Several years ago I rescued my first corgi and at the time I would never have thought I would breed my own dogs. That’s something I had grown up with but as an adult it didn’t seem very important to me and I was happy to get a rescued dog from a shelter. But this corgi really changed my life in a way and I fell in love with the breed. Prior to this I would never have understood being captivated by one breed of dog. Sure I had my favorites, but it seemed to really come down to the individual dog. At least that is what I thought until I found a breed that really was for me. I realized I never wanted anything other than a corgi.
I spent years trying to get a corgi puppy as a companion for mine. Corgis are like potato chips, I couldn’t have just one. But it was very difficult, I couldn’t find an ethical breeder and every time I asked a breeder if they would not dock my dog’s tail, they laughed at me. Besides all that, corgis were very expensive. I wanted a few, but it was so difficult to find a good breeder and save up enough money for them. And of course I would have to travel to get one. Finally after years of searching and keeping an eye on breeders to see if I felt they were honest, ethical and doing things right, I was able to get my corgis. Unfortunately by this time my own rescued corgi had passed away.
So after all that I decided that I wanted to pick out two pups that could eventually be bred. I wanted more corgis and this seemed like a good option since my family now also wanted corgis. Most members of my family prefer pedigree dogs, and will never consider adopting. I think I went though a stage where this bugged me but after working with rescued animals for many years, I started to understand that a rescue wasn’t right for everyone. I was lucky enough to be able to afford my corgis and I felt blessed to be able to give my family members one of these precious dogs.
I worked through this process with the help of my veterinarian and other breeders and eventually got my two dogs that would be a perfect match. They were health tested and a lot of thought went into combining two breeds of corgis. Then when cleared by our vet we let nature take its course. And 9 pups was more than we had anticipated but each one had a loving home and the entire experience was one of the best and most loving moments of my life. I could never regret it. And I went into all of this knowing full well what other people would think. Some people were extremely offended, but that’s ok. I respect that. But you can’t let anyone live your life for you.
There are many reasons why these corgis are right for me. I would get into it, but I think most of it doesn’t really matter too much. What matters is that my dogs were healthy, care for, tested, and loved. I won’t be having any more puppies, because being a breeder is not something I want to do. I gave the puppies away without making money (actually spent a lot on them) and it was very hard for me to let them go. I could never sell puppies away to strangers.
Now if you aren’t familiar, there are actually two breeds of corgis. The Pembroke and the Cardigan. So the mother of my pups is a Pembroke welsh corgi. The father is 50% Pembroke and 50% Cardigan. So my pups are what some refer to as mutts, but I call them designer corgis. Here is some information on corgis, a history of the breed.
The cardigan corgi came from herding dogs bred and brought into the United Kingdom area. These dogs were used for working livestock. People migrating to this area brought in their dogs and some mixed with local sheep dogs from the area and then the cardigan corgi was created. This is the oldest of the corgi breeds. Now from the cardigan corgi, the Pembroke corgi was created. They bred cardigans with other dogs creating a different corgi. Some people did recognize them as two different breeds, but about a century and a half ago when dog shows became popular and breeds were registered, the cardigan and Pembroke were recognized as one breed, just Corgi. These corgis were breed together and it was considered “pure bred” not mixes, mutts or designer breeds.
However problems arose when showing these dogs. People where not pleased because judges preferred certain characteristics over others. And dog owners wanted to separate into two breeds in order for them to not be disqualified for dogs that were slightly different. From there the corgis split into two groups, cardigans and pembrokes.
What should we really draw from this? Seems to be that corgis were really just a bunch of mutt sheep dogs and the final results were one breed, the Welsh Corgi. And then a group of people wanted their smaller, pointy eared docked corgis to win over some’s larger round eared corgi. When 5 minutes ago it was ok for both of these to breed and be called “registered.”
So then fast forward not even 100 years, and responsible, professional breeders decided that the breed should be put back together. Its been many many generations later, so for argument’s sake we can say these breeders want to create a new breed. Looking back on history, doesn’t look like much has really changed. At the end of the day, its all selective breeding by humans.
A concern so many people make is health. A Pure bred dog is not guaranteed to be healthy. Responsible breeds strive to make healthy dogs. But there are plenty of irresponsible people breeding pure bred dogs. You can certainly breed unhealthy dogs without mixing them and ruin the temperament, health and standard of the breed without ever introducing a mixed dog. So purity in the breed can mean very little. And does things like AKC registration 100% guarantee that a dog is purebred? Not really. The puppy is registered using registration information on the mother and father and its on an honor system. Technically a person could use a male dog’s information even through he didn’t actually breed the female. There is no testing done. When registering other animals like Alpacas, a blood sample is needed. This isn’t the case with dogs. Now they are starting to use DNA testing to determine the parents but it doesn’t actually test breed at all. Sometimes breeders are randomly selected for DNA tests and breeders who breed a lot of dogs have to send tests in after a certain amount of litters. This boils down to a very small percentage actually being DNA tested for registration, and it hardly ever happens.
Now going back to health, are purebred dogs really all that healthy? Studies have shown that purebred dogs actually seem to have more health problems than mutts. PetMD actually states that purebred dogs are at risk for many complications all because their gene pool is so limited.
Mix breeds have better chances of being healthy because they have a bigger gene pool. I don’t want to get too much into it here, but there is plenty of research and documented cases that you can find supporting the fact that inbreeding is harmful to both animals and humans.
So now that I gave you some information on corgis and breeding, I want to tell you more about why I chose to mix them. Even though the breed separated decades ago, they are still very very similar. To be fair many people don’t know that there are two breeds of corgi. That’s how much they look a like. To the untrained eye, many cannot see the physical differences. And while the Pembroke is usually described as more affectionate, that really comes down to an individual dog’s personality, not really breed.
Corgis are something I am very passionate about and they are a breed that works well with my lifestyle. And I love the cardigan and Pembroke both.
Now growing up in a home that raised purebred dogs, I could see the value of a well bred dog. But later while doing rescue work with dogs I did start to see the obvious fact that mixes were less prone to health problems. In the dog rescue world you come across all types of dogs, the mutts, the pure breds, the dogs from back yard breeders, and everything in between. And I thought that even after health testing and all of that, there was no denying that purebred dogs did have a limited gene pool.
I fell in love with the corgi breed and not only was it hard to get a rescued corgi, a rescued dog was more difficult to assimilate to my lifestyle. I was stuck in the middle. Between wanting a well bred dog but also not wanting the over blown akc standard. I did research about corgi mixes for a few years and then decided what kind of dog I wanted.
Based on research I came to the conclusion that breeding health tested cardigan and Pembroke corgis would produce healthy puppies that were the right type of dog for my family. And I could provide homes for all the puppies.
A few people consider this to be wrong. But I am breeding dogs that less than 100 years ago were actually considered to be one breed, I am introducing a new gene pool and I am being responsible with these animals.
I do think that most outrage against this type of corgi comes from lack of education on the subject.
Now I also want to address the fact that a few people have called me a backyard breeder. Its not something I want to ignore because I think backyard breeding is a big deal. So I am going to go over some very common aspects of backyard breeding and how I differ from that.
Backyard breeders do not health test. My dogs are health tested.
Backyard breeders do not better the breed. While I do not have what most would consider pure, my intentions are to better the breed. I fully support the welsh corgi breed, and I believe that introducing a new gene pool is for the betterment of the breed.
Backyard breeders contribute to over population, they don’t care where their dogs end up. I care so much about every single one of my puppies. That’s why I wouldn’t sell them. I had tons of people offering me money to buy them. But I made sure that each puppy went to someone I really trusted and someone that is apart of my life. I keep in contact with them and I visit my puppies. If anything happened and someone could no longer care for their puppy, I would take it back in a heart beat. (I probably wouldn’t even be disappointed.) I have also kept in touch with every family, helping them with advice on training and vet care.
Backyard breeders are in it for the money. Lets be honest, regardless of the fact that people want to call my puppies mutts, they sell for over 1 thousand dollars each, some colors will even be 3 thousand dollars. I am not extremely wealth, this is a lot of money to us. But I am not in it for the money. I didn’t make any money from this litter, I actually spent a lot of money to have this litter.
Backyard breeders don’t socialize the puppies, sell them at a young age, and don’t provide what they need to go to their new homes. Each one of my puppies was socialized and started on training. Even though there were 9, each one knew its name and was trained to potty on doggie pads. They were exposed to many different positive experiences involving other animals and people. They were not allowed to leave until 8 weeks old. Each puppy was evaluated by a veterinarian and given vaccines, at my cost. Each puppy was sent off to their new home with a bag of puppy food, feeding instructions and a toy that smelled like our home.
Backyard breeders are dishonest, don’t let you see the parents and don’t let you visit. I made it very clear to everyone that these puppies were a mix between the two corgis, they didn’t care. Everyone had seen the parents because well they are my pets and this is my family we are talking about. And my family visited the puppies several times before taking them home at 8 weeks.
Backyard breeders do not provide veterinary care. I had the help and advice from a veterinarian every step of the way. Luna gave birth throughout the night and I called my veterinarian throughout the whole process. He was ready to perform a see sections on Luna if any problems came up, even if it was at 2am. Luckily she gave birth naturally.
Backyard breeders have litters all the time. I chose to breed my dogs at a certain time based on my vet’s advice. Now I am getting Luna spayed after one litter. That was always my intention. I don’t consider myself a breeder even though I did everything the right way. I believe a breeder is someone who does this on a somewhat regular basis and sells puppies to approved homes. One litter given away to family, I don’t think that qualifies.
Backyard breeders don’t have spay/neuter contracts. I made agreements with my family that the puppies were to be spayed and neutered.
Now did I contribute to over population?
Its simple. No. Each puppy was placed into a good home with a spay and neuter contract. Not everyone who wants a dog is going to adopt from a shelter. I have rescued dogs for many years and have placed foster dogs in permanent homes with some family and friends. But for others it wasn’t the right choice. These puppies did not take any homes away from shelter dogs, because for these people, adoption was never an option.
Now I understand those with very passionate views on adopting will continue to disagree with me. I understand and I respect that. But for anyone calling me a backyard breeder, that is an ignorant comment. Either do some research on what a backyard breeder really is, because they don’t health test, call the vet in the middle of the night or given high value dogs to away for free, or just admit you are a hater. Call it like it is.
This was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Funny how we change and grow throughout our life. I used to hate the idea of designer dogs. But nothing in life is black and white, no matter how much we want it to be.