Feature of the Welsh Corgis – found in both Pembrokes and Cardigans. You definitely can’t miss them in a crowd. And although the small legs may not be the most practical attribute, you can’t refute the “cuteness.” It’s no coincidence that Corgis has little legs. Like other dogs with tiny legs, Corgis shows a sort of dwarfism called Chondrodysplasia.

Originally a genetic mutation, it now is a fundamental component of what makes a Corgi a Corgi. Without their small legs, they would be completely different dogs. Corgis having short legs is a perfect example of an intentional accident. Ultimately, their tiny legs are caused by a genetic abnormality. At some time in history, a gene mutated and started shortening the legs of these Welsh Corgis.

When did corgis first grow short legs?

Dogs like these were once commonplace in England and Scotland, where they herded livestock. Due to its diminutive size, it is both quick and evasive in combat. That’s why it’s common practice to cut off their tails. But the cardigan corgi just won’t do it. Cardigans corgis are your best bet for a tali-equipped canine companion.

Corgis were difficult to strike because of their short legs. Leg length is another trait that sets Corgis apart. They are, indeed, short and stocky. Because of the high demand for corgis with short legs, breeders have purposefully bred them that way. To better work, the land, farmers, and ranchers bred for a low center of gravity. This reduced the likelihood that cows would attempt to attack them. Damage to a corgi’s paws or leg makes it useless as a herder.

So, if you want a tougher dog, breed one that stays low to the earth; a short little Corgi, however, can practically run below these kicks and avoid any potentially fatal injury. Thus, they were safeguarded from harm while performing their previous duties. In order to promote this small stature, breeders selected it in their Corgis. The small plump Corgis we see today are the result of years of selective breeding for shorter, increasingly shorter canines.

How does being short-legged affect the dog? 

Why Do Corgis Have Short Legs: Ultimate Guide with Reasons

There are several tasks that your elderly Corgi may find very challenging. For example, consider taking the stairs or hiking up and down a steep hill. Jumping and sprinting put a lot of strain on Corgi’s joints, and other high-impact activities are just as bad.

Your Pembroke’s pain could be the cause of any unexpected changes in his behavior, such as a loss of food or refusal to walk. You should check your dog for back or joint pain if that arises after a hike or an energetic game. A trip to the vet to check on your Corgi’s health might be in order.

As a result of their youthful vigor and boundless curiosity, some dogs may try out activities that aren’t safe or healthy for them. It is your responsibility as your dog’s human companion to take precautions to protect him or her from harm. For example, hard hiking, especially up steep slopes, is required to catch a frisbee.

The following will be very helpful for your dog’s back and joints: assist them in achieving and keeping a healthy weight: Since their appetites are so great, corgis often end up overweight. Swimming, a low-impact sport, is a great approach to encourage joint flexibility and weight maintenance.

Why are corgis so short?

Dogs with even shorter legs There are two forms of genetic dwarfism responsible for the short legs of the Corgi, and in certain situations, both forms are present. Both varieties originated as chance mutations, but humans favored breeding dogs with shorter legs for practical reasons.

The improper replication of the Fibroblast Growth Factor 4 gene (or FGF4 gene) in a Corgi’s DNA is the root cause of both kinds. The chondrodysplasia gene is located on chromosome 12, while the chondrodystrophy gene is located on chromosome 18. Both forms of dwarfism have been reported in Corgis, although in other dwarf dog breeds, only one type is present.

The mutations that produce them occur in various parts of their DNA. Therefore they are not mutually exclusive. Thus, a single Corgi can carry both dwarfism genes. Corgis, according to the breed standard, can be between 10 and 12 inches in height at the shoulder blades and weigh up to 28 pounds for females and 30 pounds for males. This allows for some diversity in height, with the shortest people typically being carriers of both forms of dwarfism.

Is having short legs bad for a corgi?

Degenerative myelopathy is also very common in the canine population, and that includes corgis. Paralysis of the back legs is one of the symptoms of degenerative myelopathy, which is a deterioration of the spinal cord. Symptoms usually manifest themselves after a dog reaches the age of nine.

In addition, almost one-fifth of Corgis suffer from hip dysplasia, and one-third of them have shoulder joint deformities. Painful arthritis and impaired mobility are possible outcomes. There is no indication that dwarfism exacerbates these diseases or degenerative myelopathy at this time, according to the authors.

How to Treat a Corgi with Short Legs Many people’s dream is to have a Corgi as a pet, but they need to consider certain factors first. While they may have small legs, Corgis are anything but slow. In order to be successful as working dogs, they needed to be physically robust and mentally tough.

Though your pet Corgi is likely to be full of life and enthusiasm, you should take care to avoid injuring its back or its relatively small legs. Install ramps or steps to prevent children from using the furniture as a trampoline. Maintain a healthy body weight to reduce the strain on their spine. Use training games, problem-solving activities, and puzzle feeders in addition to physical activity to tire them out. Take them swimming if you can find a place to do so in your area. One of the best ways to strengthen their bones is to go swimming.

Why do corgis have short legs?

You can see the effects of domestication and artificial selection on an animal over millennia if you compare the graceful running of a wolf to that of a dachshund. Dachshunds are predisposed to Chondrodysplasia, a kind of dwarfism caused by the premature hardening of the developing ends of the leg bones.

At least 19 contemporary breeds share the same small, curled legs, and these include the popular Corgi, Pekingese, and basset hound. The domestic dog has more breeds than any other species, and this diversity is on display here.

Now, researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute led by Heidi Parker have identified the gene responsible for the short stature of these breeds, and it turns out to have startling implications for human dwarfism. All occurrences of short stature in dogs kept as pets can be traced back to a single genetic change that occurred throughout the dogs’ ancestry.

Sometime in the distant past, a copy of the bone-growing FGF4 (fibroblast growth factor 4) gene was smuggled into the dog genome at a different location. Many domestic breeds have been stunted by the presence of an additional, incorrect copy, known as a retrogene.

1. The word “Corgi” refers to two separate dog types

Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Cardigan Welsh Corgis are the two main varieties of Welsh Corgi. Because they descend from diverse stock, we classify them as separate breeds. Their striking similarity is the consequence of breeding efforts in the nineteenth century. The tails of Pembroke Corgis are docked, which is the most obvious physical difference between the two breeds. Cardigan Welsh Corgis have rounder ears in addition to their tails, while Pembroke Welsh Corgis’ ears are typically sharp.

2. Cardigan Welsh Corgis are the original breed of Corgi

See this Merle Cardigan Welsh Corgi standing proudly on some mossy greenery in the forest on a bright, sunny day. Corgis have lived in Cardiganshire, Wales, since at least 1200 BCE, when they were brought there by a Celtic military group. The dachshund descended from this early dog breed and others in the Teckel family.

It’s also worth noting that Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a long and illustrious history. Although the exact origin of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is unknown, it is generally accepted that the breed originated in Wales around 1107 C.E., when a group of Flemish weavers settled there. Pembroke Welsh Corgis descended from a cross between the original Cardigan Corgis and a Spitz-type dog.

4. The Corgi is the product of natural selection and genetic engineering

Inability to have long legs. Purebred Corgis, according to the AKC, are expected to have shorter legs. Long-legged Corgis are not possible to breed because doing so would create a completely new breed of dog. It’s unfortunate that this mutation occurred in the Corgi. But in the end, this positive quality was selected, and the modern Corgi was born.

5. Disease of the nerve cells

Corgis are disproportionately afflicted with the neurological disorder degenerative myelopathy. Corgis with this condition eventually become paralyzed in their hindquarters due to the progressive weakness of their rear legs. Although there is currently no cure, treatment options like rehabilitation, nutritional supplements, and physical activity have been shown to be beneficial.

How to protect your corgi joints?

Why Do Corgis Have Short Legs: Ultimate Guide with Reasons

Though canine arthritis is widespread, that doesn’t mean your dog has to suffer. Dog arthritis can be prevented in part by diet and exercise, but genetics also play a role.

According to Dr. Jo Ann Morrison, a board-certified veterinary internist with Banfield Pet Hospital in the Portland, Oregon region, “there are several behaviors pet owners can establish sooner rather than later to assist delay the beginning of, even if it is not feasible to completely prevent,” arthritis in dogs. Find out what you can do to keep your dog’s joints healthy, from maintaining a healthy weight and regular activity to giving him fish oil and glucosamine for dogs.

1 . Get on a healthy diet right away

Dr. Morrison adds that nutritionally full food can help limit a puppy’s growth pace, which is better for the puppy’s joints and skeletal system. Fast growth has been linked to worsening symptoms in children with some types of developmental orthopedic disease; hence, doctors often advocate moderate, stable growth.

Dr. Elizabeth Knabe of Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic in Marshfield, Wisconsin, says, “Owners that feed too much or provide too rich a diet will cause the puppy to acquire weight quicker than the bones can take,” which can result in orthopedic problems and, eventually, arthritis. Puppy formula dog food can aid in healthy development and growth. Examples of full and balanced diets for puppies include Hill’s Science Diet puppy healthy development dry dog food, which is made specifically for promoting healthy development.

It’s also important to schedule regular veterinary checkups for your dog. Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment planning for any indicators of arthritis or disorders that could lead to arthritis are possible with regular visits to the veterinarian, including twice-yearly full examinations, she says.

Additionally, your doctor can advise you on how to spot the first signs of pain or discomfort in your dog. Dr. Morrison warns that by the time obvious indicators like limping are discovered, permanent joint damage may have already occurred in your pet with a condition like arthritis.

2. The proper way to exercise your dog

When it comes to bone development, Dr. Knabe emphasizes the importance of a specific type and amount of activity tailored to canines. Too much jogging on hard surfaces, especially if the hip joints are already loose, might negatively affect bone formation.”

She argues that two puppies make for a more efficient workout since they tire out at roughly the same rate and rest when they need to. Dr. Jessica Ennis, medical director of Cherry Hill Animal Hospital in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, suggests you think about introducing your young dog to water and swimming.

Water exercise will be less of a challenge for an older dog or one with arthritis if the dog is used to it from a young age. Dr. Ennis states, “Unfortunately, some pets are too afraid of water to benefit from this great treatment for arthritis.” Dr. Robin Downing, director of the Downing Center for Animal Pain Management in Windsor, Colorado, believes that when training a dog, it’s important to take the dog’s individual body type into account.

Example: “You shouldn’t ask a Bulldog to run beside a bike when you’re out for a ride. In contrast to the average Poodle, most Labrador retrievers enjoy the water. Additionally, dogs benefit more from moderate, daily activity than intense, once-a-week workouts.

3. Talk to your vet about joint supplements for your dog

There is now no evidence to support the use of supplements to prevent arthritis in dogs. However, supplements do play a function in maintaining the joints. Supplements to help reduce the degeneration of cartilage in their joints and to make them more comfortable for a longer period of time.

Fish oil has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including the potent antioxidants EPA and DHA. She explains how beneficial they will be for scavenging free radicals, protecting the body from harmful damage, and countering inflammation.

The NaturVet Level 2 Max formula dog supplement is glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs and fish oil for dogs supplement. There are some complete and balanced dog diets that also include dog joint supplements. Dry dog food with added glucosamine and chondroitin for mobility and joint support by Hill’s Prescription Diet and Hill’s Science Diet for older dogs with mobility issues.

Omega-3 fatty acids, chondroitin, and glucosamine are all included in small kibble dry dog food. Dr. Downing notes that the chemical MicroLactin in Duralactin canine joint plus soft chew dog supplement reduces inflammation in arthritic joints in addition to systemic inflammation (by a mechanism distinct from that of NSAIDs).

5. Keep your dog in shape

Because an overweight dog’s joints experience increased wear and tear because of the extra weight, the severity of arthritic symptoms in pets that are already overweight can be considerably reduced by losing weight.

Advises that you maintain your dog’s appropriate weight and physical condition throughout his life. Your vet can help you determine your dog’s body condition score so that you can give him or her the proper diet and activity to reach and maintain your desired goal weight.

Do all corgis have short legs?

Why Do Corgis Have Short Legs: Ultimate Guide with Reasons

Because of one or two genetic mutations in their DNA, Corgis are naturally short-legged. Extremely short limb bones are a hallmark of dwarfism, a skeletal disorder. There are two types of dwarfism in the Corgi breed. Chondrodysplasia Chrondrodystrophy, The incorrect replication of the Fibroblast Growth Factor 4 gene (or FGF4 gene) in a Corgi’s DNA, is the underlying cause of both types.

Corgis are the only breed of dog that exhibits both types of dwarfism, while other dwarf dog breeds only show one. In addition, they are not exclusive of one another because they result from mutations in separate parts of their genetic code. This suggests that two forms of dwarfism can coexist in a single Corgi. The official breed standard for the Corgi allows for dogs up to 28 pounds for females and 30 pounds for males, with a height limit of 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder blades.

This allows for some diversity in height, with the shortest people typically being carriers of both forms of dwarfism. Yes! Corgis have knees, it’s true. During development, the FGF4 gene prevents the Corgi’s leg bones from growing to their proper length.

Their skeletons and joints, however, remain intact. Technically speaking, a dog only has knees on its hind legs, which are called stifles. The stifle is the uppermost section of the hind leg while a dog is sitting at attention. Similarly, their forelegs’ analogous joints are referred to as “elbows” in human terminology.

Watch Can corgis do agility sports? [don’t underestimate corgis with short legs] | Video

Top 5 FAQs and answers related to why corgis have short legs?

Why do corgis have such small legs?

All corgis share the same genetic disease, achondroplastic dwarfism, which causes their cute short legs. About three hundred years ago, by chance, the first litter of short-legged puppies was born.

I was wondering if corgi-legs mixes were always so short?

There are genes for short stature in all corgis. And that feature is reliably carried on in every generation of purebred corgis. However, when corgis breed with other dogs, the offspring generally share the same short legs. This is because the gene for short legs is dominant, meaning that even if a dog only has one copy of the gene, short legs will win out.

What canine gene results in short limbs?

The genetic mutation chondrodysplasia causes limb shortening in dogs. Because of the “semi-dominant” nature of this genetic variant, carrying even a single copy of the gene can result in some degree of limb shortening, while carrying two copies will lead the legs to be significantly shorter.

As to the necessity of a wheelchair for corgis, please explain?

Due to their long backs, Corgis can develop painful spinal problems as they get older. The severity of back pain and other symptoms can vary depending on the area of the spinal cord that’s under stress. Many corgis will benefit from the use of a back brace to stabilize their spines and lessen their back pain.

Why do corgis have so many issues?

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a lifespan of roughly 11–13 years and is prone to major health problems such as epilepsy and degenerative myelopathy, in addition to canine hip dysplasia and intervertebral disc degeneration.


Although the vast majority of corgis do not have joint issues, as you saw, some do. If you ignore the fact that every Corgi has a predisposition for dwarfism, there are still plenty of additional issues that might arise over your pet’s lifespan. Because of the seriousness of these illnesses, it is crucial that you take your Corgi for frequent examinations to a vet you trust and that you educate yourself about them.

Take your Corgi on long walks and let it run, and let the breed’s naturally robust bodies do the rest since genetics isn’t something we can select on and determine whether we want them or not. Your dog views you as a parent figure. Therefore you must take whatever steps are necessary to help it recover from illness, no matter how big or scary they may seem.

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