Can Corgis Be Service Dogs? What You Should Know!
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an intelligent, active breed beloved by the internet, the Queen, and everyone in between. They’re classified as a herding breed, which means they have an innate drive to work alongside their human companions. Because of this, Corgis can make wonderful service dogs—but only for certain jobs.
What Do Service Dogs Do?
Before we dive into whether or not Corgis can be service dogs, let’s first review what service dogs do. Service dogs are specially trained to perform specific tasks that their human companions cannot do for themselves.
- Guide dogs help people with visual impairments navigate their surroundings.
- Hearing dogs alert their deaf or hard-of-hearing handlers to specific sounds.
- Mobility assistance dogs who help people with mobility impairments get around.
- Medical alert dogs are trained to detect changes in their handler’s blood sugar levels or seizure activity.
- Psychiatric service dogs provide emotional support and assistance to people with mental illnesses.
- Autism assistance dogs help children with autism manage their condition.
But beyond those classifications, service dogs can be trained for almost any task. From opening doors to picking up dropped items, there’s almost nothing a service dog can’t do to help their human companion.
Can Corgis Be Trained as Service Dogs?
Given the definition of a service dog, which is an animal that is trained to assist a person with disabilities, the answer is yes, Corgis can be service dogs. They’re considered one of the smartest dog breeds, and they’re also highly trainable. They can pick up commands quickly and have the stamina to work for long hours.
Despite being low to the ground, Corgis are exceptionally athletic. They were bred to herd livestock, after all, a task that involves a lot of running, stopping, and changing direction quickly.
Combine those traits, and you have one of the best possible candidates for a service dog. However, there are certain limitations to what Corgis can do as service dogs:
Corgis Are Too Small for Some Tasks
The most common breeds used as service dogs are Labradors, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers. All three breeds are large, which is ideal for a few reasons.
First, large dogs can provide physical support to their handlers when needed. They can also serve as a barrier between their handler and the outside world, deterring people or animals from getting too close. Their height also allows them to reach things that their human companions cannot.
Corgis, on the other hand, are much smaller. They’re not going to be able to provide the same level of physical support. For instance, a Corgi may struggle to help a handler stand up from a sitting position. They also won’t be able to reach things as easily, which may limit the tasks they can perform.
Additionally, Corgis’ small size makes them more vulnerable to injury. They can be easily knocked over and stepped on, which is something you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re considering a Corgi as a service dog.
Their Herding Instinct May Be a Problem
While the herding instinct is one of the things that makes Corgis such good candidates for service dogs, it can also be a problem. Corgis were bred to herd animals by biting at their heels, and they may try to do the same to people. This could be a problem if, for instance, your Corgi service dog is trying to herd children when they should be leaving them alone.
Additionally, Corgis may chase after animals or people they perceive as a threat. This could lead to them getting lost or getting into accidents.
Of course, this behavior can be corrected with training, but it’s important to set realistic expectations. Corgis are bred to herd, and it’s going to take a lot of work to train them not to do it.
So, What Jobs Can Corgis Do as Service Dogs?
While Corgis may be ideal as guide dogs or mobility assistance dogs, there are other jobs they may potentially excel at:
- Therapy dogs: Corgis are known for their friendly, outgoing personalities. They love people, and they have a way of making everyone they meet feel special. This makes them ideal candidates for therapy dogs, who provide comfort and companionship to people in hospitals, nursing homes, and other settings.
- Service dogs for children with autism: Due to their small size, Corgis may be less intimidating to children with autism than larger breeds. They can provide comfort and support, as well as help with tasks such as opening doors or picking up dropped items.
- Search and rescue dogs: Corgis’ herding instinct can be put to good use in search and rescue operations. They have excellent tracking skills thanks to their keen sense of smell.
The ever-lovable Corgi has a ton of potential as a service dog. The key is to capitalize on their strengths while mitigating their weaknesses. With the right training and handling, a Corgi service dog can be an invaluable asset to its human companion.
Featured Image Credit: David Raihelgauz, Shutterstock