The beloved breed of the late Queen, Pembroke corgis like Claire’s four-year-old boy Thegn were originally bred to herd cattle.
The fifth generation in a line of Welsh hill farming stock, Thegn – a name derived from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning servant to a lord – still shows his herding instinct to this day.
“Oh, you can’t boss a corgi around,” said Claire.
“They’re very loyal but they can also try to herd you and can nip at your ankles a bit to try to keep you in line.
“My husband Richard’s family has had corgis since the 1940s. The family always had working dogs, gun dogs and the like, and corgis fit in very well as cattle dogs.
“They are small, stubborn and humorous – I think that’s what is appealing about them.”
The popularity of Pembroke corgis has grown ever since the late Queen was given her first one, Susan, on her 18th birthday.
Kennel Club figures show 1,223 Pembroke corgis were registered last year, up from 887 registered the previous year.
Kennel Club figures also show that last year six registered Pembroke corgi were exported from the UK – one each to Belgium, the Russian Federation, Singapore and New Zealand and two to Italy.
“I think their popularity is due in part to the Queen of course,” said Claire.
“But I also think it’s the purity of the breed.
“They’re such sturdy little dogs and one of the traditional British breeds, so they’re also popular in America and Japan.
“We only keep one corgi at a time because, as the Queen knew herself, it can be a problem when you have more than one in the household.”
The Queen, by Angie Porter
Claire added: “We trained Thegn with the help of Jane Mallett at All About the Dog West Dorset. If not for her professional training, he would be much more difficult.
“I couldn’t recommend Jane highly enough to dog owners.
“She’s the most intuitive person I’ve ever seen with a dog.
“Thegn is now very sociable, he loves greeting people and other dogs.”
Claire and Richard also have a Brussels griffon hunting dog named Millie who they rescued from France. According to Claire: “Millie’s the boss, although sometimes Thegn thinks he is.
“He understands their dynamic, although he’s very stubborn and doesn’t want to accept it, but they get on very well.”
Speaking of her success in helping to train Thegn, Jane Mallett said: “Training corgis is very much like training any other dog – a positive and kind approach is most effective, so rewarding good behaviour helps to develop good manners and a stronger bond between an owner and their puppy.”