By Terri Estes
There are two breeds of Corgis recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. These two breeds are very similar but have distinct differences and come from different ancestors. Both are in the herding group. The Cardigan is slightly taller, standing 10.5” to 12” at the shoulders to the Pembroke’s 10” to 12”. Cardigans come in a variety of colors, while the more popular Pembroke comes in the traditional fawn or sable with white, or black and white. The coat of a Cardigan is longer and thicker than that of the Pembroke. Cardigans have a long tail, while Pembrokes have a naturally bobbed tail, or a docked tail. Both breeds are intelligent and affectionate. Cardigans are generally more reserved, while Pembrokes are more outgoing and friendly. Both types of Corgis have short powerful legs, a long heavy body with a large foxlike head and long upright ears. Corgi in Welsh means “dwarf dog.” These short little dogs were bred to herd cattle. They are considered excellent working dogs and highly intelligent.
Queen Elizabeth II favored the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and owned more than 30 of them during her reign. Her passion for the breed started at the age of 18 years old when she was given her first Corgi, Susan, as a gift. She stopped breeding Corgis in 2016, citing her advancing age and concerns for their well-being after she was no longer able to care for them. The last of her Corgis, a dog named Willow, passed away in 2018.
While the Corgi was bred to work, they have stepped into the family pet role quite nicely. They seek attention from everyone they meet and generally behave well with other dogs and children. They also make great watchdogs because of their alert nature and their “big dog” bark. However, like any breed, the Corgi has specific needs and characteristics that potential owners should be aware of. For example, they are herding dogs and may try to herd small children or other family pets in the household. They also need mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Corgis are often referred to as “Velcro dogs” because they love to stick close to their owners and be involved in all aspects of family life. So, is there a Pembroke or Cardigan Welsh Corgi in your future?