'There's just something about Corgis': South Jersey dog lovers unite in shared obsession

·5 min read

DELANCO — In a boisterous pile of ginger fur, knobby wagging tails, and drooping pink tongues, Loki pinned Ralph face first into the damp grass.

Some of their onlooking owners, who sat under a gazebo to avoid the rain drizzling over Pennington Park, stopped mid-conversation to tune into the ruckus of their corgis playing together.

Kim Speece-Greenberg, who was closest to the action with a camera slung around her neck, impersonated a wrestling referee, pretending to hit the ground: "Four! Three! Two! One!"

"Loki is the wrestler of the group," noted Loki's owner, Michelle Eck Miller, with a hint of pride.

"Ralph! You didn't fight," joked Lauren Kalamar, one of Ralph's owners. "You gotta fight back!"

Ted the corgi takes off during a meetup at Laurel Acres Park Tuesday, June 14, 2022 in Mount Laurel, NJ.
Ted the corgi takes off during a meetup at Laurel Acres Park Tuesday, June 14, 2022 in Mount Laurel, NJ.

The corgis, though, had no interest in constructive criticism, and were already scurrying in different directions toward the next dog to tackle, human to greet, or ball to chase.

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"It's like being at Disneyland," said Aubrey Stuart, one of three moderators for South Jersey Corgis, an active social group that has acquired nearly 800 members on Facebook in under a year.

Their private group is flooded with upward of 20 posts per week concerning corgi-centric discussion. Members promote corgis that need homes, seek and share advice for good trails to explore or pet stores to find discounts, and of course, regularly photo-dump adorable posts of their corgis, well, being corgis.

Members of Facebook group South Jersey Corgis share some of their favorite shots from birthday celebrations, competitions and excursions.

The group gathers each month at a different South Jersey dog park. The crew that showed up for this month's "meet" was considered small, even with 16 corgis (and two beagles) running around as fast as their short legs would carry them.

A "full-time passion"

South Jersey Corgis will soon be celebrating their one year anniversary with a birthday bash in July — an event at Muddy Paws Farm Rescue in Southampton that promises to pull out all the stops, including a raffle of items provided by local pet business vendors, said Cara DeChristopher, who runs the group with her husband, Daniel DeChristopher.

The DeChristophers have a corgi named Teddy Roosevelt, who is not yet 2 years old.

DeChristopher runs the group's social media, organizes meets and serves as a point of contact for local dog businesses. One of the group's moderators, Holly Jennifer, who fosters corgis, collaborates with dog rescue organizations like Zoe's House and Our Best Friends Rescue to find homes for corgis and other breeds.

Though the South Jersey group is new and relatively small compared to others in the region — like Philadelphia Area Corgis and the New Jersey Welsh Corgi Club — their undying love of corgis is not small by any means, and it brings them together in community both online and off.

"I'd say it's a full-time passion," said DeChristopher of her lead role, which lately has consisted of quite a bit of dog party-planning. "I know every dog here by name. I know owners by name. I’ve made friends from it."

The dogs have made good friends, too, and occasionally, adversaries.

The community has its perks. Members help each other take care of corgis while owners are on vacation. DeChristopher holds monthly photo contests on Facebook for the cover photo so that those unable to attend meets can participate. She encourages members with unique talents to share them with the community.

"Inclusiveness and support are huge for me," said DeChristopher.

What is it about corgis?

Corgis' cult-like following is large and nothing to sneeze at.

"There's just something about Corgis," said DeChristopher definitively. "They're extremely entertaining. They’re also very photogenic — which in todays day in age, with social media, everybody loves to showcase.”

Indeed many corgi lovers' Instagram feeds are a steady stream of influencer-grade corgi accounts. Some have hundreds of thousands of followers.

They also show off their unabashed love with corgi memorabilia, from bumper stickers ("Corgi on board") to phone cases and graphic tees. The Kalamars have a painting of a Corgi with a pearl earring hanging in their house.

Pure bred corgis from reputable breeders usually start around $1,500, and show dogs can cost $5,000 or more. Welsh corgis were originally bred for herding cattle, which is likely why their tails are "docked", or shortened, so that cows can't stomp on them.

The breed's rise to fame is often attributed to Queen Elizabeth II, who has famously owned, loved and pampered corgis since the age of 7. In October, South Jersey Corgis organized a Halloween Party with a costume contest. The winner, Valentine, had been dressed up as Queen Elizabeth II. The dog's owner was dressed as her butler.

It's not uncommon for corgi owners to give their dogs the royal treatment, attested several owners at the South Jersey Corgi meet.

"If I fed myself half as conscientiously as I do her, I'd be super slim,” quipped Ashley Cameron-Gleezan with a nod to her dog, Artoo.

Sarah McCarthey, another member who has attended nearly every meet since the group's inception, said she considers her two corgis, Vash and Wolfwood, her children. And compared to raising human children, it's much less expensive.

"My dog doesn't ask me for a Ferrari," said McCarthey.

The group already has a short list of fun ideas for their second year, including a possible camping trip and marching in a pride parade.

Izzy Koyama is a community storytelling reporter for the Burlington County Times, Courier-Post and The Daily Journal. Reach her at IKoyama@gannett.com. Follow her on twitter @ox_fur_comma.

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This article originally appeared on Burlington County Times: NJ dog lovers unite around shared obsession: Corgis