Why Do Corgis Sploot?

Key takeaway

Corgis are known for their cute, almost rectangular bodies and for splooting, or laying on their stomachs with their legs stretched out behind them. Corgis sploot for many reasons, including for comfort, to cool down, and to stretch. Learn more about the Corgi sploot and the two distinct Corgi breeds.

If you are the proud owner of a cute, playful Corgi, other than their famous “bread loaf” stance, you may have also seen them lay flat on their backs with their legs stretched out behind them. This is called a sploot, a term lovingly coined by the internet to describe this adorable phenomenon in animals, but why do Corgis sploot? Do they sploot just to elicit our parental instinct? Or, does splooting have health benefits? This article will decode the Corgi sploot and take a look into the Welsh Pembroke Corgi and Welsh Cardigan Corgi breeds in terms of their history, physical characteristics, personality, and common health problems. 

While there isn’t a clear, scientific explanation for why Corgis sploot, pet owners and veterinarians have deduced a few possible reasons over the years, from stretching to cooling themselves down. Do not be worried if you see your Corgi assume this position; for the most part, it is completely harmless. 

However, if done too frequently, splooting can also be indicative of certain bone and joint issues such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. Always pay close attention to your pup and see if their splooting is coupled with other signs of discomfort. Knowing what Corgi splooting looks like and the common health issues Corgis face can help you get your dog veterinary assistance if needed. 

What Is Splooting?

Splooting is when an animal lies on its stomach and extends its legs back

According to Dictionary.com, splooting is a slang term for the pose that an animal makes when it lies on its stomach with its hind legs stretched out back and flat. While squirrels are seen to sploot in the summer heat and even bears have been discovered in this position in national parks, it is the most associated with Corgis. 

Sploot comes from a long line of onomatopoeias and intentional misspellings born from social media and broader internet culture that flesh out the cuteness of dogs and other animals. While no one knows where exactly the term originates from, it is very likely that it is a version of the word “splat”, which also evokes images of something spread out and flat. 

Reasons Why Corgis Sploot

For Comfort

After hours of playing and running around, you may notice your Corgi splooting on the floor. In this instance, they are most likely just relaxing after exercise and find the splooting position to be comfortable. Like the many sleeping positions of humans, such as side sleeping and sleeping on one’s back, laying on their stomach with their legs stretched out might just be what your pup prefers. 

To Stretch

Dogs need around 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day, and after a long nap session, your Corgi might sploot to stretch their bodies and prepare themselves to be active once again. Just like for humans, stretching feels good for dogs, it relieves all of the tension that has gathered in their bodies and keeps them limber and agile. 

Corgi frolicking in field of golden grass

To Cool Down

If the weather is too hot, your Corgi might sploot on tiles or bamboo mats away from the sun to decrease their body temperature. Corgis do not tolerate heat very well as they have thick double-layer coats, so spreading their bodies on a cool surface is one way they refresh themselves and thermoregulate. 

Sweating mainly from their nose and paws, perspiration does not really allow dogs to cool down like it does for humans. Always look out for signs of dehydration such as lethargy and pale mucous membranes when your Corgi is splooting in hot weather to keep them comfortable and healthy. 

If your Corgi does not sploot, it does not mean that they are unusual. They may just prefer a different position to relax in or even find splooting uncomfortable. Whether it is just preference or due to other factors like age and weight, never force your Corgi to sploot if they do not want to no matter how cute you think it is. Not only could this damage your relationship with your dog, it could also cause serious injury. 

Can Splooting Be Bad For Corgis?

While splooting promotes stretching and typically does not have any negative health consequences for dogs, it can sometimes alert you to certain conditions your Corgi might be experiencing. Excessive splooting or stretching can be indicative of a joint, muscle, or bone disease as it can be a way for dogs to temporarily alleviate discomfort or pain in their lower bodies. Health issues to watch out for if your Corgi is frequently splooting or has started splooting at an older age include:

  • Arthritis: 1 in 5 dogs suffer from canine arthritis, and it is a disease mostly commonly seen in older dogs. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that causes stiffness, discomfort and pain. It can severely decrease your dog’s quality of life by making it more difficult for them to get up from a resting position and walk up and down stairs.
  • Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a hereditary deformity of the hip caused by an unequal growth rate of the thigh bone and hip socket often seen in Corgis. This is a disease that is characterized by weakness and pain in a dog’s hind legs, so splooting can be seen as a clinical sign in addition to other signs such as limping and swaying. If you are getting a Corgi through a breeder, it is critical to make sure that their parents are tested for hip dysplasia. 
  • Trauma: Splooting can also indicate any injury, from less serious issues such as a wound or a cut to more painful ones like a dislocation. 

If you are unsure of whether your dog is just splooting casually or if they are splooting due to an underlying condition, you should always check with a vet to make sure. Other signs of discomfort to watch out for include: limited range of motion, decreased activity, a change in gait, putting more pressure on their front legs, resting in odd positions, changes in mobility like jumping or walking tolerance, and lethargy. 

Splooting is not bad but can alert you to health issues your Corgi is experiencing

Pembroke Welsh Corgi VS. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Now that you’ve learned more about splooting, it’s time to take a closer look at the dogs that have made this pose a viral sensation. While many people think that all Corgis are the same, they can actually be separated into two distinct breeds: the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. 

When you picture a Corgi in your head, you are likely thinking about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Popularized by being the longtime companions of Queen Elizabeth II, they have been given representation throughout all forms of media, even achieving social media superstardom in the last decade.1 

As their name suggests, Pembroke Welsh Corgis hail from Wales, arriving at its shores in 1000 AD with the Vikings. Looking at their small, compact, and even stubby appearance you may be surprised to know that the descendants of Nordic Spitz breeds and are actually very agile. Like their counterparts, they are meant to be herding dogs bred to move cattle and can even be exceptional guard dogs.1 

In terms of physical characteristics, while both breeds are dwarf dogs with large heads, fox-like ears, short legs that hold up a comparatively long body, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are much smaller and have more of the iconic “loaf” look that includes a rectangular rear end and tiny tail.2 

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are an older breed. In fact, they are one of the oldest breeds in the United Kingdom. Unlike the Nordic Pembrokes, the Cardigan Welsh Corgis arrived from central Europe with the Celtic tribes around 1200 BC. Their defining feature is their long, swishy tail that completely contrasts with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s almost tailless appearance.4 

They also come in a wider variety of coats, from the more typical red and sable colors to the striking blue merle pattern. In terms of personality, they are considered to be the more laid back and cool breed between the two.4

No matter which breed of Corgi you own or prefer, Corgis are wonderful companions that are affectionate, active, family-friendly, and easy-going.1 Learning more about their history and understanding their needs can help you take better care of your pup and help them thrive. 

Common Corgi Health Problems

Corgis live about 12 to 14 years on average and are typically relatively healthy. However, due to their proportion that features a large head, long torso, and short legs, they are predisposed to certain health issues. Other than hip dysplasia, there are also other common Corgi health problems that all owners should be aware of. While it may be difficult to think of your pup in this way, it is best to be prepared and be able to identify the signs in case you need to address any crucial issues.3

Common Corgi health problems

  • Von Willebrand’s disease: This disease is an inherited bleeding disorder that affects blood’s ability to clot. It can occur in both humans and dogs and is very similar to hemophilia. With this disease, dogs will show bleeding in their mucous membranes and often have nose bleeds. Bleeding will be harder to stop after surgery or any cuts and there may even be blood apparent in their stool. Von Willebrand’s disease is caused by a recessive gene. Although it cannot be cured, it is easy to diagnose at a young age and there are many precautions that can be taken and treatments such as blood transfusions.3 
  • Degenerative myelopathy (DM): Corgis that have degenerative myelopathy will have a progressively deteriorating spinal cord. This disease can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors and symptoms usually don’t appear until later in life. DM will cause a shaky gait, weak hind legs, and even paralysis. If you notice your Corgi splooting and showing signs of weakness, contact a vet to rule out DM for peace of mind. It is a serious disease with a poor prognosis.3 

Why Do Corgis Sploot?: FAQs

Should I let my dog sploot?

Yes, allowing your dog to sploot should cause no problems. However, if your dog just started splooting recently and has never before, you might want to pay attention and see if there are any other behavioral or physical changes. If you have a senior dog, pay extra attention, as splooting could indicate that they have arthritis or another joint or muscle issue.

Are Corgis good family dogs?

Corgis are great family dogs. They are loyal, affectionate and even do well with children. 

How Often Should You Walk A Corgi?

Corgis are a relatively small breed, but they are quite energetic due to their heritage as herding dogs. Give your Corgi enough attention and playtime. There is no one size fits all plan for all dogs, but two walks of at least 15 to 30 minutes are recommended each day for some Corgis. Like all dogs, Corgis need a lot of enrichment to be happy and healthy. This can include food puzzle toys, daily training sessions, and dog sport classes.

Two Corgis lounging on the grass

Final Notes

Corgis are playful, affectionate dogs that suit many living situations, from apartment living to living in a house with a big yard. They do their signature pose of splooting to cool down, to stretch, and to just feel more comfortable. Keep a close eye on your Corgi and monitor their splooting habits. If you are concerned about their excessive splooting or sudden splooting, contact a vet to see if there is any underlying cause. Although Corgis are relatively healthy dogs, they are predisposed to certain illnesses such as hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy.

If you want to learn more about your Corgi’s splooting behavior or even correct their behavior, Dutch’s licensed behaviorists can help. With training exercises and enrichment ideas, your dog can easily work through behaviors that could use improvement. Get started with Dutch today.

References

  1. Gibeault, Stephanie. "Meet Two Similar Yet Different Breeds: The Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi." American Kennel Club, 22 Mar. 2019, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/cardigan-welsh-corgi-pembroke-welsh-corgi/.

  2. "Pembroke Welsh Corgi." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/pembroke-welsh-corgi/.

  3. Morrison, Barri J. "Pembroke Welsh Corgi." PetMD, 19 Sep. 2022, https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_pembroke_welsh_corgi.

  4. "Cardigan Welsh Corgi." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/cardigan-welsh-corgi/.