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Our Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Kerouac

An Interview with a Pembroke Welsh Corgi Owner

A very big thanks goes out to Bryan Atkins from Pennsylvania, USA, for sharing his story with us.

Interview by Sean Smith

Can you tell me a little about your Pembroke Welsh Corgi?

Kerouac is a healthy, neutered, two year old Corgi. We got him in 2013 from a small family that was breeding them on their farm in upstate New York. Kerouac is a very lively and social dog, wanting the attention of everyone in the house.

He will often sleep on the end of my parents’ bed, and wait outside of a room if there is someone in it. Kerouac’s social personality is probably what makes him such a fun dog.

How easy was he to train?

Kerouac was surprisingly easy to train. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are intelligent dogs, and are often eager to learn.

He quickly picked up a lot of the basic commands: sit, stay, lay down, and yield. We only had to take him to one obedience class, just to have a base to start off of.

Housebreaking him was even easier, we did not have a lot of trouble getting Kerouac to go to the bathroom outside. Corgis are overall pretty easy dogs to train.

How much exercise does he need?

Despite their size, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi need a decent amount of regular exercise to maintain their health, because they are fairly prone to weight gain. We take Kerouac on walks every other day.

It’s important to stay wary of your Corgi while walking it, however, as they can easily become overheated.

Regular exercise also helps to maintain Kerouac’s energy. If you want a Corgi, make sure you can make time to meet its health demands.

Does he have a particular doggy smell?

Kerouac does not have a very obnoxious doggy smell. He will on occasion begin to smell bad if he got something in his coat or if he has not been bathed recently.

We give Kerouac a bath every month, and sometimes twice if he has gotten especially dirty. For the most part the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a clean dog, because their coat repels a lot of dirt and they are constantly shedding. If you have a problem with bad smelling dogs, get a Corgi.

Does he shed?

The downside to Corgis’ great coats is how much they shed. Kerouac is constantly shedding, and twice a year will shed very heavily. This hefty, biannual shedding is most commonly referred to as “blowing”.

We have gotten used to having the vacuum on hand to deal with the constant mess of shed hair Kerouac leaves in his wake.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a very cute dog breed, but they require a lot of work to keep up with all that hair.

Does he bark much?

Kerouac is a very excitable dog, and thus, very verbal. He’ll bark at just about anything that interests him.

Corgis being natural herding dogs, they have a tendency to alert anything within earshot of something unusual, even if it’s just a squirrel.

Kerouac’s barking is funny if anything else, but can become a bit of a nuisance, especially if there are guests over. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a breed that can be trained to be quiet, but for the most part they are not dogs suitable for low volume environments.

What is he like around other dogs?

Corgis are friendly and social dogs. Kerouac is very good around dogs. He will run to greet any new dogs, barking them and inviting them to play with him.

Kerouac is not very aggressive, but given his excess energy he can get a bit out of hand while playing with other dogs.

On occasion Kerouac will get a bit too excited and nip at another dog, but for the most part he can coexist with other dogs very well. Corgis are natural herding dogs, so they may try to herd other dogs.

Do you have any other pets besides dogs?

The only other pets my family has besides our dogs are our two cats, which we already had when we got Kerouac.

He was curious about the cats at first, but soon learned to peacefully coexist with them. We often find Kerouac sleeping with our cats or on occasion being cleaned by them.

If you have other pets and are worried about how introducing a new dog into the house will affect them, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are easy dogs to work with.

How is he around children?

Kids love to be around Kerouac. I have siblings of multiple ages (4, 10 and 19), so there are often kids around the house. Kerouac loves to see new faces in the house, and will run to greet them.

His size makes him ostensibly less intimidating or threatening to smaller children. Corgis being herding dogs, they were not bred to be aggressive. If you want a dog that is good around children, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a good choice. 

The only downside to Corgis and children is the Corgi's attempt to herd little kids.  It's actually very funny, but Kerouac will try to nip at my little sister's ankles.  She's not happy about it, but Kerouac is just trying to put her in the place where he wants her to be.

Is he a fussy eater?

Kerouac is anything but a fussy eater, which has almost become a problem for my family. Corgis are prone to weight gain due to their unnatural body shapes and their excessive appetite.

My family has taken this into account by not leaving any food where Kerouac can reach it. Kerouac’s appetite has not been much of a problem aside from this, and it has made picking a suitable dog food much easier, as he will eat almost any.

Corgis are good dogs but it is important to maintain a good diet for them so as to maintain their health.

How long does it take to groom him?

Kerouac is not a very difficult dog to groom, given his size. All Corgis need regular brushing to remove their shed fur and keep their coats looking good, but they do not require much grooming beyond this.

We only have to bathe and clip Kerouac’s nails about once a month. One thing to keep in mind with grooming a Corgi is their ears, being as large as they are it is important to keep them clean.

We brush out Kerouac’s coat about twice a week, and every other day when he is shedding heavily. Overall, Corgis are fairly easy dogs to groom.

Any special personality quirks?

Kerouac’s energy and his social personality make him such a funny dog. Whenever you sit down in the house, you will soon find that Kerouac will be coming to plop down next to you, or on your lap.

He can get a bit greedy with his need for affection, however, becoming impatient when he isn’t getting enough attention. At the same time, he is very playful and loves to play catch or go on walks. He has a fun personality that far exceeds his size.

Any other advice for people interested in getting one of these dogs?

Corgis are pretty easy going dogs in comparison to other breeds, however, their health concerns are all the same.

It is very important to maintain good health with Corgis because their breed is more prone to certain ailments than others. Making sure they receive the right amount of exercise and are fed a proper diet is crucial to keeping them well.

If you are capable of meeting the necessities that come with it, I definitely recommend getting a Corgi.

Considering the Addition of a Corgi to Your Household?

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