Small, hardy, and energetic Corgis are best known for their foxy appearance, long body, and short legs. But did you know that there are two different types of Corgis – the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi?
While most people can’t tell them apart the Pembroke Corgi and Cardigan Corgi are two separate dog breeds with unique physical and personality traits. The most notable distinction is the tail – the Pembroke Corgi has a docked tail while the Cardigan Corgi has a long foxlike tail.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to distinguish the Cardigan Corgi from the Pembroke Corgi. And hopefully, help you decide which Corgi is a better choice for your family.
How Many Types of Corgis Are There?
There are two types of Corgis – the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Both breeds are officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as members of the herding group.
Often called Welsh Corgis, the Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis might look similar, but are two distinctive dog breeds.
2 Types of Corgis
The Pembroke Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi were bred and used as herding dogs, but are today beloved family members and energetic pets. While small in size, both types of Corgis are loyal and protective of their human families, and can also be amazing watchdogs.
Although there are some major differences between these two breeds, people often can’t tell apart a Pembroke from a Cardigan Corgi. If you have trouble seeing the difference between these two breeds, keep on reading.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
According to some historians, Pembroke Welsh Corgis were brought to Wales by Vikings and are descended from Nordic Spitz breeds. Pembrokes can be traced back to 1000 AD and were originally bred and used to herd cattle, sheep, and horses.
Although they are workaholics at heart Pembrokes are highly popular as pets and make wonderful companions to families with older children. Interestingly, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England is enamored with Pembroke Welsh Corgis and has had them her whole life (source).
Pembrokes are between 10 and 12 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 30 pounds. They have long bodies, short, thick legs, and a squared-off rear end that sports a tail docked close to the body.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a thick double coat that sheds all year round and goes through a heavy shed twice a year. Their coats can be red, sable, fawn, black, and tri-colored, usually with white markings.
While the Pembroke Corgi is still a great working dog, they are these days mostly kept as pets. Happy, loyal, and loving, the Pembroke is more outgoing of the two breeds and always in the mood for a new adventure.
Although smart, Pembroke Corgis have a stubborn streak and are known to be independent thinkers. Luckily, they love to eat, so food can be a great motivator when it comes to training your Corgi.
Eager to please and affectionate Pembrokes love to be included in all family activities and are the happiest when they get a chance to spend time with you. Generally, they are always in the mood for action and will go for any type of activity you are into at that time.
Both types of Corgis are highly energetic dogs, but Pembrokes are the more energetic of the two. They need daily exercise to stay in good shape and are always in the mood for a game of chase, tug-of-war, or a light jog or a hike.
Although generally healthy, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are susceptible to hip dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, degenerative myelopathy, and several eye disorders. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years but can live longer when properly cared for.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest breeds in the British Isles. Their ancestors have been brought to Cardiganshire, Wales by Celtic tribes from Central Europe roughly 1200 BC.
Originally used as working dogs, Cardis helped farmers to herd and drive cattle and also kept them safe from predators. And while they are still excellent herding and working dogs, Cardigans are these days more often kept as pets rather than workers.
Small in size, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is usually between 10.5 and 12.5 inches tall and weighs up to 38 pounds. Cardigans are larger and rounder than Pembroke Corgis, and have a heavier bone structure and a sloping rear that sports a long foxlike tail.
Like Pembroke Corgis, Cardigans have a thick double coat with a short undercoat and a longer topcoat. They also shed all year round, and go through a heavy shed twice a year during the shedding season (source).
Daily brushing is a must during the shedding season, otherwise, your home and you will end up covered in Corgi hair. Also, regular baths can help reduce the amount of shedding and help you stay on top of all that loose hair.
Cardigan Welsh Corgis come in a variety of different colors including, all shades of red, sable, and brindle. The coat can also be black and tan, blue merle with tan or brindle points. Additionally, Cardigans can have white markings on their legs, chest, muzzle, belly, and tail.
True to its herding heritage, the Cardi is a responsible and alert dog who likes to work and still has impeccable herding instincts. Cardigans are usually reserved with strangers and more territorial than Pembroke Corgis and can be competent watchdogs.
The Cardigan Corgis are as smart and easy to train as Pembrokes, although they are also independent thinkers. The Cardigan is more laid back and quieter of the two breeds, and they aren’t as energetic as Pembroke Corgis.
However, they still need regular exercise to stay in good shape and maintain a healthy weight. While less high-energy, a Cardigan won’t say no to a long hike, but it will also be content to chill with you on the sofa.
Cardigan Welsh Corgis are generally healthy but are like all other dog breeds prone to certain health problems. The most common health issues that affect Cardigans are hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, eye disorders, and degenerative myelopathy (source).
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, but they can live more if properly cared for. Bear in mind, both types of Corgis are at risk of back problems and shouldn’t jump on and off furniture or climb too many stairs.
Which Type of Corgi Is Better?
Deciding which type of Corgi is better for you will depend on your lifestyle and the things you are looking for in a dog. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi might be a better choice if you are looking for a less energetic and laid back dog that can work and be a watchdog at the same time.
On the other hand, if you are active the Pembroke Welsh Corgi might be a better option. Affectionate and loyal, Pembroke Corgis are highly energetic and always in the mood to play or have some fun.
What Are Corgis Known for?
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi are best known for their foxy appearance, elongated bodies, and short legs. Furthermore, these small dogs are amazing working dogs and always grab attention when competing in dog sports such as agility and herding.
Where to Get a Corgi?
As all other dogs, you can purchase a Corgi from a reputable breeder or decide to adopt one from a shelter or rescue organization.
If you decide to purchase a Corgi from a breeder, you will first have to decide which type of Corgi is better suited for your family and lifestyle. Once you make a decision, research reputable Corgi breeders in your area and see if they have any puppies available.
Please note, Corgis are prone to an array of genetic health problems, all of which can affect the quality of your dog’s life. A reputable breeder will screen his Corgis for these conditions and have health certificates as proof that his dogs are healthy.
The average price of a purebred Corgi is between $1000 and $2000 but show quality Corgis can cost more than $4000. The exact price depends on many factors, including the breeder, type of Corgi, pedigree, gender, and colors. Furthermore, a show quality Corgi puppy will cost significantly more than a pet quality puppy.
Adoption is always a great way to welcome a new dog home, and there is no shortage of Corgis waiting to be adopted in shelters and rescue groups. Rescuing a Corgi is also a lot cheaper than buying one from a breeder, and it gives you an opportunity to save a dog’s life.
If you are leaning towards adoption, check out your local shelters and rescue groups to see if they have any Corgis. You can also check out Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis breed-specific rescue organizations since they deal only with Corgis and their mixes.
Both Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis are loyal, energetic, and fun breeds that make amazing companions to families with older children. Bear in mind, Corgis are highly energetic working dogs that can easily become obese and bored if not properly exercised.
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, a highly energetic dog such as Corgi might be more than you can handle. However, if you are active, have a farm, or love to spend time outdoors, a Corgi might be an ideal choice and a great adventure buddy.