Pembroke Corgi Health Issues

Pembroke Corgi Health Issues

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has been used as a herding dog in Wales for over 1000 years. They do an excellent job rounding up cattle and are also good for ferreting out vermin and rats.

They can fit into small spaces due to their small stature and are very tenacious with a never-fail attitude.

Small is not always necessarily a good thing in all ways. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is categorized as a dwarf breed because their body and head are of normal size but for standing, running, and jumping, they have short little legs.

The name Corgi actually means “dwarf dog in Welsh. This mismatched body puts them genetically at risk from a few varieties of canine health conditions.


if you’re considering getting a Pembroke Welsh Corgi to add to your family, you should be aware of any and all health issues they can suffer from now or down the road as they age.

This does not mean your pup will develop any health conditions, but it’s best to know the signs and symptoms so if something does crop up, you are prepared and can seek help and resolve it quickly, if possible.


In the following post, I will inform you of Pembroke Welsh Corgi Health issues and common health problems Pembroke Welsh Corgis may suffer from. I will also answer the question, ” Do Corgis have health issues?

Pembroke Corgi Health Issues
Image by BoraAlma from Pixabay

For your dog’s vitamin supplement, foods, toys, or other dogs product please visit the Health Extension website.

Do Corgis Have Health Issues?


In general, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a pretty healthy breed, but purebred dogs can often be genetically predisposed to certain health issues, especially due to improper breeding.

Disreputable breeders may over breed or not participate in genetic testing, which leaves the door open for hereditarily passed down conditions and diseases because they continue to breed affected dogs.

This is why it’s so important to do your research on breeders and choose one that is conscientious with breeding and diligent with testing and keeping good records.

The Welsh Pembroke Corgi lifespan, on average, is 12 to 15 years and you would like their whole life to be one of quality embodied by good health.

Again, the Corgi is pretty healthy, but they are susceptible to some health conditions and some may be due to their smaller stature.

Once again, their bodies and head are of normal size but their legs are very short. This is known as achondroplastic dwarfism and can put them at risk for some spine issues.

To check your Pembroke Welsh Corgis’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet website for all the help you may need.

Do Corgis Have Health Issues
Image by Elena Rogulina from Pixabay

Common Health Problems of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Degenerative Myelopathy


Degenerative myelopathy is a disease that can affect your Corgi’s spinal cord when the white matter in their spinal cord begins to break down and will cause gradual weakness in their hindquarters and legs with eventual paralysis.

This is also known as CDRM or chronic degenerative Radiculomyelopathy and has been compared to the human Lou Gehrig’s Disease or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).


The cause of degenerative myelopathy is basically unknown, although studies are leaning towards a genetic mutation.

This develops in middle-aged or senior dogs but has been found sporadically in younger dogs as well. Breeds more at risk are:

  • Collies
  • Standard Poodles
  • Kerry Blue Terriers
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgis
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Degenerative Myelopathy Symptoms

  • Difficulty standing from a lying position
  • When standing, hindquarters sway
  • If pushed from the side, the dog will fall over
  • Weakness in back legs
  • Eventual paralysis


Degenerative myelopathy is a little tricky to diagnose. Spinal imaging and x-rays may be used but to rule out osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia.

There is no pain with this disease like the latter two, just weakness. Tissue biopsies or testing cerebrospinal fluid may be necessary for an accurate diagnosis.

Treatments for Degenerative Myelopathy Options
  • Physical therapy
  • Water therapy
  • Certain vitamins
  • Supplements
  • Medication

Keeping your pup going as long as you can and avoiding obesity, which with added weight would only make it even more difficult to get around for your Corgi.

Symptoms will become worse over time, so communication with your veterinarian is essential for quality of life.

PRA – Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This is an eye condition that is degenerative, which means it is progressive and that there is a deterioration or wasting away that is irreversible in the retina. Early symptoms are:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Eyes seem to reflect light more than usual when light is shined on the eyes.
  • Night blindness – This you will notice. Dogs usually have excellent night vision. Your pup will bump into furniture or doors when rooms are dark. They may seem anxious or nervous when going outside at night.


There really is no treatment for PRA. It just becomes progressively worse until it causes eventual blindness. Dogs do adjust quite well to sightlessness and can live a very normal life.

You just need to watch your pup more closely and not move furniture or household items around from what they are accustomed to.


Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is the most common health condition found in Corgis and although exercise and nutrition can cause or exacerbate it, genetics is the biggest factor that causes it.

Many have seen this mostly as a disease of large-boned dogs, but the Corgi is also prone due to its build.

In hip dysplasia, the femur does not fit snugly into the hip joint, usually due to a deformity, and causes grinding and scraping. It should move smoothly in the socket. It can be found in pups that are only 5 months old or present in the senior dog.

Hip Dysplasia Symptoms

  • Limping
  • Hopping
  • Reluctance to play, run, walk, climb stairs, etc.
  • Difficulty getting in and out of cars
  • Difficulty standing from a seated position or sitting from a standing position
  • Pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Lameness

Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to keeping your Corgi comfortable and moving. Treatment options can be:

  • Physical therapy
  • Water therapy
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • Steroids (oral or injection)
  • Surgery
Common Health Problems of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Image by Elena Rogulina from Pixabay

Von Willebrand’s Disease

This is a disorder that is hereditary and of the blood. A human and a dog’s blood clots after an injury but in Von Willebrand’s Disease, there is decreased clotting of the blood.

This can be dangerous as there can be excessive blood loss after surgery or from an injury. This can lead to anemia. Some symptoms are:

  • Blood in urine or feces
  • Bleeding that is out of the blue from gums or nose
  • Easy bruising
  • Extended bleeding after surgery or any injury

This all sounds frightening but if your Corgi has Von Willebrand’s moderately or mildly, monitoring and a little treatment may be enough. In severe cases, blood transfusions are needed.

Causes of Health Problems and Disease

  • Obesity

Welsh Pembroke Corgis are prone to becoming overweight. While we certainly don’t want to see our Corgis starve, they will beg for food and keep eating as much as you give them.

Yes, we think they’re cute and we can’t resist giving them treats but the saying, “food is love,” is entirely untrue.

Having an overweight Corgi is very bad for their health. Obesity can cause more health issues like heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, back pain, and joint issues, all due to carrying around too much excess weight.

  • Dental disease

Just as we brush our teeth, you must practice good dental hygiene with your Welsh Pembroke Corgi by brushing their teeth too. Without proper dental care, tartar and plaque can build up and cause tooth decay and gum disease.

“Doggie” breath is not normal. There are also dental treats and bones that give teeth an extra cleaning from chewing.

Your veterinarian can also professionally clean your pup’s teeth as well. If teeth become decayed, this can lead to more serious health conditions that can affect your Corgi’s heart, kidneys, liver, and even joints.


Owning a happy and healthy Corgi does not have to be rocket science and most of your responsibilities are just common sense. and the right recipe.

Feed your pup a high-quality and nutritious diet, add plenty of exercises and mix in training to keep them safe and teach them manners.

If you notice any signs or symptoms like those listed above, or if something about your Welsh Pembroke Corgi doesn’t seem quite right, don’t hesitate to seek the advice and help of your veterinarian.

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