The Versatile Corgi
Corgis are truly versatile and very trainable! They love to learn and, while they do not take kindly to being drilled, they respond well to positive reinforcement in a varied regimen of tasks.
While their short legs present special challenges in some disciplines, their “big-dog” attitude and unflagging sense of humour, combined with natural agility and a big heart, enable them to conduct themselves well in a variety of performance arena.
The Pembroke is a recognized breed throughout the world and competes in conformation shows on most, if not all, continents. A crowd-pleasing favorite due to its showmanship, the Pembroke has been a serious group and Best in Show contender for many years. Conformation judges compare dogs against a written breed standard and evaluate their type and soundness. Many dogs who have completed their conformation championships can also be found successfully competing in obedience, tracking and herding and when not at a show are usually pampered pets.
Bred originally for herding cattle, most corgis remain true to their roots, and demonstrate admirable instincts for working sheep, ducks, geese and cattle. Being short of stature often encourages our Corgis to forsake the subtlety engaged by the taller herding breeds, favouring instead a forthright and assertive approach to ensuring that the livestock respect their shorter working partner. Considering that herding training facilities are relatively scarce in this country, Corgis can still be seen successfully completing herding titles at various levels and in numerous venues.
Participing in agility for competition or pleasure can be really fun! Requiring the dog to run an obstacle course accompanied by its handler, all the while competing against the clock. The obstacle course is a scaled-down version of the course police or military dogs train on. Pembroke Welsh Corgis, along with Cardigan Welsh Corgis, dominate agility in their size class, and are as enthusiastic and competitive as Border Collies. Pems frequently love agility much more than obedience and can be found enthusiastically roaring through an agility course barking happily the whole way, or "yelling" at their owners to hurry up!
The Pembroke has a pleasant temperament. His intelligence and eagerness to please makes for a personable dog who is interested in learning, but sometimes not interested in repetitive training. The independence of his working dog lineage coupled with his innate intelligence means that he can get bored with an invariant training routine and therefore needs a variety of funny exercises to keep his interest in a task. Newer techniques using positive motivational methods and food training are ideal for the average Pembroke and have produced some very good obedience dogs. Patience, praise and variety are key to developing a solid obedience Corgi
Being low to the ground does help the nose work! While not always perceived as a natural tracking breed, Corgis do indeed have good scenting ability, and, with their inherent love of treats, can be relatively easy to train in this discipline. Once its job is understood, a tracking dog must work essentially on its own, with the handler’s role being only to read the dog and monitor its progress - and what a thrill it is to watch a Corgi follow a track through often challenging terrain and ground-cover, determined to find and indicate to its handler the article containing the tracklayer’s scent!
The Pembroke, due to his intelligence and eagerness to please, is a standout in many other areas of canine work. Pems are often used as Hearing Ear dogs, assisting owners afflicted with hearing impairments. They alert their owners to important sounds, similar to the way Seeing Eye dogs help their owners. Other Pembrokes have become Therapy Dogs, friends for older adults in nursing homes or hospitalized patients