, suggesting night blindness. Vision improves during daylight hours. Pupils dilate as the disease progresses.

Shine condition – Pembroke owners need to watch for their dogs developing a cloudy look in the eye known as “shine.” To confirm a diagnosis, schedule an eye (ophthalmoscopic) examination. This condition may develop in various breeds at different times of their lives.

Hip Dysplasia in Corgis

Hip dysplasia results in pain and limits movement. A genetic disease, hip dysplasia is caused by a hip joint that develops abnormally. Hip cartilage becomes damaged, losing its thickness and elasticity, resulting in inflammation spreading from the joint to nearby tissues. Obvious signs of the disease include a dog limping and showing pain when walking or from getting up from a reclining position.

Cutaneous Asthenia

Cutaneous asthenia (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or dermatosparaxis) involves defective connective tissue with skin that is loose, stretchy, exceptionally fragile and easily damaged. The condition also affects skin blood vessels. A genetic disorder, cutaneous asthenia is caused by a reduction in collagen. Skin tearing can occur with the slightest contact. Corgis affected with this disorder should avoid rough surfaces and have their nails clipped regularly.


Monorchidism is a rare condition in male Pembrokes in which a dog has only one testicle. This is not to be confused with another condition known as unilateral cyptorchidism (one-sided testicle) where there are both testicles, however only one doesn’t descend to the scrotum. Males with this disorder shouldn’t be bred.

Although both Pembrokes and Cardigans can live up to 15 years, one of the greatest health threats from prevents these breeds from living long is being overweight. Because Corgis have short stubby legs, they need to get plenty of exercise to avoid obesity. Besides exercise, owners need to be careful to not over feed their dogs.

Although these dogs can experience special health problems, don’t let this discourage you from adopting a Welsh Pembroke Corgi. By giving your Pembroke special proper care and much love you’ll be rewarded with a faithful friend that brings much joy to you and your family.

Orginally published on Suite 101.

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