Paw-pularity of Corgis on the Rise
In 2014, the Kennel Club designated the Pembroke Welsh Corgis as “vulnerable” with only 274 registrations, a 16 percent drop since 2013. Many feared this dog breed would die out. However, the Internet came to its rescue.
Corgis are the new “It” animal of social media today, thanks to an incredible surge of photos and memes on the Internet — with 1,808,127 posts under the “corgisofinstagram” hashtag on Instagram. Get ready, you too will soon be contributing to the rising popularity of corgis.
According to the American Kennel Club, a non-profit organization and the largest purebred dog registry in the world, the popularity of the Queen’s favorite breed — the Pembroke Welsh Corgi — rose by a third since 2015, making them the eighteenth most popular dog breed today. Photos, videos and memes on the Internet have made the royal breed popular again and diminished fears about them dying out that arose in early 2010s. This rise in popularity, however, has also caused a rise in backyard breeding.
The Internet loves them. Hundreds of Facebook pages are dedicated to the attention-grabbing breed: “Corgi Overload” and “Corgi Addict” pages each garner over 350,000 likes. The pages share photographs and videos of corgis interacting with humans or each other.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is ranked the eleventh most intelligent dog breed in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. The Pembroke breed is the smaller of the two breeds of Welsh corgis — they are around 10 to 12 inches, weigh about 13 kilograms, and have no tails. Cardigan corgis, on the other hand, are a slightly larger breed with tails.
According to Ania Campbell, Client Service Manager at Wag Hotel, corgis originally served as herding dogs. They helped with all sorts of farm tasks like corralling sheep to direct them towards where they need to go.
Some love them for their butts, others love them for their short legs.
“They are known for being happy, rambunctious and a little stubborn. And I love that,” said Jen Hugo, owner of two-and-a-half-year-old corgi — Grace the Potato. “They are short-legged little tater tots with a good personality.”
Buttons — the Chief Frapnancial Officer (CFO) of Corgi Con — is used to turning heads. As he trotted down to Ocean Beach for Corgi Con, more than a dozen girls tried to flirt with him — squatting by him in hopes for a lick.
“Corgis are trending now,” said Anne Marie, a regular attendee of Corgi Con since 2014 and the owner of Buttons. “Corgis come from all kinds of cultures and so do corgi owners. We become connected through social media and build a culture of our own through our dogs and our love for them.”
Corgi Con is a meet-up that features hundreds of corgis, corgi merchandise, corgi contests, corgi races, and many more, with all proceeds going towards Queen’s Best Stumpy Dog Rescue. What was initially a small gathering of a few close friends and neighbors in 2014 has grown over the past few years into a massive biannual celebration with over 900 corgis this year.
Navigating through thrilled corgi lovers and stepping over a handful of corgis, Marie walked over to the sign-in booth of Corgi Con. On her way, she greeted half a dozen other corgi owners and exchanged friendly hugs and hellos.
In fact, many of them met on social media through their corgis’ Instagram accounts before meeting in person. Buttons, for example, has over 26,900 followers on Instagram. As CFO of Corgi Con, he makes posts to promote Corgi Con events on social media and calls together hundreds of corgis from all over the country for the biannual festival.
“People just can’t get enough of them,” said Cynthia Lee, founder of Corgi Con. Lee herself owns two corgis — Maki Boo who has 42 thousand followers on Instagram and Bubba Bruster who has over eight thousand followers. “They love them because they have short legs and big butts. They bring us joy.”
They say that dogs are a man’s best friend. We’ve got the photos to prove it.
The rising popularity of the Corgi breed extends far beyond the Bay Area. The fame of these fluffy sausages on short legs has taken off faster than a dog playing fetch, and a quick Internet search for Corgi memes does not disappoint.
Even for those who do not own corgis themselves, these puppies are enough for people to travel from all over the country to come see them. Many make a vacation out of “frapping” with corgis on Ocean Beach — frap is an acronym for “frantic random acts of play,” explained Lee. She has seen devoted fans fly in from Hawaii and Nevada to spend a Saturday afternoon on the beach running around with corgis.
From Facebook to Instagram, corgis rule the Internet with their bright smiles and wiggling butts and the popularity of the breed will continue to grow, according to Lee.
Although the Internet rescued the corgi business with an overwhelming amount of positivity, there are some negatives. According to Bell Gewerth, Dog Groomer at Pet Smart in Rocklin, CA, backyard breeding is a serious issue with corgis.
Backyard breeders breed just for profit and do not practice adequate standards of care to the animals, according to Partnership for Animal Welfare. This causes a lot of mixes to end up in shelters because they aren’t exactly what a corgi should be or look like.
Pet store dogs from backyard breeders typically are not tested for genetic diseases and not adequately protected from infections, as documented Animal Court Cases. Thus, many pets lose their hearing, become crippled, die, or suffer from other breeding-caused illnesses.
“The Internet makes it so that there’s so much of ‘look at these cute things!’ And less of ‘here’s how to properly take care of them,’” Gewerth said. “Some corgis get shaved down because their owners can’t handle how much they shed.”
According to Darci Everitt, Adoption Associate at the Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV), an independent, non-profit organization that connects people with pets, backyard breeding happens to any breed that becomes popular. Everitt said many of the dogs get abandoned because a lot of them have health issues from not being bred in a healthy environment.
“As a groomer, I say enjoy the corgis,” Gewerth said. “But if you can’t take on the responsibility of actually owning them, then don’t do it.”