Corgis are perhaps best known for being beloved by Queen Elizabeth II of England. There are two distinct types of corgi: the Pembroke Welsh corgi and the Cardigan Welsh corgi. It was not, however, until 1935 that the American Kennel Club recognized them as two separate breeds. Although they're both similar, they do have a number of differences.
Although corgis weren't officially recognized as a specific breed at all until the 1920s, the history of the Cardigan Welsh corgi dates back as far as 1200 B.C. They were brought over to Cardiganshire, Wales with the Celts where they were used to herd or drive cattle. They're small dogs, measuring between 10 1/2 and 12 1/2 inches to the shoulder and weighing between 25 and 38 pounds. According to AKC breed standards, a corgi can have a coat that's red, sable, brindle, black, black and tan or blue merle. White markings are acceptable, but he shouldn't be predominantly white.
Pembroke Welsh corgis are a much newer breed than Cardigan Welsh corgis. Their ancestors are thought to have been brought over from France in 1107. They have bobbed tails, some occurring naturally whereas others are docked. They weigh on average around 28 or 30 pounds and are between 10 and 12 inches small to the shoulder. Acceptable coat colors are black and tan, red, fawn or sable. Like their cousins from Cardigan, white markings are fine.
The most instantly noticeable difference between the two types of corgis is that the Cardigan has a long tail, whereas the Pembroke has a bobbed tail. The Pembroke is slightly smaller than the Cardigan, who also tends to be slightly heavier set. The ears of Cardigan Welsh corgis are larger and more rounded at the tips than those of Pembroke Welsh corgis. Cardigans also have more accepted coat colors than Pembrokes. Blue merle Cardigan corgis are allowed to have blue eyes, whereas this is an AKC disqualifiable fault in a Pembroke corgi.
Both types of corgis make excellent pets. According to the AKC, they should be of an even temperament and never vicious or shy. Pembroke Welsh corgis tend to be outgoing, yet good-natured. Cardigan Welsh corgis should be affectionate, loyal and quick to adapt. As they were bred to be herding dogs, this instinct can kick in and cause them to try and herd smaller children when they run about, sometimes even nipping at their heels. As such, they may be a better family pet for those with older children.
- Corgi Care: Welsh Corgi History and Lore
- American Kennel Club: Getting to Know the Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- American Kennel Club: Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Standard
- American Kennel Club: Getting to Know the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- American Kennel Club: Pembroke Welsh Corgi Breed Standard
- For Paws Corgi Rescue: Corgis and Children
- George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images