Were Corgis ever really working dogs?

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by cliffdog, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. cliffdog

    cliffdog New Member

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    Please, Corgi people, don't attack me. :eek:

    This entry on Terrierman's blog got me thinking. http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2011/04/working-corgi.html
    He makes some good points and I was looking to see what others thought about it.

    I like Corgis; they aren't for me, but I often wish they were because I think their personalities are to die for. They are well loved and obviously are not a failure as a pet breed. But what about a working breed?

    I hear lots of folks talk about the storied history of the little heel-nipping Corgi dogs, but is it true? There are many "working" breeds with a falsified history. Is the Corgi one of them?

    Does anyone know of a Corgi that truly herds with as much aptitude and skill as one of the more popular herding choices such as the Border Collie (yes, I know their style of herding is different)?

    A lot of the Corgi videos I've seen of "herding" does appear to be, as Terrierman mentions, simply "worrying" of the herd.
     
  2. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Friend of mine has working BCs and Cardigan Corgis. They all herd. Not just be "instinct tested" on a couple sheep but actually working her small flock daily and helping friends with their flocks periodically. Unlike the BCs, the Corgis don't run herding tests but since they run ABCA tests the Corgis uhh wouldn't exactly fit in!

    She especially gets out the Corgis for new ewes that have an attitude problem. One of here Corgis in particular has a force of will that is not to be reckoned with, and even the most cantankerous sheep will back down quickly and go where directed.

    They are definitely different working styles and I think it's harder to find a decent working Corgi but they do exist. Seen 'em. Cardigans anyway...don't know about Pembrokes.
     
  3. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    I'd be careful before you take his blog as a bible.

    Yes Corgis have their origin and I too know several who work trials at my coworkers lot. One we train with is from "real" stock and that dog is a total dick but it's good at telling livestock off.
     
  4. cliffdog

    cliffdog New Member

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    I would never take anything 'as bible' written by someone who considers Purina the best dog food ever made. ;) But for the most part I agree with his opinions on working dogs.

    That's cool to hear. As an aside, if anyone has any videos of Corgis doing some serious herding, it would be great if they could share. Or old photographs of Corgis, just because old dog photos interest me a lot.
     
  5. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    I swear that's the Corgi niche. They can herd but they especially excel with problem livestock lol. Never Back Down seems to be the Corgi motto ;)

    I have any vid but there's a thread here with old pictures of various dog breeds, and one of the posts has some Corgis. Post 18
    http://chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=173344&highlight=queen+old
     
  6. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    I'll ask my corgi friends.

    If it isn't a jack that guy doesn't like it, I long ago stopped reading his drivel. Especially because of his distain for the pit bull so it's no shock he's going after another breed questioning it's validity.
     
  7. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    For interest:
    (Okay, WTF happened?? lol)

    So, they were never strictly herding dogs.

    Just like the wheaten terrier was actually a herding dog but never strictly. Those small islands were only allowed one dog usually by law and that dog had to do many jobs. Wheatens were everything a farm would want, it appears corgis were as well.

    More comedy:
    Every corgi I know is a total chowhound. LOL
     
  8. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Because shorter legs on a normal-sized dog totally makes the dog eat less :rofl1:
     
  9. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I think that the idea they were selected for short legs so they would be harder to kick is a myth. I suspect the short legs (dwarfism) just happened and the dogs worked fine and were smaller, so cheaper to keep. Ziggy does eat less than my Belgians for sure.


    Herding isn't as straight forward as "do they work as well as a BC but with a different style"? That is kind of like asking if Brittanys work as well as Labs but with a different style - they are bred for similar purpose but different jobs. BC style herding and GSD style herding for example are so extremely different, that a good GSD may seem like a horrible herding dog if being evaluated/worked in a typical modern manner by BC people. And a GSD who is great at the type of small flock, farm herding most people today train for may not be a great GSD herding-wise. It's not a matter of style, it's that the jobs were so different that the you can take 3 different herding breeds and have 3 very, very different approaches to herding.

    This is a response to Terrierman's blog about corgis, including a video of a working Cardigan in Sweden.

    http://www.prickeared.com/blog/2011/04/15/what-working-corgis/
     
  10. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Do you know if there were any laws that effected the size of the corgi? Like with the wheaten it was originally to look similar to a wolfhound which only nobility could legally own (due to size).
     
  11. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Great blog post! Sobering to think of the effect of modernization on all our working breeds though. The job openings are relatively few and far between anymore.
     
  12. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I have never heard that in reference to Corgis. The Corgi breeds are ancient though, so their early history is not really known.
     
  13. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Thanks, just curious!
     
  14. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    You should read his opinions about companion breeds.
     
  15. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    The horror! God forbid we have some good family pets.
     
  16. cliffdog

    cliffdog New Member

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    Excellent, thanks very much! Great stuff.

    Thanks for all of the answers.
     
  17. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    Cor with a circumflex actually means choir in Welsh, if that helps ;)
     
  18. Sit Stay

    Sit Stay Not a Border Collie

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    My herding trainer hosted a herding trial for the Canadian Cardigan Corgi Club not too long ago and I was lucky enough to go watch. What a blast! It was awesome to see them work and boogie - as a kid I had a Vallhund that we would show with some Cardi people, so I only ever saw them in a conformation setting. There was a little bit of variety in the breed (a few really dainty bitches I wanted to take him!) but for the most part they were quick, drives little dogs that didn't waste much time with the sheep. I could totally see myself with one.
     
  19. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    i'm gonna call BS on this
    1. the original IW of legend was a true heavy sighthound that came in both wire & smooth coat (as can be seen on celtic period art) but NOT long & fluffy
    2. by the time the modern IW was created there were no laws restricting who could own what breed of dog beyond the nation wide ban on bulldogs in britain
     
  20. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    My great Aunt has one of the most prestigious Quarter Horse/cattle ranches in Texas, and her livestock is EXCLUSIVELY worked by a hilarious gang of Corgis. Including Gramps who is at least 15 by now. Hers are the first Corgis I met and loved. :) Those dogs are absolutely tough, fiery working dogs. They do much more than worry the cattle, they drive them out every day without being told to, because they know that's their job.

    Corgis are drovers, so to people not familiar with herding, it might look like they're doing nothing but barking and harassing. They are supposed to spread the livestock out to graze, not gather them like Border Collies. I've heard people speculate about whether or not Corgis were meant to be dwarfs. But anyone with a Corgi knows how insanely nimble they are and able to turn literally on a dime, so I'm convinced that form does follow function. Fozzie is amazing at dodging the nips of Border Collies.

    It's sad that so many Corgis, Pembrokes in particular, are incredibly watered down by pet and show breeders. They've become very popular with puppy mills/BYBs and most of the Pemmies I meet are submissive and soft as heck... although I love them all the same, a Corgi should never be a pushover.
     

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