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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
First 'royal' corgi bones found
Adrienne Powell of Cardiff University and 'corgi' bones (pic: Cardiff University)
Adrienne Powell of Cardiff University examines the 'corgi' bones
Ninth Century bones found in mid Wales are believed to be evidence of the first royal Welsh corgi.

Archaeologists from Cardiff University working at a Dark Ages site have found the bones of a corgi-type dog.

The team, which is working at Llangorse Lake, has found the bandy front leg of a dog resembling the breed favoured by present-day royals.

The site, near Brecon, is thought to be the royal residence of the ancient Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog.

The Cardiff University team is analysing artefacts found at the crannog, or man-made island, believed to be the home of the Ninth Century King Brychan of Brecon.

Cardiff University's Dr Jacqui Mulville said: "We have the foreleg of a corgi-sized dog, which, dare we suggest, might be a much favoured ancestral royal companion.

The Queen Mother and corgi
The corgi has long been associated with the Royal Family
"We've been looking at the food debris from the site in Llangorse which we think is an early royal residence.

"Some of the (bones found) were the usual large greyhound-type hunting dogs, but we were interested to find the short, bandy front-left foreleg of something very reminiscent of a corgi.

"Modern breeds only developed recently, but the dog does look very similar to a corgi and we think that perhaps it is one of the first examples of this type of dog in Wales."

Unlike the present day Royal Family, their Ninth Century Welsh counterparts are not believed to have kept the corgis as pets.

Dr Jacqui Mulville added: "They were probably working dogs at that time. Corgis are thought to be the sort of dogs that drove cattle.

"This royal palace does have evidence of cattle there."

Queen's corgi
Corgi means 'dwarf dog' from the Welsh 'cor' (dwarf) and 'ci' (dog)

The archaeologists are hoping to work with the Welsh Corgi Club, to test their hypothesis against a more recent corgi skeleton.

Dr Mulville added: "The Club is rather excited at the prospect of 1200-year-old evidence of the breed's royal association."

Sylvia Hughes, honorary secretary of the club, said: "The members I have spoken to are quite excited about it.

"It has been rumoured for some time that there were always royal links, but it was good to hear the news.

"The corgi was probably developed as a village dog - they were all-rounders.

"They are also very good companion dogs.

"Corgis are very intelligent and they very much want to be with people."

Tree ring dating at the Llangorse Lake crannog indicates that it was built between 889 and 893AD.

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle refers to the destruction of a site near Llangorse by an English army in 916AD.

Artefacts from the site are on display at the Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery, in Brecon, until September 2004.


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