The Real Corgis of Southern California

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Hundreds of Corgis frolicking and panting on the beach at once seems like some kind of “Animal Planet” fever dream, but on Saturday, April 11 it was very much a reality, to the delight of many in attendance.

The Spring 2015 So Cal Corgi Beach Day hosted by So Cal Corgi Nation boasted 634 registered attended Corgis and a plethora of humans, consisting of both Corgi owners and corgi admirers at the Huntington Dog Beach.

The very first Corgi Beach Day was on Oct. 12, 2012, coordinated by Dan and Kelly McLemore from Lakewood. The couple was interested in connecting with other Corgi owners after they had adopted their first Corgi, Mr. Pickles.

“We knew there was a bunch of local corgis in the area and we wanted to meet them face-to-face,” Kelly McLemore said. “The first one we did we had 12 to 15 Corgis here on the beach.”

The second So Cal Corgi Beach Day yielded about 75 corgis, and eventually the McLemores decided to make the meetings a seasonal event, with four Beach Days a year along with other special events including a Corgi Christmas Parade around the holiday season.

“Every time we did (a Corgi Beach Day following the first one), it just doubled and quadrupled into what you see today, which is about nearly 800 or 1,000 people or more,” Kelly McLemore said.

The popularity of the event was clear to see in the sheer amount of both human and dog attendees — it was nearly impossible to walk around the beach without at least three Corgis darting around your legs towards the ocean, shaking the salt water off their fur or yipping excitedly at one another.

It’s easy to see why people are drawn to the breed, which is known for their stumpy legs, pointed ears, fluffy butts and elongated torsos.

Linda Fong from San Diego was in attendance with her Corgi Daisy, who was resplendent with a personalized bandana and a purple and blue tutu. Fong mentioned that this was Daisy’s third Corgi Beach day.

“Around last April, we saw the event on Instagram. We missed it, but attended the next one,” Fong said. “It’s great for providing knowledge for people who are interested in corgis, and for owners to compare and talk about their dogs. It’s so funny how all of them are so alike yet so different.”

At this year’s Corgi Beach Day, there were Corgis of Instagram meet-and-greets, in which fans could meet and take pictures of some Instagram-famous corgis in attendance, including Scout and Gatsby and Winston the White Corgi.

There was also a costume contest, in which a group of Corgis decked out in shark costumes, doggie swimsuits and wrestling costumes among others waddled up to the judges and sat with tongues wagging. The winner of the contest was Pippin, a nine-year-old Corgi who was dressed like his “Lord of the Rings” namesake.

The limbo contest was perhaps the highlight of the beach day, in which the Corgis that were competing tried their best to wriggle under the lowering bar at the cajoling and beckoning of their owners.

Official merchandise of the event was being sold, including t-shirts and stickers that had a rendering of the corgi in front of the Californian flag, with So Cal Corgi Nation’s logo printed underneath. Proceeds of the merchandise were going to Queen’s Best Stumpy Dog Rescue, a nonprofit rescue group from North Hollywood that specializes in Corgis and Corgi mixes.

Queen’s Best also had their own tent, with informational flyers and a couple of Corgis and Corgi mixes that were looking for new homes.

The connection shared by all of the attendees was highly apparent in the group photo, in which the hundreds of owners gathered with their corgis in hand and lifted them in the air with a cheer while cameras clicked wildly. It certainly goes to show that there’s nothing like man’s best friend to bring a community together.