Miniature CorgiJune 10, 2021 2021-06-11 2:09
If you have ever met a Miniature Corgi, you know just how adorable, smart and loyal these little guys are. In the past decade, little Corgis have become increasingly popular in North America and abroad. Let’s take a look at this unique breed and its traits.
Table of Contents
Origin & history of the Corgi
First and foremost, there is no such recognized breed as a Miniature Corgi. The recognized breeds of Corgi are the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. So-called Mini Corgis are just Corgis that have been bred to be smaller, but they are not genetically any different from regular-sized ones.
Cardigan Corgis and Pembroke Corgis are very similar dogs; the main difference is that Cardigans are slightly larger and they have different tails. The Cardigan’s tail is long and bushy, whilst the Pembroke’s tail is naturally short. Many Pembrokes also have their tails docked as the AKC’s breed standard requires it.
As their names would suggest, Welsh Corgis originate in Wales. The word Corgi means “dwarf dog” in Welsh. Both types of Corgi are descended from Spitz dogs. Their precise history origin is unknown because they have been in Wales for so long, but there are a few different possibilities and stories.
The lineage of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi can be traced back as far as 1107 AD. It is widely believed that the Flemish people brought the dogs with them when they migrated to Wales almost 700 years ago.
Ancient folklore, however, states that the dogs came from the fairy realm. According to legend, Corgis were used as warhorses for fairies, and one day, two children came across a fairy funeral. The mourning fairies gave them two Corgi puppies as a gift and the children took them home.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, on the other hand, is believed to have either come to Wales with the Celtic tribes who migrated from central Europe over 3,000 years ago or with the Vikings during their invasion of Britain in the late 8th century.
Whatever their origin, Welsh Corgis were originally used as guard dogs for farmland but went on to become cattle herders. They were officially registered as a breed with the UK Kennel Club in 1925, and the Cardigan and Pembroke were recognized separately ten years later. They also made their way to America in 1931, where they remain a popular breed today.
Corgis are famously Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite dogs. As of 2021, she has owned over 30 in her 69-year reign, beginning in 1952. Her love for the breed started when her father, King George VI, brought home a Corgi, whom they named Dookie, in 1933 when the queen was just 6 years old.
She began breeding her own Corgis when she became Queen and is said to have always had at least one at any given time since Dookie. The Queen ceased breeding dogs in 2015, as she did not want to leave any behind in the future when she passes away. Her final Corgi, Willow, passed in 2018.
The Modern Corgi
Nowadays, Corgis are still used as working dogs and often compete in dog sports that utilize their natural herding talents. They’re also kept as beloved pets by many and are one of the most popular dogs in the USA, ranking 13th out of 197 breeds according to the American Kennel Club. In fact, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco hold annual Corgi meetups in which hundreds of owners bring their dogs to spend the day together.
They are less popular in their home country, however, despite their association with the Queen. This is thought to be because they are seen as “old people’s dogs”. In 2006, Cardigan Corgis were added to the list of vulnerable native breeds by the UK Kennel Club, followed by Pembrokes in 2013.
The number of Pembrokes has since increased, however, and they were removed from the list three years later. Cardigans still remain vulnerable, but great efforts are being made by the Kennel Club to increase their numbers.
The Miniature Corgi
So-called miniature, micro, and teacup dogs are a fairly new phenomenon that has boomed in popularity in recent years due to their status as the perfect “purse dogs”. Although Mini Corgis are not a recognized breed on their own, they do exist.
Mini dogs were originally, and still can be, the result of two naturally tiny dogs breeding. With Corgis, this could be the result of a Corgi being crossbred with a smaller breed like a Chihuahua. However, the fashionability of miniature dogs has lead to many breeders resorting to unethical breeding tactics in order to create the smallest dogs possible. This includes breeding the runts of litters, inbreeding, and malnourishment.
Runts of the litter often have birth defects which is what makes them small, but this also means that their offspring are likely to be unhealthy. Similarly, inbreeding increases the risk of malformations and passing on genetic disorders, and malnourishment stunts skeletal growth and the development of internal organs.
For this reason, a lot of dog lovers advocate against buying miniature and teacup dogs (such as also the Mini Husky or the Teacup Chihuahua) as to not contribute to the fad and encourage bad breeding. Budding buyers should also beware that there are scam breeders that sell fake Miniature and Teacup puppies at extortionate prices, when they are in fact, regular pups that will grow up to be normal-sized.
Never buy dogs from anonymous online advertisements to avoid scammers and bad breeders. If you’re desperate for a Mini Corgi, do your research and only buy from highly-rated, reputable breeders or adopt from a rescue shelter. Always ask breeders for health documents and visit the pup in person if you can.
Mini Corgi breeding & puppyhood
Miniature Corgis tend to be born into litters of 2-4 puppies. They typically reach full size at around one year old, but it can take longer. Pregnancy can be difficult for Miniature Corgi mothers because of the pressure it puts on their tiny bodies.
Dystocia or difficult birth is common, and many Mini Corgi mothers end up undergoing cesarean sections. Breeders should familiarise themselves with the signs of dystocia in dogs and know where the nearest emergency vet hospital is just in case.
The average miniature Corgi stands at around 10-12 inches tall and weighs no more than 5 lbs.
They have thick, waterproof, double coats. Their fur is fairly short and straight but it sheds almost continuously. The most common coat colors are red and white, but they can be black and tan, black and white, sable, and fawn. Mini Cardigans can also be bridle and merle.
Corgis are long dogs with short legs, long noses, and upright, triangular ears. They have very expressive faces, big dreamy eyes, and beautiful markings. Common markings in Corgi coats include facial blazes and white on the neck, chest, stomach, legs, feet, and tail tips.
Mini Corgis have a lot of the typical personality traits associated with other herding dogs. They are very lively and playful with a good nature. They’re incredibly loyal to their owners and are very affectionate and sensitive with their families. Corgis are also very brave and protective of their loved ones, likely due to their working background.
Despite their fearless nature, they’re not known to be aggressive and are friendly towards strangers. In fact, they tend to be quite social and outgoing dogs, although they can be a little suspicious of dogs they have not met before. However, with plenty of early socialization and training, they can get along well with other dogs and other types of pets, too.
Like all herding dogs, Corgis are hard-working, headstrong, vocal, intelligent, and prone to anxiety, so daily life should be fulfilling to avoid destructive behaviors. Bored Corgis are known to exhibit destructive behaviors such as ripping up furniture out of frustration when their needs are not met.
Mini Corgis are highly trainable and eager to learn by nature. In fact, the Corgi ranked 11th in Stanley Coren’s famous work The Intelligence of Dogs, which tested and ranked dog breeds by intelligence.
However, with high intelligence comes a strong will and a low tolerance for boredom. To avoid stubborn behavior and prevent them from losing interest, training sessions should be kept short, consistent, fun, and positive. Undesirable behaviors like nipping and excessive barking should be caught early as herding dogs tend to form habits quickly.
It’s also essential to build a bond with your dog before you attempt training in order to make them eager to please you. Positive reinforcement should always be the dominant force and the use of a behavior marker will speed their learning up. Telling offs should be short, sharp, and non-physical.
Are Mini Corgis good family dogs?
Corgis love family life and make great family pets. They enjoy being involved in all aspects of family life, and seem to have an affinity with both children and older people.
That said, Mini Corgi pups do have a tendency to nip at ankles when they get overexcited due to their herding instincts. They can also be stubborn and get tenacious when they’re frustrated and are easily hurt because of their size. Because of this, they’re not recommended for families with little children.
Owners with children of any age looking to get a dog should teach their kids how to approach and interact with dogs. They should be taught not to approach a dog when they are eating until they have fully integrated into the household. Even then, some dogs, particularly rescue dogs, never grow out of resource guarding behaviors.
It’s also essential that children are taught to be gentle towards their dog, particularly physically, careful not to pull on whiskers, ears, or tails. and that dogs have feelings too. Kindness is important, too. Children should be discouraged from teasing behavior or anything that may upset or confuse a dog.
With plenty of exposure and socialization, Mini Corgis will get along well with other family dogs and pets. Because of their size, owners of big, boisterous, or clumsy dogs should be cautious about the compatibility with their pet with a miniature dog.
Do Mini Corgis bark a lot?
Mini Corgis and regular Corgis are known to bark and growl a lot. This is because they are herding dogs. Herding dogs are particularly vocal by nature because of their working background. It’s not necessarily bad, though. Sometimes barking and growling are misinterpreted as inherently negative or aggressive behaviors, but they can be part of play for herding dogs.
Owners shouldn’t tell their dogs off for growling or barking a little bit during play, as it is just their way of expressing themselves and joining in when part of a group. However, if the barking becomes excessive, owners can train their dogs to stop through stopping play whenever the barking becomes excessive. This way, dogs learn that the fun stops when the barking starts.
Excessive barking outside of play can be a sign of other things, such as boredom and separation anxiety.
Are Mini Corgis healthy?
Both regular Corgis and Mini Corgis have an average lifespan of 12 years. The majority of Corgis pass away from old age. They are generally healthy dogs, but all breeds are naturally more susceptible to certain conditions. Miniature Coris also come with their own separate health risks because of their size.
Those that have been bred using unethical practices run the risk of malformations, but miniature dogs, in general, are significantly more likely to break their bones and not survive things accidents and dog attacks. Even accidents within the home such as falling off of furniture and getting stepped on can be dangerous because of their fragile bones.
Because of their tiny bodies, Mini Corgis are also at a high risk of developing hypoglycemia. This is when the blood sugar can drop to a dangerous level. It can happen very quickly in such small dogs and can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms include weakness and tiredness, low mood, loss of appetite, impaired vision, tremors, fainting, and seizures.
Mini Corgi care
Mini Corgis can live in houses or apartments because of their size, but, as with all dogs, somewhere with an outside space is preferable. It is advised that owners safety-proof their homes as Mini dogs are extra vulnerable to injuries.
Miniature Corgis need around 30 minutes of physical exercise a day, preferably be split into two walks. They also need plenty of mentally stimulating play to prevent boredom and frustration from occurring. Corgis are also happiest when they have a job to do, so try to involve them in family life wherever possible.
Corgis need regular brushing. Their coats shed on a daily basis, with heavy shedding occurring in the transition from spring to summer and fall to winter. To remove loose fur and stop it from getting all over your home, you should brush your corgi every other day.
Because of their size, Mini Corgis don’t eat a lot of food; in fact, they only eat around 200 calories or ½ a cup – ¾ a cup of food per day. However, they can experience digestive issues, obesity, and low blood sugar very easily, so it’s essential that they are fed the right kind of food.
A Mini Corgi should be fed small meals every 4-5 hours and eat nutrient-rich kibble containing Karo syrup to prevent their blood sugar from dropping. Their diet should also consist of high-quality protein, healthy fats, and lots of fiber to prevent digestive issues. Food should also be size-appropriate to avoid choking.
Owners of dogs with sensitive tummies should try probiotic supplements and avoid any foods containing filler ingredients.
The cost of Mini Corgis
The average cost of a Miniature Corgi is currently at least $2000 in the US, but it can be much higher. This is around double the cost of a regular-sized Corgi, because of the rarity and fashionability of miniature dogs.
The exact price of a Mini Corgi puppy will depend on the breeder. Buying a puppy from a large, commercial breeder will be more expensive than buying from a small-time or hobby breeder. However, a higher price tag does not necessarily mean better quality of care, and with the unethical breeding practices that commonly take place with miniature dogs, small-time breeders are the best option.
The pup’s coat color and lineage may also affect the price. Those bred from working stock, show dogs, or competitors in dog sports will have a much higher price tag. Dogs with rarer coat colors such as merle will also be more expensive.
Rescue Mini Corgis will cost the shelter’s adoption fee – which could be anywhere from $50-$400. Adoption fees depend on the size of the adoption center and whether they’re generic or breed-specific.
Although Miniature Corgis are expensive to buy, they tend to be less expensive to look after than most other dogs because of their size. They need less food and go through fewer supplies.
The average annual cost of looking after a Miniature Corgi including medical expenses, food, toys, grooming supplies, and accessories is just under $1000 per year.
Common health problems in Mini Corgis
Common health conditions among the Corgi breed include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, progressive renal atrophy, degenerative myelopathy, and Von Willebrand’s disease.
Hip dysplasia is a congenital condition that causes the hip joints to form abnormally. It makes the hips become loose and wobbly, and eventually leads to arthritis. There is no cure for hip dysplasia but it can be managed, and early diagnosis can delay the condition from worsening.
Mild hip dysplasia may require lifestyle changes and non-surgical therapies, whilst more severe dysplasia may require surgery. Most dogs diagnosed with hip dysplasia go on to lead long and happy lives.
The symptoms of hip dysplasia include:
- Limping or bunny hopping
- Difficulty with activities such as jumping and climbing
- Licking the affected joints
- Loss of muscle mass
- Exercise intolerance
- Low mood
- Inability to get comfortable
Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in dogs and affects around 0.75% of the canine population. The defining symptom of epilepsy is seizures that tend to start around 6 months old. It is usually genetic and common seizure triggers include stress and being overtired.
Epilepsy can be difficult for vets to diagnose, so it is important that owners keep a record of their dog’s seizures to aid the diagnosis. Vets may also request other tests such as brain scans. Once a dog is diagnosed with epilepsy, vets will prescribe daily medication that the dog must take for the rest of their lives. As long as they are taking the medication, epilepsy should not affect their length or quality of life.
Signs of an epileptic seizure include:
- Irregular attacks that start and finish very suddenly
- Short attacks that range from a few seconds to a few minutes
- Attacks that appear similar and repetitive
- Loss of voluntary control while seizuring
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is the malformation or deterioration of the retina over time. The retina is one of the most important parts of the eye; it’s responsible for vision in low light, detecting color, and following movement. PRA can be inherited or late-onset and leads to complete blindness over a period of 1-2 years.
Dogs with inherited PRA will start to show signs at 2-3 months of age, whilst those with late-onset PRA are affected later in life between 3-9 years old. Dogs with symptoms should be taken to see a vet for a general eye examination as soon as possible. They will check for signs of vision loss and refer patients to an ophthalmologist for further ERG testing to confirm a diagnosis.
There is, unfortunately, no cure or treatment for PRA, but thankfully, it is not a painful condition. However, it can be very frightening and owners should invest in some anti-anxiety products if their dogs are showing signs of stress. That said, blind dogs can live long and happy lives.
The symptoms of PRA include:
- Blindness, starting with night blindness and anxiety at nighttime or avoidance of dark rooms
- Dilated eyes that are very reflective of light
- Increased clumsiness
- No eye contact during interaction
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. It is caused by a genetic abnormality and starts to affect dogs between 8 and 14 years of age.
Dogs will begin to lose coordination in their hind legs until they have difficulty standing and walking. Progression time can range from 6 months to a year before the dog becomes completely paraplegic.
Vets can diagnose DM through testing such as myelography and MRI scans. Unfortunately, there is no cure or even a treatment to slow the progression of the disease. Owners of affected dogs should maintain their quality of life as best they can with regular veterinary monitoring and mobility aids such as harnesses and carts. It may last for anywhere between 6 months and 3 years until breathing and swallowing start to be affected, at which time, euthanasia is required.
Symptoms of degenerative myelopathy include:
- Loss of coordination
- Difficulty standing
- Inability to walk
- Eventual full-body paralyzation, incontinence, and difficulty breathing and swallowing
Von Willebrand’s disease
Von Willebrand’s disease is the most commonly inherited bleeding disorder disease in dogs. It’s caused by a deficiency of a protein in the blood called the Von Willebrand factor (VWD) that stops blood platelets from working properly. Platelets are the cells in the blood that help it to clot after an injury.
This means injuries that may not be severe to most dogs could cause life-threatening blood loss in dogs with the disease. Many dogs with VWD never have symptoms. Others may appear to suddenly bleed from the nose, gums, genitals, and bladder. This will typically happen earlier on in life than later. Prolonged bleeding will also occur after trauma or surgery. Diagnosis includes genetic and laboratory testing, but there is currently no treatment for either condition.
The best way to manage this condition is to injury-proof your home to prevent trauma from occurring. This means soft food, protective walking boots, soft chew toys, and blocking off any hazardous areas of the home. Owners should also be careful of which animals their dog interacts with and be aware of the closest vet hospital just in case of an accident.
Symptoms of Von Willebrand’s disease include:
- Bleeding gums during teething
- Frequent bloody noses
- Blood in the urine and stool
- Skin that is easily bruised or cut
- Bleeding claws after running on hard terrain or having nails clipped
- Prolonged bleeding after surgery or trauma
The bottom line
Corgis are adorable, fun dogs with an interesting and unique history. Although they make great family dogs, budding owners should be sure that their families are the right fit. Mini Corgis need families that can handle them with extra care and provide lots of fun companionship.
If you’re looking to buy a Mini Corgi puppy, please make sure you buy from a reputable, ethical breeder or adopt from a rescue shelter. Always ask breeders for health documentation and visit the dog before making a purchase.