Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- Often called "the corgi with the tail," the Cardigan Welsh corgi is the older of the two types. The dog arrived in the British Isles with the Central European Celts around 1200 B.C. The tribe settled in an area of Wales subsequently called Cardiganshire. Corgis became especially useful several centuries later when they were used to drive cattle. Welsh farmers were not allowed to fence off land and were forced to share common pasture with their neighbors. The trained corgis would nip at the cattle's heels and push them farther away to greener pastures.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- The Pembroke Welsh corgi is not as old a breed as the Cardigan corgi, but the dog's history still spans hundreds of years. Flemish weavers went to Wales in 1107 accompanied by a particular type of dog, the ancestors of the Pembroke corgi. These dogs came from the same group from which the Pomeranian, Chow Chow and Samoyed originated. These dogs were crossed with the Cardigan Welsh corgis as some point before the mid-1800s.
- The Pembroke corgi is shorter than the Cardigan corgi, with a finer textured coat and straighter legs. The American Kennel Club standards, which is what breeders agree is the ideal appearance for the breed, call for the Cardigan to stand 10.5 to 12.5 inches tall at the highest point of the withers. The Pembroke stands 10 to 12 inches tall. The Cardigan is heavier than the Pembroke corgi. Females usually weigh about 34 pounds and males to weigh no more than 38 pounds. Female Pembroke corgis are around 25 pounds and males are about 30 pounds.
Ears and tail are two areas in which it is easier to tell the two breeds apart. Cardigan corgis have long tails and rounded ears, and Pembrokes have pointed, erect ears and short tails. The colors of the Cardigan corgi are more varied than the colors of the Pembroke corgi. Since only certain colors are permitted by the AKC for Pembroke corgi show dogs, several color variations have been selectively bred out. In addition, the Pembroke Welsh corgi reportedly has a bolder, more excitable personality than the generally placid Cardigan corgis.
- The corgi breed was officially split into the two types in 1934. At that time 59 Cardigan Welsh corgis were registered in England, compared to 250 Pembroke Welsh corgis. The Cardigan type had almost disappeared, but careful breeding helped to revive the breed. The Pembroke corgi surged in popularity during the same time period when a young English princess became a corgi enthusiast -- the princess later became Queen Elizabeth II, and she has owned more than 30 corgis over 60 years, many of which descended from the first Corgi given to her on her 18th birthday. The Pembroke is ranked 26th and the Cardigan is 85th on the AKC's list of 150 dog breeds by popularity.