Types of corgi breeds.

The Two Types of Corgis (What’s the Difference?)

So, you’re wondering about the different types of corgis available.

We’ll cover the two types of corgis that are the most popular, and some of the difference between corgi types.

Let’s get started!

The two types of corgis

Two types of corgis.
Learn about the two types of corgi breeds.

Well first, we should refer to them as “breeds” rather than “types.”

The two recognized breeds are:

  1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  2. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Both corgi breeds are recognized to be their own independent breed, even though they’re very similar in character, appearance, and temperament.

Pembroke Welsh corgis

Pembroke corgi vs cardigan corgi.
Pembrokes are the more popular breed here in the US.

Pembrokes are the younger and newer breed. They were derived from the Cardigan corgis around 1100 CE after Flemish weavers migrated over to Wales.

Pembrokes and Cardigans then mated to spawn the Pembrokes you see today.

Pembroke corgis are the most popular corgi breed in the United States.

Even though Pembrokes mated with Cardigans, a new breed wasn’t recognized with the cross between these two species.

All offspring from the cross-breeding are considered to be Pembrokes.

Cardigan Welsh corgis

Cardigan Welsh corgis are the older and “original” corgi breed.

Reports date them back to Cardiganshire, Wales where they were used as a herding dog for animals around 1200 BCE.

They used the short-legged canines to help cattle together by nipping at the feet of cows.

Pastures weren’t fenced back in the day, so a dog would be useful to quickly herd sheep, cattle, or other animals for the farmer.

This is the earliest corgi breed noted from the Teckel family of dogs, which includes other similar breeds like the wiener dog.

There was only one corgi type at one point

The AKC actually combined Pembroke and Cardigan corgis as one breed back in 1925.

After much disagreement with breeders, they have separated again as two distinct breeds in 1934.

This was mainly due to bias for one breed over the other, which made events and competitions like dog shows unfair.

Why do corgis have short legs?

They were bred with short legs which kept them close to the ground.

This is because when they nipped at the ankles of cattle, the cow would kick back.

Being so short and stubby, the corgi is hard to kick and can escape the retaliation from the cow.

This made them reliable and highly efficient herding dogs for farmers in Wales.

Differences between the corgi types

What are the differences between the corgi types?
So there are some differences between the two corgi types.

There are minor differences between the Pembroke and Cardigan corgis.

Pembrokes have docked tails

Pembroke corgis are docked at birth which leaves no tail on its rear end.

Sometimes the tail may be bobbed. They’re born with tails, but docking is still practiced in the United States.

The AKC recognizes Pembrokes only with docked tails, thus the tail must be docked to fit the breed standard.

According to the AKC:

Tail – Docked as short as possible without being indented. Occasionally a puppy is born with a natural dock, which if sufficiently short, is acceptable. A tail up to two inches in length is allowed, but if carried high tends to spoil the contour of the topline.

Cardigan corgis have tails as they’re not docked or bobbed at birth.

Cardigans are bigger

Cardigans have an overall size that’s bigger than Pembrokes. They’re also slightly heavier due to their larger body size.

If you’re looking for a smaller corgi, go with the Pembroke as they’re smaller overall and slightly lighter than Cardigan corgis.

Cardigans have more rounded ears

Cardigans have rounded tips, but Pembrokes have less rounding at the ear tips.

Both breeds have pointed medium-sized ears. This gives them that cute corgi appearance that they’re known for- just like the corgi sploot.

Because they’ve been getting so much media attention, they’ve risen to popularity. This is also why they’re so expensive in many states.

Coat color

The Pembroke corgi has the shiny sable, red, or black outer coat that you commonly see.

Cardigan corgis can have the same colors, but also brindle, tan, or even blue merle.

Cardigans have more color variation compared to their counterpart, but there have been some extremely cute Pembrokes.

Their thick, double-coat is a signature trait of the breeds. Keep the coat healthy and clean so it doesn’t become smelly!

Corgi personality

Pembroke corgis are known to be the derpy, outgoing, and energetic type. Cardigans are more reserved, shy, and friendly.

This is stereotypical corgi temperament and is definitely NOT applicable to all corgis.

You can have a Pembroke that’s shy. Or you can have a Cardigan that’s extroverted. How the pup was raised and its environment matter.

Socialization of the puppy is a huge determining factor on how well-behaved the corgi is.

This can determine a variety of traits, such as vocalization, training difficulty, and even shedding (stressed corgis who are poorly socialized will shed more).

Further reading

Here are some additional resources and references you may find useful:

Corgi breed types explained

Corgi breed types explained.
Now you know all about all the types of corgis out there!

As you can see, there are a few minor differences between the two types of corgi dogs.

No matter which breed you adopt, do your research first and learn everything you can about corgis.

Check out our corgi care guides to learn more about them so you can establish a welcome home for your furry companion!

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