I'm currently looking for a corgi puppy. I live in Wayland, MA but am willing to travel throughout New England. I've owned a corgi before and absolutely love them. I live on a small farm so there's lots of room to run around! (My last corgi loved trying to herd our two horses.) We also live within walking distance of a large pond, great for walks and kayaking excursions. Unfortunately, due to the economy, my parents have said we can only afford to spend $500 on a new dog. I know that this is going to be difficult to find and I obviously don't want to buy an unhealthy dog from a pet store or a disreputable breeder. So if anyone knows of a good, affordable breeder, I would love to hear about them! (Or if you are one and are planning or have a liter, please let me know!)

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Jess, join the group in your area and ask for a personal referral, you'll have better feedback there.
thank you I'll do that!
If your budget is limited, you might find a retired dog from a show breeder for a good price.

However, if you have livestock it is probably (IMO) best to go with a puppy unless you are getting from a breeder who also has stock; an adult dog who has never seen livestock before may or may not be good with the larger animals, and a puppy who was exposed to livestock from the beginning would be a safer bet.
You should contact the Mayflower Pem club and ask for a breeder referral. Do NOT be tempted to get a puppy just because it's cheap enough; Pems have enough health problems that buying one that is untested is a huge mistake. At that price range I'd ask about young retired dogs who have had experience with large animals or I'd ask the Mayflower secretary if it's normal for the breeders to sell fluffies or mismarks for less money. I am not up on the Pembroke breed culture enough to know if this is common or not.

Pet Cardigan puppies in this area are generally in the $700-1000 range - not sure if you would want to think about a Cardi but I think more of them tend to be on farms or in farm-type settings and so a retired dog would tend to be more horse-sound. The Yankee Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club has a good referral system and Lucybell (the secretary) may know of some breeders with older puppies looking for a lower-cost placement. I don't know of any instantly in this area but they certainly do come up often enough.

Joanna (NH)
blacksheepcardigans.com
I definitely want a pembroke and I did contact many breeders through the Mayflower Pem Club website but only a couple responded and one breeder I spoke with did sell fluffies at a discounted price, but that dog was still $1200. I am aware of the common health issues with corgis, so I'm definitely looking for one who is tested and healthy, I just don't need a fancy show dog. I may try looking in the Michigan area because we have family there whom we could stay with when we go to pick the dog up and the dogs out there tend to cost less money.

So if anyone from the Michigan area sees this discussion, I'd be interested in puppies that you may have available as well.
You may not need a show dog, but you do need a show-BRED dog. The distinctives that make Pems different from any other dog are very easy to lose. All dogs tend to move back toward the middle ground if you don't work like the dickens to keep them where they should be. Breeders who are responsible to their peers are the ones producing puppies that look and act the way Pems should, and of course they're the ones at the forefront of health testing and care.

If the budget absolutely won't move, I agree that an older retired show dog may be your best bet.
that's interesting, thank-you.
I suppose it would be pointing out the obvious to add that the purebred dogs were very often developed and maintained a certain set of characteristics long before there was such a thing as a conformation show? Just a point to consider.

http://www.pwccwr.org/pembrokehistory.html

"Clifford Hubbard, who was known as the foremost authority on Welsh dogs, noted that the Corgi most certainly dated back to the early twelfth century and probably to the reign of Hywel Dda, King of Wales, in the early tenth century, if not before."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformation_show

"The first modern conformation dog show was held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in 1859."

Jess, I believe Kerry breeds working farm Corgis.
yes, i spoke to her, she's going to let me know when she has puppies.
There really wasn't a purebred dog before there came to be the notion of a closed (or semi-open) studbook. Before that there were landraces. If it herded a certain way it was a collie; if it hunted a certain way it was a hound. With pedigrees came a notion that not every dog was a suitable breeding partner and people began excluding dogs that they didn't know were from that heritage. When the KC came together to start giving registration numbers to dogs, it was in recognition of a situation that already existed, not a new movement to change things.

Nobody knows the real story of the corgi origins. It seems likely that Cardigan "look" is the oldest one because the type (more of a dachshund/herder than a spitz/herder) predates the Viking invasion of Wales (the Vikings brought the Vallhund-type dogs that were the ancestors of Pems), but the honest truth is that both breeds were nearly dead by the time it became fashionable to import new or rare breeds to the US. It's entirely possible that a bunch of mixed breeds who looked like what the old residents of the villages remembered moving the cattle around, and who had some of the same bloodlines and instincts, were actually the founding members of what we call the breeds today. Most of the romantic breed-origin stories are hokum; DNA analysis shows that virtually all of the European-origin dogs are rather recent in origin and the only really ancient pure ones are some of the Asian breeds and some of the Sloughi-type Beduin dogs.

I think you could still use a form of natural selection to keep corgis very much like they should be; you'd have to use them the way the Welsh did, in the same kind of terrain, moving the same kind of animals, on the same schedule, with the same food and same lifestyle, and then select the dogs that could do it best. It would not be like almost any US farm; for one thing we simply don't have the terrain. The small farms here are not ones that provide our livelihood. Our farms are built for long-legged dogs and are not the bare rocky crags and hillsides of Wales; our dogs are also not forced to live on very little food or in anywhere close to the same conditions.

So I don't think you can say that a farm dog in the US is automatically going to be a good corgi. Corgis are built for a historic job, not a current one. Aussies and Border Collies are the ones built for current jobs. If you want a corgi who's different not just in appearance but in ability and talent and personality, you are looking for the breeders who have worked and continue to work to keep the breed suitable for an ancient job. Some of them also work their dogs, but they're breeding to the standard AND working them.

The real truth is you can buy from a farm or an apartment, from a large breeder or small, you could buy a Pem who's from a working circus troupe or one from Pembrokeshire, Wales, and in ALL those cases you can do a great job at it. You must INSIST that the dog has a purpose for being alive besides being cute and friendly, you must INSIST on real, current health testing, you must INSIST on peer review activities. If a breeder does those things, they're a good bet. If they don't, they're not, no matter where they live.

This is the case across the breeds - if you want a farm-bred Great Pyrenees, go for it. Just make sure the dog has been health tested and is really working, not just a pasture ornament, and that the breeder is respected in the peer group as having dogs who can really do their job. If you want a field-bred Pointer, don't do it if there isn't a long history of hip testing and versatile titles throughout the pedigree, and don't do it if the parents are not actively working. There are absolute crap Pointer breeders whose dogs have a great time running around in fields; that doesn't make them good breeders. You don't have to show in conformation - though I've rarely met anyone in Pems or Cardis who passes the basic good-breeder tests and does not - but you MUST breed to the standard, health test, and put your dogs through some kind of peer review.
I have acreage too, and animals. I could just buy from random Cardigan breeders who haven't bred to the standard in generations, throw my dogs outside and let them move the animals around, and then say that I was a good breeder. Never have to health-test, never have to be involved in the community of other Cardigan breeders, never have to do anything but watch my dogs have fun with sheep.

That's not enough. It's not even CLOSE to enough. You have to have a commitment to the entire breed within your little piece of it. And you have to be kind enough to your own dogs and your puppy buyers to care about the genetic health of the dogs you're breeding.

Even if you don't believe that testing for hip dysplasia can guarantee the next generation, you should be doing it because you're committed to your own dogs. A bitch with bad hips can run around beautifully, never look dysplastic, but put the extra weight of a litter on this hips and she'll be uncomfortable. Because of her own dysplasia, her body will react by producing extra relaxin to try to loosen her hips even more and the puppies will get more of it in her milk and they'll be more likely to be dysplastic. A bitch with bad hips should not be bred purely because we don't want them in pain!

The genetic testing for PRA and von WIllebrands has nothing to do with environmental causes. No Pem is going to "get" vWD all of a sudden. The test is essential because it's so easy to breed the gene completely out of a population and never have to worry about it. If you don't test, you're not a part of that effort.

Not testing means you never have to face the problems in your kennel. Testing is NO FUN because all of a sudden you're having to make very hard decisions and now you KNOW that you're selling DM-at-risk puppies to people, or you KNOW you're selling dysplastic puppies to people, and there's no more room for congratulating yourself that you're doing such a great job. Breeding goes from being a lark to being a wrenching decision where you're super excited but also extremely apprehensive.

My Clue finished with four majors including in huge supported-entry shows. She was beginning her specials career last year when she was injured. She not only knows what to do with sheep, she's got a lovely natural outrun. At her herding test, most of the rest of the dogs (thirty-some) were show-bred Pembrokes, many champions. All of them turned on as soon as they got in the ring. Some were instantly really cute herders, like Clue; some would have needed more work, but none of them just stood there and was shocked. The instinct is very much intact in the breed.

Oh, and she carries fluff and will almost certainly have fluffy puppies if she's pregnant right now (to a male who is also a champion, also incredibly athletic, who has puppies out there herding). There's absolutely nothing wrong with fluffies; it's a minor cosmetic difference and we either keep them, if they're good enough, or we sell them as pets. Same thing we do with every other puppy in the litter. They're not rare or a novelty and we don't sell them for more (or less) than any other pet puppy.

Saying that show breeders have destroyed breeds is easy if you've never been involved. My friend Kathleen just drove from Idaho to Michigan to pick up one of the very, very few DM-gene-clear show-bred Pembroke puppies in the entire US; he's the foundation for her efforts to eradicate the gene from her kennel. My friend Theresa drives her dogs from NY to Texas, every single year, on her own dime and taking time off work, because her dogs are involved in a study on familial heart issues and need to be echocardiogrammed every year. They're working like crazy to make their breeds healthier.

If I'm not testing and not breeding with the knowledge of those test results, if I'm not involved in getting peer opinions on my dogs, then I really have no idea what I am doing with the breed as a whole. I may have dogs running around after sheep, but that would not make them worth breeding or me a good breeder.
I can attest to the terrain around here (living in the same general area as Kerry) and also to the number of smaller family farms.

I see a place for show dogs and working dogs. However, I get hung up on the idea of "peer review" when it comes to working dogs because people who work their dogs (on a farm, or who hunt) are not often going to be trialing or herding testing as well.

I grew up hearing the differences between field trials and actual hunting. A dog who can ace a hunt test would not necessarily be very good at actually hunting, for example, and I have heard the lament of "lost breeds" from hunters. The labrador retriever used to be one of the best all-around hunting dogs, great for duck hunting and serviceable for upland game. The pet/show industry has made finding a good working lab so difficult that many people gave up altogether and moved to other duck dogs. There are still some people concientiously breeding labs that can hunt.

That said, I have no problem with people developing calmer lines of dogs for show, competitions, and companionship. However, I personally think they are kidding themselves if they think of themselves as being the keepers of the breed; the form of many of the show lines has changes so drastically from the dog's original design. Many show breeders over time change the conformation they are looking for in order to please current trends, with no real idea of what it would be like to actually work a dog all day in the field. And most show lines lack the drive to actually work (there are a few breed clubs for whom dual championships are the norm, but only a few).

When I see the German Shepherds on the dog shows, I absolutely cringe. Their hind ends are deformed. The working lines look nothing like that at all.

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