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About our breeds: welsh corgi and lancashire heeler

Welsh corgi breed

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is the Corgi with a tail. They are the older of the two Corgi Breeds, and one of the earliest breeds in the British Isles. In the beginning, the Corgi came to the high country now known as Cardiganshire. They have been known in the land for more than 3,000 years. They are a member of the same family that produced the Dachshund.

The breed was used for guarding children and aiding in beating out game, which in those times was more than ordinary importance. The occupation that made the Corgi worth its weight in gold to those Welsh hillmen came at a much later period, but still hundreds of years ago. This was when the Crown owned nearly all land, and the tenant farmers were permitted to fence off only a few acres surrounding their dooryards. The rest was open country, known as common land, on which the crofter was permitted to graze his cattle. There was great competition among the crofters to secure as much as possible of this pasture land for their own uses. The Corgi was trained to perform the opposite done by the herding dogs.

Instead of herding, the Corgi would nip at their heeals and drive them as far afield as desired. Often the crofter called upon his dog to clear "his" ground of the neighbor's cattle. The dog worked the same way in either case. The crofter would stand by his gate and give a soft whistle of two notes, one high, one low. Many times the dog could not actually see the cattle he was to chase, but he would keep going as long as he could hear his owner whistle. His speed is remarkable, considering his short legs.

After the breaking up of the Crown lands, and the introduction of the new breeds, tehre was a certain amount of experimentation with crosses. The ancient dog of Bronant was crossed with the red herder, but it did not prove very successful and was not attempted many times. The brindle herder made a rather fortuitous cross. The progeny followed the dominant characertistics of the Corgi, and gained a little though the finer coat and the color of the brindle herder. Crossed later with the Collie, there was produced the breed known as the heeler.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is much younger than the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The Pembroke dates back to AD 1107.

In modern times there has been an effort to link the two types of Corgi under the heading of a single breed. This is far from the truth. The direct ancestors of the Pembroke were brought across the Channel by the Flemish weavers, who had been induced by Henry I of England to take up their abode in Wales. This occurred in 1107, and it stands as a sturdy cornerstone upon which the development of a breed had been built.

While weaving was one of their occupations, these Flemish people were also of an agrarian nature-and they soon had transferred to the Southwest corner of Wales. This early progenitor of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi of today has been described as having a noticeable resemblance to the old Schiperkes. It sprang from the same family that includes the Keeshond, Pomeranian, Samoyed, Chow Chow, Norwegian Elkhound and the Finnish Spitz. It has little or nothing to do with the Dachshund like the Cardigan does. In relation to the Cardigan, the Pembroke is shorter in body, the legs are straighter and lighter boned, while the coat is of finer texture. Two of the most noticeable differences are in the ears and the tail. Cardigan ears are rounded while the Pembroke's are pointed at the tip and stand erect. The Cardigan has a long tail, and the Pembroke has a short one.

The manner in which the Pembroke and the Cardigan have approached each other in appearance is not merely a matter of chance or of selective breeding. It is known that the two were crossed with each other before the middle of the 19th century.

Lancashire heeler breed

The Lancashire Heeler's origins are not known exactly though it is accepted it descends from a cross between the Welsh Corgi and another black and tan small terrier type dog. It was bred small but it was still hard working and bold. It was used for many years by farmers for help with herding livestock and also as a ratting dog. Ratting dogs were also used in towns in places like stables so it is possible the Lancashire Heeler was used in that role there. However its numbers went into decline when the need for cattle dogs dropped. It actually became extinct for a while as a result, as today's dogs are a recreation of the breed.

It was re-created by a Norfolk breeder in the UK called Gwen Mackintosh in the 1960s. She used dogs that had the Lancashire Heeler line in them and bred those with Manchester Terriers. Efforts were made to keep them as similar as possible to the old Lancashire from the past. For example though the dog is rarely used today to herd cattle it retains that ability. In 1978 Gwen Mackintosh with other breeders and fanciers started the Lancashire Heeler Club in the UK and created a breed standard. In 1981 it received recognition from the Kennel Club. But in 2006 it was listed by them as a vulnerable breed since numbers being registered were under 300. In 2009 it was recognized by the UKC but it has yet to gain it from the AKC. In 2016 it was temporarily recognized by the FCI but its future depends on whether the numbers registered can be raised.

The Lancashire Heeler is a small dog weighing 6 to 13 pounds and standing just 10 to 12 inches tall. It is a low to the ground breed like the Corgi so it has short legs and a long body. In terms of coloring though it looks more like the Manchester Terrier. Its short legs are sturdy and have paws that turn out a little. The chest is deep and the back is strong. Its tail is set high and is carried over its back. It may be a small dog but it is sturdy looking. Its head is in proportion to the rest of it and it has ears that are large and erect is preferred though drop ears can happen. The ears are set wide apart as are the eyes. The coat is actually season dependent. In the winter it has a mane and the coat is longer and more plush. In the summer it shortens and is more sleek and shiny. Common colors are black and tan or liver and tan.

The Lancashire Heeler is a friendly dog with a happy and eager to please disposition and makes a great family pet and companion, but is also hard working, attentive and alert and can still be used as a working dog today. With strangers it is wary but with the proper introductions and good socialization it should learn not to over react to them. It is devoted to it family and friends and has some terrier traits being lively, independent and territorial. It will bark to let you know if anyone is entering its territory or the home so can be a good watchdog. Otherwise its barking should just be occasional.

It is still good at herding today but as a family pet that can translate to nipping at heels so that needs to be trained to stop. It does not like being alone for long periods of time and likes to have its people around it. It is essential it is treated like a dog not a baby just because of its smallness. Small dog syndrome happens when dogs are not given the firm and consistent leadership they need. It can be good with new owners and also likes to be fairly active as it is energetic and loves to play though some can have their lazy moments.
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