How corgis became the hottest dog of 2019

By | October 10, 2019

When Jenny Wong and her boyfriend, Justin Yip, walk down the street with their 18-month-old Pembroke Welsh corgi, Cosmo, they have to stop — a lot.

“Everyone wants to come up and pet him,” says Wong, a 25-year-old data analyst.

“They stare and point and ask to take pictures,” adds Yip, a 25-year-old mechanical engineer who lives in Gravesend, Brooklyn, with Wong.

In 2019’s butt-obsessed culture, it’s no wonder that the most bootylicious dog breed is having a moment. According to the American Kennel Club, the short-legged, long-bodied, rump-wiggling corgi has been climbing steadily in the ranks as America’s most popular breed. In 2008, they ranked 24th; in 2018, they were 13th.

“We’re in the peak of corgi season,” says Logan Mikhly, a co-owner of Boris and Horton, a dog-friendly cafe in the East Village.

Mikhly says they’re the new It breed, following in the paw prints of goldendoodles and French bulldogs, and that corgi meetups are the cafe’s most popular events. She’s not mad about it. “[Their] proportions are ridiculous, their walk is funny and they are always smiling.”

She thinks another draw for the corgi cohort is that they’re a fairly small dog — topping off at 30 pounds — with more of a big dog personality.

“I think men are less afraid of owning a corgi than [other] little dogs,” says Mikhly.

Andy Carter, a former Westminster judge who has two corgis, agrees.

“They are like a golden retriever in a 26-pound body,” says the Upper East Sider. “From an apartment standpoint, they are ideal.”

The profile of the breed, which originated in Wales in the 12th century for herding livestock (perfect leg-nipping height; too hard for cattle to kick), is also on the rise online and on TV. Corgis have been the subject of various viral memes. A clip of “Queer Eye” star Antoni Porowski freaking out over a corgi’s “little baby paws — they smell like pup-peroni!” has over 90,000 views. The haunchy hound also features prominently on Netflix’s “The Crown” (Queen Elizabeth has had more than 30 of the dogs in her lifetime) and the cult anime series “Cowboy Bebop,” which is being remade by the streaming giant this year.

“I had always seen them online,” says Darren Carlin, a 31-year-old coder, who has a 7-year-old corgi named George and lives in Putnam Valley, New York. “When I got him in Ireland, we only knew a handful of others. Now, I see dozens of them. They were memes first, so everyone wants one.”

One of the New Yorkers driving their popularity online doesn’t even have a dog.

Eric Ho
Eric HoEric Ho

Eric Ho, 30, runs the New York Corgis Facebook page, which has 3,800 followers; organizes monthly meetups for the breed; and even went to San Francisco to attend something called Corgi Con.

“They resonate with me, and they’re super-friendly,” says the self-described “corgi whisperer” who isn’t ready for the commitment of having one himself. (“I’m an uncle to a corgi named Sam.”) He first got into the breed in 2016, while working for a graphic design company. “I was making and selling 3-D-printed memes, and one day I came across a corgi cosplaying Thor, and the figurine I designed went viral,” Ho says.

Cute as they are, the breed has some inherent issues. Their adorably stubby bodies make them prone to obesity, and they need a lot of exercise to avoid future hip and joint problems, according to the AKC. And while they’re extremely motivated by treats, per corgi owners, they’re also prone to nipping and barking — traits that do well to herd cattle, but can be annoying at home.

They’re not exactly low-maintenance, either.

“They have a top coat and an undercoat, and shed like crazy,” says Carter. “There are tumbleweeds of hair. I have to bathe mine every two to three weeks.”

Still, they’re definitely the dog for him.

“They’re loyal, fierce, strong and sturdy, and they aren’t afraid of anything,” he says. “I was waiting for a train with my puppy, and he sat right on the edge of the platform. He didn’t even back off when the train was coming.

“They are kind of like New Yorkers.”

Living | New York Post