Guild of Shepherds & Collies

Corgis as Service Dogs

Little Dog, Big Job: Corgis as Service Dogs

corgis as service dogs

I am a volunteer for an organization called Canine Companions for Independence. I love volunteering for this organization because I truly believe in their mission. Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence provides highly trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities.

It wasn’t long after joining this organization that I learned Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers were not always the preferred service dog breeds. In fact, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was once considered an excellent candidate.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi as a Service Dog

That’s right! The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has more than just a herding history. Due to their strong will to work and their intelligence, it made perfect sense to have them work as Service Dogs. There is no doubt that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is intelligent; they are currently ranked 11th for intelligent dog breeds. Meaning, they can obey the first command approximately 85% of the time. This sounds like a great service dog, right?

Well, anyone with a Corgi will believe this next sentence. Although Corgis picked up on commands very quickly, it wasn’t long before they started using their commands and new found talents to be mischievous. Therefore, several organizations decided to start using Labrador and Golden Retrievers; both the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever are ranked 4th and 7th for intelligence, respectively, and obey the first command approximately 95% of the time.

Despite many organizations moving on without the Corgi breed, according to the International Associate of Assistance Dog Partners, Welsh Corgis are still placed in partnerships by many hearing dog schools. As hearing dogs, Corgis alert their owners to danger and help guide them through the day. As a prime example, if the owner has an alarm clock go off, the Corgi can give them the gentle nudge they need to wake up. Simple tasks like this can really improve the lives of the humans who are paired with these dogs.

If you think your Corgi would make a great service dog, you should consider a few different things before pursuing work:

Coat Care: If your Corgi is partnered with someone who has limited physical abilities, will they be able to keep up with the extensive shedding displayed by the Corgi breed? If the partner themselves cannot keep up with the grooming, do they have someone in their household who can?

Age: The age of a service dog can be very important. Puppies or young adult dogs are simply not mature enough in many situations to avoid distractions and be able to complete their job correctly. If your dog is between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old, they are considered a prime age for training to be a service dog.

Other Jobs for Corgis

Although Pembroke Welsh Corgis are no longer the primary choice for many service dog organizations, they still have many valuable options for work. Of course, they can herd if they would like, but they can also be hearing dogs. If working as a hearing dog is not for them, it is a great idea to pursue a Canine Good Citizen certification. This 10-step test issued by the American Kennel Club is a great first step in training your dog and providing them with the skills they need to be well-mannered in your community.

Petrix: Intelligence 
CCI: Canine Companions for Independence 
AKC: What is Canine Good Citizen

Article By Rachel Sheppard, Exclusively for Guild of Shepherds and Collies

rachel sheppard



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