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Queen's influence has led to rise in corgis in France say breeders

The recent death of Queen Elizabeth II has contributed further to the small dogs’ popularity, which has been growing since her 2012 Jubilee

two Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Olaf and Tibur (black), two Pembroke Welsh Corgis owned by breeder Jocelyne Thomas Pic: La Caverne des Anges

Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeders in France have seen record sales over the last three years, a phenomenon accentuated by the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II, several breeders told The Connexion.

Read more: ‘Surprised, touched’: our French neighbours’ kindness at Queen’s death

The number of Pembroke Welsh Corgis officially born each year in France has climbed from 135 in 2012 to 1,010 in 2021, according to figures from the Société centrale canine (SCC), a French kennel club founded in 1881 that coordinates and regulates activities and connections between governmental groups and dog clubs.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis, the other Welsh Corgi breed, has not had quite the same boom in popularity although sales are still on the up. 

Four different Corgi breeders said that the popularity of Pembroke Welsh Corgis in France dates back to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the first time an internationally broadcasted British event really showed French people the Queen’s relationship with her corgis. 

From then, the Olympic Games with James Bond as well as other TV adverts or food items displayed corgis, and they also became popular on Instagram or via other online trends. 

“There are waiting-lists for corgis. It’s just crazy,” said Anne Socolovert, president of the  Corgis et Heeler Club de France, adding that she receives two to three demands a day from clients looking to buy a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Ms Socolovert expects to be already ahead of the 1,010 corgis listed for 2021, the trend only accelerating after the SCC reported 785 corgis in 2020 and 686 in 2019.

Of course the Queen is the real origin of the trend but advertising on TV and billboards also nurtured it, said Jocelyne Thomas, a corgi breeder since 1983 at La Caverne des Anges in Grandchamp (Yonne.)

Ms Thomas listed TV shows such as NCIS, movie The Queen's Corgi or TV commercials from Dentalix or Air France as all examples of industries who displayed corgis, all helping people to get familiar with the breed.

A Pembroke Welsh Corgi sells between €1,800 to €2,500 and sometimes €3,000 when its birth is registered and its breeding origin listed in the Livre des origines français (LOF), the official French registry tracing dogs’ origins since 1885.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are more and more popular in France

'Selling like washing powder'

But the trend has its dirty side as well, with Ms Thomas having written being “saddened” by it in a Facebook post on her wall.

“I have not been answering landline calls for two years,” said Ms Thomas, questioned on why calls were left ringing in the background during the interview. Ms Thomas is fed up with the demands.
“Do you have a corgi? You know, the Queen’s dog. Do you have them in fauve and white like foxes?,” Ms Thomas went on, listing all of the questions she had to answer.
“They buy corgis like washing powder,” she added.

The 1,010 births in 2021 is the lowest estimate for how many Welsh Pembroke Corgis have been born in France as it only takes into account births reported to the SCC. 

Since some breeders do not bother to officially register them, it is difficult to know how many corgis there are in France. From ten breeders when Ms Thomas joined, its numbers mushroomed to more than a hundred now.

Ms Socolovert agreed the number of breeders around the country as well as the number of births are very hard to quantify. 

While there is the possibility for people to provide in-depth information about dogs on the SCC website, for example about the animals’ health, origins, descendance or competition, many of the entries for Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a lot of missing information, with just the name, for example, listed. 

The phenomenon is also accentuated by the presence of many Pembroke Welsh Corgis listed on Le Bon Coin, France’s Gumtree-like website.  

“New breeders are coming on the market everyday. Most do it for the money,” said Ms Socolovert.

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