Canine Hip Dysplasia is common for Corgis (partly due the fact that Corgis have short legs).
So it’s smart that you wonder if Corgis can climb stairs.
In this article you’ll find out:
- The truth about Corgis and stairs.
- 5 dangers when your Corgi is climbing stairs.
- How you might end up paying a lot of money if you don’t consider these 9 simple tips.
- And more…
Table of contents
Can Corgis climb stairs?
Corgis can climb stairs. But you should wait for their bodies to fully grow before you let them at it. It takes Corgis roughly a year to reach their largest size.
Is it bad for Corgis to go up and down stairs?
Going up and down stairs is not necessarily bad for your Corgi. However, it’s advisable to pay attention to frequency. These dogs’ bodies evolved for flat terrain. Plus, the Corgi’s short size prevented animals from swatting them away while herding. Hence, Corgis aren’t the best with stairs.
So, with little power comes great responsibility!
#1: Stairs may not be so hip
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a fairly common problem for a Corgi.
It’s a disease that could render your Corgi unable to walk for the rest of their life. It begins with pain when walking across terrain they aren’t already used to.
This disease is often caused by a combination of malnutrition, lack of exercise, and other genetic and physical factors.
According to an article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 18.4% of Corgis are affected by the disease.
Stairs often aggravate this because their short, yet long stature forces them to climb harder than other breeds.
In fact, in some cases, they could be the culprit that cripples your Corgi for good.
Does this mean Corgis shouldn’t go upstairs?
They should as long as they’re healthy. In fact, some owners even make it part of their dog’s exercise regime. The key is pacing:
- Begin with slopes so your Corgi can get used to going upward.
- Adjust step height according to how fast your Corgi is scaling.
- Do not make speed a priority, just an indicator of strength.
- Make sure your Corgi is using every limb. If their movements look uncoordinated, stop immediately.
Generally, if you are looking to make your Corgi fit and agile, then stairs should remain an option.
Caution: The same cannot be said once your Corgi is diagnosed with CHD. Ask your vet before letting your dog climb.
#2: The stairway is an unwritten rite of passage
Many dogs may need just more than two months to get started with their first set of stairs.
However, for Corgis, the stairs can be considered their own rite of passage.
This is because their limbs become serviceable only when they mature. This happens around eight months later.
Besides, they have really short legs. Even at their tallest, male Corgis can only ever reach 12 inches (30 cm), and females can reach 10 inches (25cm).
The average stair step takes up more than half their height at 7.5 inches (19cm).
Because of this disparity, even a trained, full-fledged Corgi can have problems with stairs.
What if you still want to try it? You could, but do it sparingly. If you need to train your Corgi, train them on flat ground first.
#3: Corgis can be too eager
Corgis are headstrong and love taking charge.
Even as they mature, they do not immediately mellow out. They keep their herding instinct and try to lead where they can.
Naturally, Corgis will treat a stair-step like any other subordinate and conquer it.
In some cases, a full-size Corgi may not only take one but even two steps at once.
This attitude, of course, does not work with stairs.
For one, the way up puts immense pressure on the hind legs of any Corgi.
Corgis weigh 30 pounds (13.6 kg) on average.
And with legs only being able to fully carry them on flat surfaces, the Corgi may risk breaking their hips or legs with overuse.
You may need to intervene when Corgis start to get ahead of themselves, either by:
- Carrying them.
- Blocking the stairway.
- Giving them food or water.
Note: You may need certain equipment for this purpose, and you will find what you need below.
#4: Icarus, Icarus, Icarus
If there’s anything common between Icarus and a Corgi, it’s that both can go up, but neither can go down well.
However, this is not because Corgis are proud creatures like Icarus.
They have certain qualities that keep them from going down the stairs properly:
- Their short front legs basically mean that most Corgis will start out scared just trying to get down.
- They also have to compromise on their posture or jump down just to try and close the gap between their legs and the step.
Gravity will work against the Corgi here, physically and emotionally.
To keep your dog from having a miserable time, you will have to carry your Corgi down the stairs often.
#5: You may lose money to sudden injuries
Corgi limbs are not just vulnerable to wear and tear from using the stairs.
Sometimes, Corgis might accidentally overdo it and break them. This can happen when they’re scaling through the intimidating set of platforms at your home.
After that, you might end up having some serious expenses. These can go anywhere between $3200 and $5000 for fractures alone.
This does not even include surgeries for degenerative conditions like Canine Hip Dysplasia. This surgery can cost around $3500 minimum.
If you are not careful, you might have to spend about five digits’ worth of money.
How do you prevent this?
To prevent incurring extra costs, the best way is to invest in either tools, time, or preferably both.
This means helping your Corgi up the stairs if they can’t do it and never let them get out of sight near your stairs.
You may also need to modify the stairs by adding ramps or lowering the height of each step to make it easier on your Corgi.
Note: If you are worried about setting things up, there are a few other things you can do right below.
9 safety tips (specially #3 is important when your Corgi is climbing stairs)
#1: Use Ramps
Ramps are a great instrument to help your Corgi move along.
The smooth surfaces will ensure that your Corgi won’t have trouble climbing them.
A ramp also serves as a kind of pre-stair tool, so your Corgi can receive plenty of training there before trying out the real thing.
Will ramps hurt my wallet?
Certainly not. You can buy dog ramps for $30 to $40, and for that same amount, you will already be saving thousands.
And it all comes down to fitness: if your Corgi is still little, the ramp will help strengthen their joints.
They also have longevity on their side. A good ramp can last well until the Corgi’s twilight years.
#2: Place necessities on the ground floor
Everything that a dog needs should be placed on the ground floor, far from staircases. This includes:
- Dog bed.
- Dog bowls.
- Potty pads.
- Grooming materials.
Basically, you want your dog to be as comfortable with the ground floor as possible.
Corgis like flat surfaces by default, but they can be trained to consider certain places as their territory.
Your entire ground floor should be open for them to move around.
Then, you also want control over your dog’s steps. Do not let them go up unless you are training, or it is absolutely needed.
Rule of thumb: The only time a Corgi should go upstairs is if you want them to.
#3: If possible, always carry your Corgi downstairs
This can’t be stressed enough. A Corgi is better-off climbing stairs rather than going downstairs.
For starters, it can be traumatizing for them to look at heights. And then realize that their stubby legs likely won’t be able to reach the next step.
There is also the problem of injury. Jumping down each step may look cute…
…but unless your Corgi is already well-settled, it could break your dog’s growth plate and hurt its ability to walk.
#4: Assign a purpose for the stairs
Corgis are playful dogs with an eye for fun. If they ever stop running at all, it’s because they want you to cuddle them.
Fun as this is to imagine, you must establish some ground rules on behalf of your Corgi.
Because their bodies won’t allow them to use the stairs all the time, you need to ask yourself: why would I want my dog up there?
Perhaps you want them to share the night with you, or you want them to go straight to your side after being tired from work.
Corgis like it when their owners care for them. And in doing this alone, they will love you back so much more.
#5: Set up pet insurance
It is no secret that Corgis are high-maintenance dogs.
Just think about their grooming needs. And add to that the possibility of getting injured.
In such a case, you will need all the backup you can find. There will be times when you won’t be able to pay out of your own pocket.
Pet insurance will cover this and more. So do invest in it as soon as you can.
#6: Put a dog gate near the stairs
Having to open or move past dog gates after a long day can be a hassle for you.
But this small discomfort can literally mean the difference between life and death.
By simply putting a dog gate, you will prevent your Corgi from going up and down the stairs while you sleep.
This means greater longevity for your dog – and it only costs about $20!
#7: Never leave your Corgi near a staircase
Herding is a Corgi’s specialty. In your dog’s mind, you are both the boss and cattle that can be reined in.
Thus, it’s common for them to run around the stairs without anyone knowing.
However, stairs are a risk factor for Corgis, who love to use them. As such, you should let your dog know that you are observing them.
If they ever push themselves too hard on the platform, do not hesitate to put a stop to it.
The more often they do it, the longer their rest away from the stairs should be.
How much time should they spend near the stairs?
In a day, they can make do with 1-2 rounds.
The smaller the Corgi, the less time they should be spending near your staircase. Especially if they haven’t breached eight months yet.
#8: There is safety in activity
The quickest way to have fun and ensure that your Corgi’s limbs remain strong is if you play with them.
They are very energetic and will enjoy a healthy 30 to 45-minute walk with you.
You should also let their limbs thrive on flat grass first.
As long as they are in their element, their joints will remain resilient. This will make the occasional stair walk a piece of cake.
It will also allow them to stay fit. This will benefit their legs, so they won’t have to carry so much weight.
#9: Take note of your Corgi’s fears
Corgis are extremely intelligent dogs with a fantastic memory.
Fun Fact: In Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis were ranked as the 11th smartest working dog, with Cardigan Welsh Corgis being 26th.
Read next: 9 facts about Corgis and their intelligence
They are capable of remembering most events during the day and even recognize when you feel sad or down.
Likewise, they also remember things that hurt or frighten them, including the staircase.
If your Corgi starts to recoil or feel afraid (especially when going down), stop what you are doing immediately and comfort them.
Bear in mind that this could also be an indicator of disease.
If these incidents happen frequently, take your dog to the vet immediately and discuss with them your next steps.
Note: Establishing a strong connection with your Corgi will create a unique bond of friendship and understanding!