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Can Corgis Climb Stairs?

If you are a proud owner of a Corgi, one of the noblest of all dog breeds, you already know that their legs are exceedingly short.

And with that fact in mind, you may have wondered, at one time or another, if Corgis can—or should—climb stairs.

This question becomes especially important for homeowners seeking to own a Corgi—homeowners that may live in a two-story home (or larger), one equipped with its fair share of steps.

To answer this query, yes, a fully mature Corgi is able to climb stairs, but keep in mind there are larger issues that extend beyond this mere ability, such as, “when and if it is safe for a Corgi to traverse steps,” and the actions you as an owner can take to prevent any injuries or accidents that may befall a pet that must occasionally or regularly take the stairs.

In this article, we will point out a number of factors to consider before safely exposing your Corgi to a home or business with stairs.

We will also highlight several steps you can take to limit the inherent dangers and ensure both the safety and continued mobility of your beloved dog.

Can Corgis Climb Stairs?  Some Factors to Consider

Before moving into your new two-story home—or before introducing a new Corgi into an existing multi-level home—there are numerous basic facts and factors to mull over first.

Below we have highlighted just a few of these considerations, and some common sense strategies for addressing them.

Stairs Can Be Hard on a Corgi’s Hips

Canine hip dysplasia is a very common medical condition in dogs.

And it is especially common in the Corgi breed, due largely to their short legs (in relation to their bodies).

So what exactly is canine hip dysplasia and why might stairs invite or worsen the condition in Corgis specifically?

Canine hip dysplasia, is a fairly commonplace skeletal or joint condition that can result in both pain and a massive decrease in mobility.

The condition is usually associated with the very large dog breeds, such as Great Danes and the like, but it can also affect smaller breed dogs like the Corgi.

Hip dysplasia can be caused by genetic factors or by trauma to the hip joint—trauma that could potentially be caused by a fall or accidental misstep on a flight of stairs.

Because Corgis’ legs are so short, the potential for missteps and accidents on the stairs is greatly increased.

Very steep stairs make the Corgi even more vulnerable, as one false step can quickly lead to disaster.

This does not mean that Corgis can never climb stairs, but it does mean that their independence should not depend on the regular use of them, as this latter scenario is only upping the chances for injury.

When hip dysplasia is the result of injury—like a fall from the stairs—it can cause the ball and socket structures that comprise the hip joint to grind together, rather than sliding effortlessly as they were intended.

Over time, this constant grinding can cause the hip joint to deteriorate, bringing pain and mobility issues to your pet, and could eventually lead to a complete loss of joint function.

Not all stairs are inherently dangerous to Corgis.

Stairs that rise gradually to another level of your home are generally okay for an adult Corgi to negotiate, as are those with shorter risers, thus requiring less effort for the short legs of your dog.

Only Mature Corgis Should Have Access to Stairs

If you plan to adopt a new Corgi puppy—or if you have a mama Corgi that has just given birth to a litter of pups—the stairs can present a major problem.

It has been well-established here that the Corgi breed was saddled with short legs, so it’s no secret that the legs of Corgi puppies are even shorter.

Thus, it’s very important that you completely limit access to those stairs until the puppies have fully matured.

According to breed experts, no Corgi should attempt a flight of stairs until he is at least 8-months to a year old.

Not only will this allow time for the pup’s body to become strong and mature, it will also ensure the requisite balance and coordination needed for the task.

Even after a Corgi puppy has reached full maturity, the process of climbing steps should be a slow and supervised one.

This is a learned task that will take some time to perfect, so don’t expect fast results as the Corgi perfects this process.

Going Up Is Actually Safer than Coming Down

With short bodies and even shorter legs, the Corgi is not a natural climber.

Quite the opposite. Standing at an average height of 12 inches for males and 10 inches for females, your pet Corgi is not likely to win any awards for the high jump.

This small physique makes it very difficult for your dog to climb up steps, and even more dangerous to come down them, despite, what one would think, as the reduced effort to accomplish the latter.

Think of it this way:  the average riser on a set of house stairs—the distance between one step and the next—is 7.5 inches.

This means that a Corgi has to jump a distance that is more than half of its body length each time it conquers a single stair.

This is hazardous enough when going in the “up” direction, but when you factor in the power of gravity on the return trip down the stairs, the risk is almost ten-fold.

We always picture the might and peril required for a short dog like a Corgi to go up the stairs, but most stair injuries actually happen in the reverse direction.

Moreover, while a fall of only a short distance may be involved when your dog is climbing upwards, the opposite direction could result in steeper falls that have more potential for injury.

To prevent these step-related injuries, Corgis should be monitored on their ability to traverse the stairs in both directions.

You can also allow your Corgi to climb up, and then carry him down.

Anything you can do to limit his exposure and risk to this hazard will usually pay off in the long-term.

Dealing with a Headstrong Corgi

Finally, Corgis have a tendency to be very independent and strong-willed with relation to their behavior.

In other words, despite all your common sense efforts to protect your pooch and discourage him from accessing the stairs, he will still, at times, find a way to do it.

If this is the scenario in which you currently find yourself, you may have no choice but to completely cut off stair access—as well as the need to climb the stairs.

A baby gate in front of the stairs is a great idea in cases such as these, but this can quickly become an inconvenience for you and your family.

Because of this, we recommend that you reduce any need for climbing the stairs in the first place.

For example, always feed and water your pet in the downstairs region exclusively, and keep all pet toys on this level as well.

Keep your dog company on the ground level as much as possible, and if you need to go upstairs, either let your dog play outside for a while, or carry him up (and down) the stairs with you.

image credit: Reddit

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National Canine Research Association of America