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Are Corgis Smart? And How They Show Intelligence

Are Corgis Smart? And How They Show Intelligence

Do you have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and are wondering how smart they are? Maybe you want to know how easy it’ll be to teach them new tricks? Here’s everything you need to know about whether Corgis are smart!

Are Corgis Smart? Yes, Corgis are really smart! According to Stanley Coren who researched the intelligence of 138 different dog breeds, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are the 11th most intelligent breed. Naturally excellent herders, their high working intelligence levels helped them score highly in the experiment!

Read on to find out whether a Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s intelligence is all genetic, how you can make them more intelligent, and how they show you how smart they are!

Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years. 

Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis Intelligent?

Yes, Corgis are really intelligent! Stanley Coren researched the intelligence of 138 different dog breeds in 1994.

He found Pembroke Welsh Corgis were the 11th most intelligent of them all, which isn’t too bad for a dog with such little legs!

Standing just 10-12 inches high to their shoulder, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are one of the smaller yet popular herding breeds.

Naturally excellent herders, their high working intelligence levels helped them score highly in the experiment. 

Known for their fluffy coats and being Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite breed, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are also the 11th most popular breed for 2021 according to the American Kennel Club. 

It’s not hard to see why! Not only are they super cute, but they’re brainy too!

How Do You Measure A Corgi’s Intelligence?

In his experiment, Stanley Coren measured each breed’s intelligence levels by looking at their:

Instinctive Intelligence

This is how well a dog performs the skill they were initially bred for.

For Corgis, this is herding. It’s their ability to perform this with little human training or commands.

Even Corgis who have never been used for herding livestock, have natural talent! 

Adaptive Intelligence

This is how well a dog learns for themselves and what they pick up from their environment.

This varies more between individual dogs, but Corgis generally have a high level of adaptive intelligence. 

Working and Obedience Intelligence

This is how well a dog learns from and responds to humans. 

Coren measured this by seeing how quickly Corgis picked up a new command.

He also looked at how often they responded to commands the first time. 

Closeup of a Corgi's head on a yellow background with a speech bubble that says 'Do you think I'm smart?'
Corgis Are A Smart Dog Breed

How Did Pembroke Welsh Corgis Do In Stanley Coren’s Experiment?

Pembroke Welsh Corgis did very well in Stanley Coren’s experiment! They’re placed 11th out of 138 tested breeds, giving them the first spot in the ‘excellent working dogs’ section.

The brainy breeds in this section, only needed 5-15 repetitions before they successfully learned something new.

So, teaching your Corgi new tricks should be pretty easy! 

When they were asked to listen to a command they already knew, Pembroke Welsh Corgis responded at least 85% of the time, the first time they were asked.

This means they’re 70% more obedient than dogs with ‘average intelligence’. What little brainboxes! 

Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis Smarter Than The Experiment Says?

Yes, it’s possible Pembroke Welsh Corgis are even brighter than the experiment says!

Although Stanley Coren’s experiment is quite accurate, it’s not entirely flawless.

It doesn’t consider other contributing factors which may affect a dog’s intelligence.

Your Corgi’s current health, age, individual personality, living environment, lifestyle, and previous training can positively and negatively impact their intelligence. 

Although Corgi’s fared well on all three parts of the intelligence tests, the working and obedience intelligence section is the easiest to measure effectively.

This part is most popular among dog owners, as this is the only one that considers a human influence.

The other sections rely on your Corgi themselves, without any input from you.

If you work hard to train your Corgi to a high level, they’ll undoubtedly appear more intelligent!  

Is A Pembroke Welsh Corgis Intelligence All Genetic?

No, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s intelligence isn’t all genetic.

In reality, they get almost half their intelligence from their genes and the rest from their environment.

According to Stanley Coren’s research, a Corgi’s intelligence is 51% genetic and 49% environmental. 

Just because your Corgi is genetically intelligent, doesn’t mean their environment has no impact on their intelligence.

How they’re feeling and how much training you give them, has a direct effect on how clever they are.

If you ask your Corgi to do something and they don’t do it, it’s not always because they’re being stubborn! It may simply be because they’ve not learned that yet. 

Equally, because they have such a high level of adaptive intelligence, your Corgi may even do things without you asking them to.

They may run to the door when they see you pick up their lead. 

This isn’t something you’ve taught them, it’s something they’ve picked up on themselves from their environment. 

Can I Make My Corgi More Intelligent?

Absolutely! You can definitely teach your Corgi to be more intelligent.

In fact, because they’re so bright to begin with, it can make your life a lot easier!

Corgis have got active minds that you need to keep busy, so they love to learn new things.

If you don’t give them something to think about, they can quickly create their own entertainment. 

They’re known for being really stubborn, so you need to train them consistently to get them to do what you ask!

Herding breeds like Pembroke Welsh Corgis, are inclined to think for themselves and make their own decisions, so they can take a bit of persuading to see things your way sometimes. 

The more time you spend with this loyal, hard-working breed, the closer your relationship will be between each other.

Not only this, but the more you train them, the happier they’ll be and the cleverer they’ll seem. 

Corgi face looking right on a bright yellow background with a speech bubble that says 'Do you think I'm smart?'
Corgis Are An Intelligent Dog Breed

How Do Pembroke Welsh Corgis Show Their Intelligence?

Here’s how Pembroke Welsh Corgis show they’re smart:

Corgis Can Solve Problems

Because they’re so bright, Corgis can quickly solve problems and puzzles.

They’re great at enrichment activities and puzzles toys and can quickly figure out the fastest way to do something.

Many owners say their Corgi works out the easiest way to work, so they don’t have to work as hard. Smart! 

Corgis Excel At Dog Sports

Corgis are often good at different dog sports. Obedience, rally, agility and of course herding are all great fun for them.

Although they may be low to the ground, they’re agile strong and clever which is an excellent combination for doing well in dog sports. 

Corgis Can Learn Party Tricks Quickly

Corgis love to learn new things and what better way to keep them busy than teaching them cute party tricks.

They’ll pick up new tricks really fast too! 

Corgis Know What You’re Saying

Corgis can recognize and understand lots of different commands, words, and phrases.

Some will even respond if you mention the word ‘walk’ in everyday conversation!

Many Corgis tilt their head from side to side when you speak to them, as though they’re listening closely to you. 

Corgis Know What You’re Doing Next

Corgis are great at knowing what you’re about to do next.

They’ll soon realize that they’re about to go for a walk if you put your coat on and grab their lead.

They’ll also know that teatime is coming as soon as they hear you pick up their bowl!

Corgis Can Count

If you grab two treats for your Corgi, but only give them one, they’ll know! And, they won’t let you forget about it either. 

They can be super greedy though, so don’t go mad with their daily treat allowance!

Corgis Are Great Watchdogs

Because of their herding background, Corgis are really alert and notice everything. They’ll let you know if anyone is around. 

They’ve got a deep, loud bark for a smaller dog and they’re not afraid to use it to get your attention! 

Corgis Can Train Their Owners

Corgis can be very stubborn and strong-willed. They know their own minds and love to think for themselves.

If you’re not careful, your Corgi can quickly start training you to do what they want, instead of the other way round! Clever! 

So there you have it! Pembroke Welsh Corgis are very smart dogs! According to the dog intelligence researcher Stanley Coren, they’re the 11th most intelligent dog breed. This basically means they’ll have you wrapped around their little paw in no time at all!

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