I am quite partial to Corgis, and they mix quite well with most breeds so with any luck you could find a good 'Corgidor' (Corgi/Lab) in a shelter near you. ;3 They are very bright dogs, and quite easily trained. Not only that but they come in many flavors. I have two; Jelly (sable merle), a Border Collie/Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Edgar (blue merle), a Pembroke Welsh Corgi/Cardigan Welsh Corgi cross. Their are two types of Corgi; Cardigan and Pembroke. Pembroke are usually known as 'the Corgi without a tail' but they also are generally smaller and have a more fox-type head. The Cardigan is an older breed, that comes in many more colors and has more of a heavier set, but don't let that fool you. If you are allergic to hair finding a cross would be the best, but I see many people who shave their Corgis.
Also, don't let their height fool you, they are tough. They were bred to nip at the heels of cattle to drive them forward. If the cattle kicked, they were short enough that they just rolled and got back up to do their job. Obedience training is definitely something you want to look into no matter what breed you get. Both of mine participate in Obedience, Rally, Showmanship, and Agility at a local level. Important on the trail, the have a solid recall; providing their isn't a cat anywhere, then Eddy, who is under a year -mind you, will be gone for a while. But Jelly will fight her Border Collie urges and come back.
If you encountered something in the woods, a Corgi would have no problem scaring it off. Although small, they do not think of themselves as small dogs. But they don't have the 'small dog syndrome', if they are just treated like a dog needs to be.
While I do love my Corgis and they are perfect for me, any dog has the potential to be great if given the chance. Looking at the local animal shelter you might find exactly what you are looking for. Just go there with a list of qualities you want and keep that in mind the entire time.