The Legend of the Corgi

Legend has it that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is enchanted. As in all legends, the tales differ. Since they come down by word of mouth, they have varied a bit with each succeeding generation and may even vary from locality to locality. Some of the old men in the mountains vaguely refer to the Corgis that were "left by the fairies" far back in the mists of time. These, however, are only the blue merle (a type of coloring) Cardigan Welsh Corgis, and no others. Though the Cardigans are kissing cousins of Pembrokes, they are a distinct breed.

Another such legend provides a charming tale for the curious of how the Corgi came to live in the hills of southwest Wales. According to this legend, two young children out tending the family's cattle on the king's land found a pair of puppies which they thought were little foxes. When the children took the puppies home, they were told by the menfolk that the little dogs were a gift from the fairies. The "wee folk" of Welsh legend used the small dogs either to pull their carriages or as fairy steeds. As the fox-like puppies grew, they learned to help their human companions watch over the cattle, a task which was to be the duty of their Corgi descendants for many centuries to come. Should anyone doubt the truth of the legend, the present-day Welsh Corgi still bears the mark over his shoulders of the little saddle used by his fairy riders.

Enchanted? Perhaps not-- but surely the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a bit fay. What other dog can fold his front paws underneath his chest as completely as a cat? What other dog can flop over onto his back at the drop of a hat, paws waving ridiculously aloft, then right himself with a lightning twist that would do credit to a circus acrobat? And, finally, what other dog can manage to look-- while hopping up and down on his short hind legs in a rage at a cat or similar irritant-- so very much like Rumpelstiltskin when the queen told him she knew his name?

Sources:

Niccoli, Ria. Pembroke Welsh Corgis. TFH Publications, 1995.
Sargent, Mary Gay, Deborah S. Harper. The Complete Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Howell Book House, 1985.