Welsh corgis are short, tough little dogs that often have strong herding instincts despite the fact that they are better known in most quarters for their companion dog qualities. The history of corgis can be traced back hundreds of years in Wales, where they were once an essential part of many small farms and homesteads. Corgis come in two distinct types: Pembroke Welsh corgis and Cardigan Welsh corgis.
Both the Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh corgis come from Wales where they have a long history of working as stock dogs. These small, sturdy dogs were the perfect helpers for Welsh farmers who lived on a few acres and kept their cattle on common grazing grounds. The dogs are low to the ground, keeping them under the feet of kicking cattle, with solid bodies and erect, triangular ears. Both have thick, double coats and tend to shed quite a bit, especially in the spring.
Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh corgis have many similarities, but they are not two version of the same breed, although the two were often crossbred until the mid-1930s, when both were established as individual breeds with unique family trees. Pembroke corgis are related to the Norwegian elkhound, Finnish spitz, keeshond and Samoyed. The Cardigan corgi is more closely related to the dachshund than any of these other breeds, despite the fact that he doesn’t look much like his German cousin.
Cardigan Welsh corgis get their name from Cardiganshire, the area of Wales where the breed as we now know it originated. While they have their roots in herding, Cardigans can easily adapt to life in homes and apartments of any size, though it’s essential that they get some daily exercise. They are very loyal and show great affection towards their human companions. The most obvious difference between Cardigans and Pembroke Welsh corgis is that Cardigans have long, bushy tails.
Pembroke Welsh corgis didn’t land in Wales until 1107, when the breed’s ancestors came to Pembrokshire along with immigrating Flemish weavers. They typically stand no more than 12 inches at the shoulder, just half an inch less than the Cardigans, but the Pembroke corgi is also shorter in the body than his bigger cousin. Pembrokes may be born with or without a tail. Any pups that have tails get them banded shortly after birth, a simple and blood-free way of removing the tail. Pembrokes are outgoing, loyal and have strong herding instincts.