The Pembroke Corgi, renowned for being the Queen’s favourite breed, is seeing a boost according to figures released today (29 May) by dog welfare organisation, The Kennel Club. Following an increase of 38 per cent in puppy registrations since 2020, there were 1,223 Pembroke Welsh Corgis registered in 2021, the highest number recorded for the breed in almost 30 years, coinciding with the start of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for the Queen, who is also patron of The Kennel Club.
The peaks and troughs of the breed’s popularity can be traced alongside the Queen’s reign. In 1944, the year that Susan, the Queen’s first own Pembroke Corgi, was born, the breed jumped by 56 per cent in popularity. From there, numbers rose steadily before peaking at nearly 9,000 puppies in 1960, seven years after the Queen’s coronation. This pinnacle for the breed came during a time of vast advances in broadcasting which allowed more access to the Royal Family, including the Queen’s first televised Christmas address in 1957, and subsequently more exposure of not only the Queen, but also her family and of course, her Corgis.
However, the breed’s popularity later plummeted to record lows of just 274 puppies born in 2014, resulting in the Corgi being placed on The Kennel Club’s ‘Vulnerable Native Breeds’ list, which monitors those breeds that number fewer than 300 annual puppy registrations each year.
Their fortunes did start to change after featuring in the popular Netflix television series, The Crown, and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was later removed from The Kennel Club’s list of ‘At Watch’ breeds at the beginning of 2018 following an increase of 16 per cent. However, these most recent figures are the first time that the breed’s numbers have surpassed 1,000 since 1994.
Diana King, a Vice-President for the Welsh Corgi League, said: “It is great to see that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is firmly back in the hearts of the British public. However, with the breed growing in popularity, it is more important than ever that anyone looking to buy a Corgi puppy takes the time to research their decision and doesn’t simply choose a breed based on seeing it on TV. Instead, they should speak to breed experts to find out more about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s characteristics and how it may fit in their lifestyle, as well as choosing a responsible breeder who will always prioritise the health and welfare of the breed.”
There’s further good news for a number of other native British breeds, with six being removed from The Kennel Club’s ‘At Watch’ list: the Bedlington Terrier, Bullmastiff, Cairn Terrier, Irish Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, and the Parson Russell Terrier. Meanwhile, the Bearded Collie, Old English Sheepdog and the Miniature Bull Terrier have all moved from being ‘Vulnerable’ to ‘At Watch’, with the latter having almost doubled in popularity.
Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, said: “We are delighted to see so many dog lovers flying the flag for our native British and Irish breeds, and especially to see the Pembroke Welsh Corgi once again becoming a beloved breed nationwide, during such an important year for the Queen. The breed has certainly seen a boost in recent years, largely down it would seem to their starring roles in The Crown, but the Queen did play an integral part in introducing Corgis to the public consciousness originally, so what a wonderful testament to her 70th year on the throne, to see her beloved breed having a resurgence in popularity.
“We have such a wide variety of pedigree breeds in this country, each with completely different characteristics, so it is so encouraging to see so many people starting to opt for those vulnerable breeds that had been at risk of disappearing from our streets and parks, but who do in fact have the potential to be a wonderful pet for the right owner.”
2021 saw the highest number of annual puppy registrations ever recorded by The Kennel Club, with 349,013 across all breeds. This exceeds the previous record set in 1989 of 283,915 puppy registrations.
The nationwide lockdowns, implemented as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020 and 2021, saw millions of owners turn to canine companionship, leading to the conception of the Be Puppywise campaign, launched by The Kennel Club in the summer of 2020. As well as continuing to educate the public, year-round, on responsible puppy buying and dog ownership, the not-for-profit organisation urged new and would-be owners to Be Puppywise, providing advice and guidance, despite the many restrictions in place.
Bill added: “Our dogs have been an undeniable source of comfort over the past two years and of course, while we know how rewarding dog ownership is, it is so important that those considering buying a puppy do their homework first into finding both the right breed for the lifestyle, as well as a responsible breeder who will give their puppy the very best start in life. With dog ownership at an all-time high, it has never been more crucial to be carrying out thorough, extensive research, taking time to find the right dog and breeder, as well as preparing for your new arrival and being a responsible owner.”