About The Pembroke Corgi

An introduction to this beautiful Pastoral breed


Reproduced by kind permission of the Kennel Club. Additional notes, for more in-depth guidance, are provided by the Welsh Corgi League in red lettering.  Images appear by kind permission of Juliana du Pree. (copyright).

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance, including the correct colour, of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential.

General Appearance
Low set, strong, sturdily built, alert and active, giving the impression of substance and stamina in small space.

Developed to herd cattle in remote west Wales, this breed should appear to be tough, hardy, and resilient. Though relatively few are now used for the job they were bred for, the breed should at least give the impression that they still possess the structural and temperamental characteristics which would enable them to work with challenging stock over difficult terrain if required. The impression should be of a robust, agile, low-set dog, (able to weave in and out and avoid the kick of a cow) which still retains the ground clearance necessary to enable free movement over rough ground.


Bold in outlook, workmanlike.


Outgoing and friendly, never nervous or aggressive.

The breed should appear intelligent and alert, with a kind, steady, confident temperament. They must appear to possess the strength of character needed to deal with difficult livestock.

Head and Skull

Head foxy in shape and appearance, with alert intelligent expression, skull fairly wide and flat between ears, moderate amount of stop. Length of fore face in proportion to skull as 3 is to 5. Muzzle slightly tapering. Nose black.


Well set, round, medium size, brown, blending with colour of coat.

In practice, it is difficult to see how the eye colour can blend satisfactorily with a fawn coat, for example, and a darker brown eye is preferred so as to avoid a harsh staring expression. The eye should neither be small or deep-set, which would give an ungenerous expression, nor large and protruding, which would be at greater risk of injury during the course of the dog’s work. Eye rims should be close fitting, black and fully pigmented.


Pricked, medium sized, slightly rounded at the tip. Line drawn from tip of nose through eye should, if extended, passed through or close to the tip of the ear. 

In practice, a slightly larger ear is preferable to a smaller ear, which tends to spoil the expression. Extending the line through the nose, eye and ear and joining it between the two ears should give the suggestion of an equilateral triangle if the proportions of the head are correct.


Jaw is strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, that is the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaw. 

Lips fully pigmented in black; tight with well-developed underjaw. Overshot, Undershot, Level and Wry bites are considered very serious faults.


Fairly long.

Not the most descriptive part of the standard. What is wanted is enough reach of neck to provide flexibility and balance, blending smoothly into well-laid shoulders. Short stuffy necks and long swan necks are both incorrect.


Lower legs short and straight as possible, forearm moulded round chest. Ample bone, carried right down to feet. Elbows fitting closely to sides, neither loose nor tied. Shoulder is well laid and angulated at 90° to the upper arm.

The forehand is perhaps the most difficult part of the Pembroke to get right, both for judges and breeders alike.  To achieve balance the forehand should be set well back and the centre of gravity should be underneath the withers (the tips of the shoulder blades).  In practice the shoulder blade should be laid at an angle of 45° against the rib cage with the upper arm, which moulds around the rib cage, positioned at an angle of 90° to the shoulder blade. This correct assembly positions the elbow closely against the rib cage and directly underneath the withers. The result is that the dog stands well under itself.  Prominent or tied-in elbows are usually suggestive of a less than ideal forehand. The bone is oval and there is no appreciable ankle joint. ‘Legs short and straight as possible’ should not be interpreted as short as possible. This is a moderate herding breed and ground clearance is a necessity. 


Medium length, well sprung ribs, not short coupled, slightly tapering when viewed from above. Level top line, chest broad and deep, well let-down between the forelegs.

The Pembroke ribcage is oval, never round nor slab sided, and should be carried well back to provide ample room for the functioning of the heart and lungs and support for the spinal column. The length of a Pembroke should always be in the rib cage and not the loin, though a small amount of loin is necessary to provide flexibility. The prosternum, or portion of the rib cage in front of the fore legs, will almost always be well developed, and have sufficient depth, in a mature dog with the correct forehand assembly and ribbing.


Strong and flexible, well angulated stifle. Legs short, ample bone carried right down to feet. Hocks straight when viewed from behind.

In a correctly constructed Pembroke angulation in rear will mirror the angulation in forehand, so in practice the angle between femur and tibia should be 90 degrees, the same as between shoulder and upper arm. This provides balance fore and aft. 


Oval, toes strong, well arched and tight, the two centre toes slightly in advance of the two outer toes, pads strong and well arched, nails short.

The feet should face forwards when the Pembroke is both stationery and in motion.


Previously customarily docked short.

Undocked: set in-line with the topline. Natural carriage which may be above or below the topline when moving or alert.

Natural bobtails may occur, when the tail can be of any length, carried above or below topline when moving or alert.

The bobtail gene has always been present in the breed, such puppies must receive Veterinary certification shortly after birth. The tail length varies from several joints to just a pad of fat.  Docking in the UK was made illegal in 2007, however Pembrokes docked legally overseas may still be shown at the majority of UK shows.


Free and active, neither loose nor tied.  Forelegs move well forward without too much lift in unison with thrusting action of hind legs.

The Pembroke corgi is built for endurance and stamina, not great speed. What is required is an efficient, ground-covering, tireless gait.  Propulsion is provided by the hindquarters and the energy generated is transmitted up through the muscles and nerves of the strong spinal column, before being accepted by the forehand and converted into forward reach. Viewed in profile we want to see a smooth, effortless, coordinated ground-covering gait; the well-angulated hindquarters are brought well under the dog to generate propulsion, there should be no visible bouncing or give over the top line and the forequarters should reach out well in front. There should be no exaggerated kickback behind or excessive lift of the feet in front.... we are looking for a low, efficient ground covering stride. Viewed from the front the forelegs do not move in a parallel plane but incline slightly towards an imaginary centre line. This is because of the moulding of the upper arm around the ribcage. The feet should not turn in or out. Crossing, single tracking, flicking and travelling wide in front are all incorrect. The rear pasterns move in parallel; toeing in, toeing out and travelling close or wide behind is incorrect. The whole impression must be an efficient, energy-conserving, effortless motion.


Medium length, straight with dense undercoat, never soft, wavy or Wiry.

This is a true double coat, developed to protect the Pembroke from the worst of the Welsh weather. Long, open coats with exaggerated furnishings (similar to that of a Shetland Sheepdog and known as fluffy coats) are a very serious fault in the show-ring.  


Self colours in Red, Sable, Fawn, Black and Tan, with or without white markings on legs, brisket and neck. Some white on head and foreface permissible.

In practice it would be extremely unusual to see a black and tan without white markings and this three-way colour pattern is referred to as tricolour. Tricolour Pembrokes may be either red-headed or (the more unusual) black-headed; the latter are characterised by tan eyebrow pips and black markings on the inner ear-tips. Both variants are equally acceptable under the standard and should be judged as such. Colours such as blue, blue merle, brindle and the like are never acceptable in the Pembroke and should be treated as a very serious fault in the show-ring. White markings on the neck should not extend beyond the withers and those on the legs should not extend higher than elbow level. Facial white markings should never predominate and should not touch the eyes. Some Pembrokes have pale Urajiro (cream) shadings on the face and this is acceptable. It is important to be able to distinguish between white and Urajiro when assessing facial markings.


Height: approximately 25-30 cms (10-12 ins) at shoulder. Weight: dogs: 10-12 kgs (22-26 lbs); bitches: 9-11 kgs (20-24 lbs).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effects on the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work. 


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum. 

Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which will be detrimental in any way to the health welfare or soundness of this breed.
From time-to-time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the breed-watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesired or highly undesirable, it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the showring.

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