What Is the Difference Between Cardigan & Pembroke Welsh Corgis?

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Corgis are Internet darlings who’ve achieved cat status so far as cute photographs are concerned. They're pretty cute pups, whether they’re of the Cardigan or Pembroke variety. Americans, however, tend to favor the Pembroke. While mostly appearance-based, there are differences between the two breeds.


Before you consider the differences between the two corgi breeds, consider their similarities. The Pembroke corgis were, in fact, bred from the Cardigans. The two cuties are so similar in temperament that they were considered the same breed until 1934. A show judge then deemed they had enough differences to be categorized separately. Both types of corgis are intelligent herding dogs who can drive cattle.


What distinguishes the Cardigan from the Pembroke corgi the most is the tail -- the Cardigan has one. The Cardigan, the older breed, dates from 1200 B.C. You can also distinguish a Cardigan by his coat, which can be all shades of red, brindle and sable, black or blue merle. Cardigans are more active and slightly bigger than Pembroke corgis.


Pembroke corgis are sometimes born without a tail. If they are born with one, the tail might be docked. Their ancestry could date to the 10th century, according to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America. Queen Elizabeth II did her part to give props to the Pembroke. She’s famous for being this breed’s biggest admirer, and she’s a Pembroke owner. The Pembroke corgi’s coat can be red, fawn, sable or black and tan. He’s also shorter than the Cardigan and has smaller ears.


The only other significant difference between the two corgis is their origin. The Cardigan, from Cardiganshire, was brought there by the Celts. The Pembroke was introduced by the Flemish to the Celts. The Pembroke comes from the same family as the keeshond, chow chow, Samoyed, Finnish spitz and Norwegian elkhound. The Cardigan could be descended from the keeshond, schipperke, Pomeranian and Swedish vallhund.


Because both corgi breeds are herding dogs, they need plenty of exercise; the Cardigans need slightly more than the Pembroke. Long, daily walks suit both corgi breeds. The walk is a good time to show your little smarty-pants who’s boss; the Pembroke and Cardigan are so intelligent they would be happy to walk you. Make an effort to show your leadership over them by having them heel, or follow you, during walk time.

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