History of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, Inc.
by Stephanie Seabrook Hedgepath
The PWCCA was founded on February 12, 1936 at a meeting held at Madison Square Garden in New York City at the time of a Westminster Kennel Club show. There were 18 charter members. The Bylaws of the club and the Standard of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi were approved by the American Kennel Club in March 1936 and later that year the PWCCA was formally accepted as a member club of the AKC. The standard was revised in 1972 and reformatted in 1993.
Through at least 1978 the PWCCA traditionally held its annual meeting in New York City at the time of the Westminster dog show. As the membership expanded to include more members from the Midwest and West, the annual meeting was moved to coincide with the National Specialty Show. The membership has grown from the initial 18 in 1936 to approximately 500 members plus 11 honorary members in 2006. The membership is mostly concentrated in the United States, as it should be, but members can also be found in Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom.
The first Specialty Show of the PWCCA was held in 1936 at Morris and Essex, with an entry of only eight Pembrokes. The first independent Specialty was held in 1976 at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and has been held annually since that time. In 1998, a National Specialty Steering Committee, headed by the Vice President, was established followed by a survey in the Spring of 1999 which in the Fall of 1999 led to the development of regions through which the National Specialty will rotate. The PWCCA’s National Specialty Show in the year 2000 had an entry of 497 dogs with an additional 93 entered in obedience. There were 170 entered in the Puppy Sweepstakes classes with 30 entered in Veteran Sweepstakes. The National Specialty also sponsored two Agility trials held on the same grounds as the other activities the two days prior to the conformation show. The various regional clubs sponsored several clinics and tests including the Canine Good Citizenship Test and the Therapy Dog International Test, an eye clinic and a microchip clinic. There were numerous social gatherings including a breakfast for international visitors. There was an educational seminar on von Willebrand’s Disease and also one on coaching the canine athlete. A parent club sponsored seminar for those judges who wanted a more in-depth understanding of the breed with classroom instruction followed by ringside mentoring was held over several days and there was also a delightful ringside discussion by Idris Jones (Belroyd) and Tim Mathiesen (Nebriowa) concerning the evolution of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi in England and the United States that was open to questions from the audience. The National Specialty has grown from a simple one day conformation show to an international gathering of Pembroke Welsh Corgi fanciers involved in all aspects of the fancy from conformation to performance events spread over nearly a full week of activities.
In 1959, the Golden Gate Pembroke Welsh Corgi Fanciers (Northern California) became the Club’s first affiliate; in 1965 the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of Southern California joined the parent club followed by the Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club (Illinois) in 1972 and the Cascade Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club (Washington) in 1973. There are now 13 affiliated clubs with several clubs in the process of recognition by the parent club.
The PWCCA has always been dedicated to the protection of not only its own breed, but also all purebred dogs. The PWCCA was among the first to undertake programs to educate the public including advertising in several dog related magazines, surveys and petitions, the development of a code of ethics and a brochure to acquaint the public with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. The PWCCA was one of the first to offer an illustrated study of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Standard in 1975 with drawings illustrating the breed and the “New Illustrated Study of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Standard” was published in 2000 utilizing full color and the latest computer technology to illustrate the same.
The PWCCA sponsors two other publications, “The Newsletter” and the “Pembroke Welsh Corgis in America”. “The Newsletter”, begun in 1961, is the oldest PWCCA publication and is published quarterly. It contains articles of general interest to Corgi enthusiasts, reports of top wins at regional specialty shows including the publication of the judge’s critiques, regional news items and member advertising. The second publication is the annual “Pembroke Welsh Corgis in America” generally known as the “Handbook”. Begun in 1972 as “Corgis in America” this publication is designed to give a permanent record available to all, with photographs and pedigrees of any titled American Pembroke Welsh Corgis. The Handbooks also contain complete, official records of specialty shows of the PWCCA and affiliated clubs, articles of permanent interest, member advertising, the membership roster of the PWCCA and the statistics of the previous year. These statistics include the All Time Top Ten Stud Dogs and Brood Bitches, the Top 20 in Conformation Group Points, the All Time Top Ten Best in Show Winners and a complete listing of the Register of Merit and Register of Merit Excellent Sires and Dams. In addition to the American winners, there is a listing of the British Best in Show Winners at All Breed Championship Shows, the Top Ten CC Winners in the UK and the All Time Top Ten Sires and Brood Bitches in Britain. In 1999, the PWCCA placed “Newsletter” and the “Handbook” into a separate corporation, “PWC Publications Corporation” that is a “for profit” status separate and distinct from the PWCCA.
The PWCCA Charitable Trust was formed in 2001. The PWCCA Charitable Trust is a not-for-profit entity, separate and distinct from the PWCCA, Inc.. It accepts donations from many sources, with most of the donations being deductible for the donor for Federal income tax purposes. The Trust funds are to be used for various charitable purposes related to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, including public education and research of health issues.
The PWCCA continues as an active member club of the AKC and takes its guardianship of the Standard seriously. It has grown from a small club to more resemble a large corporation in its 70+ years of service to the breed.