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Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, Inc.

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Health and genetics

From the Health and Genetics Committee of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, Inc.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a true dwarf (chondrodysplastic) breed. Therefore, despite the Pembroke's smaller size, Pembrokes are proportionally built just like the larger, "normal sized" dogs. Fortunately, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a relatively healthy breed with just a few health concerns that affect our breed. Many breeders will have their corgis tested for hip dysplasia, eye disorders and von Willebrand disease (vWD). Other health screening tests are also available to the breeder if they choose to perform them. These include tests for elbow dysplasia, cardiac health and degenerative myelopathy.

Members of the PWCCA are bound by the club's Code of Ethics, which calls for breeding only animals of sound temperament and structure, with clear/normal hips and eyes, and clear of other known inherited problems. When evaluating a breeder and considering the purchase of a puppy, do not hesitate to ask questions such as:
  • Are the sire and dam screened clear of hip dysplasia via an OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or PennHIP evaluation?
  • Are the eyes certified clear of inherited conditions by a certified veterinary opthamologist?
  • Describe the temperament of both the sire and dam. Any noise sensitivity or other observed fears? How do they react to new situations?
  • What other inherited conditions are found in Pembrokes? (Hint: if the answer is "none"-that's not the right answer!) Does the breeder openly talk about reproductive issues, cancer, cardiac issues, neurologic disorders, autoimmune diseases, hips and eyes?
What should a prospective buyer or breeder do to increase their odds of avoiding genetic problems?

Be realistic. There are more unknowns in canine genetic research than hard facts. Many genetic tests are not 100% clear cut, they just act as guidelines for the breeder. It is a buyer/breeder beware world. Look around and ask questions. Pembrokes typically live 12-15 years. Healthy, active, alert Pembrokes are a positive indication of a solid genetic background. Only by asking questions, observing firsthand, and being realistic will you gain insight into the genetics of the line of Pembrokes you are considering. There are no easy answers, and no substitute for observation, questions, and above all else, realism.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Health Survey
We are VERY pleased to announce that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Health Survey is now up and running on the OFA website. This is a very comprehensive health survey for our breed and will help us determine which health issues are of most significance today. The results from this survey will then help us direct research funding towards these health issues.

It is important that all Pembroke Welsh Corgi owners participate in this survey. Before you answer the survey, take the time to review the health problems for each dog you have owned. You will be asked if your corgi has had a disorder in various body systems, this will then lead you to specific diseases in that body system. You may go back, reset or quit the survey at any time. Remember to try and use a veterinary diagnosis whenever possible.

This survey can be taken for corgis living or deceased. The link is and go to Pembroke Corgis in the list.

Canine Diabetes Survey
The University of Pennsylvania is conducting a survey to assist in research on diabetes in dogs, in order to potentially help prevent it. The information submitted in this survey is confidential. Personal information of dog owners will be used only so the researchers, Drs. Stephen Cai and Rebecka Hess, can contact owners if needed.  Personal information will remain confidential and will not be made public.  Identifying information pertaining to specific dogs will not be published.

The survey takes about 5-10 minutes to complete (longer if one has more than one diabetic dog). Answers can be saved, and one can return to the survey at any point before final submission to our database. 

Link to the survey: Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the survey.

The researchers are trying to get each and every dog owner they can to fill this out, on behalf of dogs with or without diabetes. Your contribution and effort to this cause would be immensely appreciated. Thank you!

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy and Genetic Testing in Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Dr Jerold S  Bell is an adjunct Professor of clinical genetics at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University. He prepared this explanation of Canine Degenerative Myelopathy in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi to help  breeders/owners of Pembrokes better understand the clinical and genetic complexities of this much misunderstood condition. 

For the full article, please click here

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