The Cardigan Welsh Corgi vs. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Dog Spaying and Neutering

Introduction to The Cardigan Welsh Corgi vs.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi

When it comes to choosing a dog to bring into your home, there are endless choices and finding the right breed can be difficult for some.

If you’re looking for a dog that is loyal, smart, and great around the family it’s time to consider one of the corgi breeds.

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 several differences.

But, ask anyone who has a corgi and they’ll tell you that there is an age-old debate among Corgi lovers: Cardigan Welsh Corgi vs Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Before you pick sides in the Cardigan Welsh Corgi vs Pembroke debate, you’ll want to discover the differences that make these dogs unique and special.

Corgis Are The Most Friendly Dogs

History: Cardigan vs. Pembroke

They may have similar names and even more similar looks, but the Pembroke Welsh corgi and the Cardigan Welsh corgi are not related at all.

Both dogs hale from Wales, where they helped farmers heard cattle but they come from different parts of Wales, and the Cardigan is about two thousand years older than the Pembroke.

The Cardigans are one of the oldest British dog breeds, likely brought to Wales by the Celts when they migrated from Central Europe around 1200 BC.

Not only did they help herd cattle but also guarded livestock, guarded families, and worked as hunting dogs.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world dating back to 1200 B.C.

They were brought to Great Britain by Celtic warriors from central Europe.

Although they were not originally from Wales, the breed settled there and was named after the well-known town of Cardigan.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is much newer than the Cardigan and dates back to 1107 A.D.

He was originally from Belgium and belonged to various craftsmen, who were invited to live and work in South Wales by Henry I.

Along with them came their herding dogs, whom they mated with the Cardigan, and then named Pembroke, after the county that they lived in.

It is believed that the original canine was of Finnish Spitz heritage.

They are each a breed in their own right, however, in the 19th Century, they were often interbred which resulted in them being considered, for some time, as the same breed.

However, fanciers of each breed stepped in and saved the breed’s sovereignty and now they are once again separate from one another.

The practice of breeding the two breeds together has been curtailed.

They made great herding animals because they are intelligent and protective.

Additionally, their small size means that they can budge and nip the sheep and cattle’s ankles without being tall enough to receive a kick to the head!

When their herding is completed, they would sleep outside at night and keep a watchful eye over their herd, and their surprisingly loud bark would warn the intruder off, and alert their master.

The Corgi is particularly famous for 2 things.

The first, and probably most famous, is that the Corgi is the Queen of England’s favorite breed, particularly the Pembroke although she now only owns 2 Dorgi, which is a Dachshund and Corgi mix, she has bred and owned over 30 Corgi in her lifetime.

Secondly, there are 542K posts on Instagram with the tag ‘Corgi butt’, and this has increased by 24K posts within one month alone since my last Corgi article so that’s quite a popular peach!

Out of 193 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Cardigan Corgi’s popularity is ranked at number 68, and the Pembroke Corgi beats him significantly in 13th place.

They are also popular dogs to mix with other purebreds.

Corgi Are Easy To Train

Easily Confused

Many a Cardigan owner has had to explain that her corgi is not a Pembroke cross, but rather a breed all his own.

Vivian Moran, member of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America’s Judge’s Education Committee and 30-year Cardigan breeder, says, “People see a short dog with a long body and say ‘Corgi?’”

As people are more familiar with the Queen’s tail-free Pembrokes, the Cardigan’s long tail throws them off.

We have to work hard to explain there are two corgis and what the differences are.

Anne Bowes, 50-year breeder/owner/handler of Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Judge of Pembrokes, Cardigans, Shelties, Pugs, and Junior Showmanship, says people often confuse the two breeds.

They hear the word ‘Corgi’ and they think both breeds are the same.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Corgi Are Easy To Train

An Interesting Heritage

The Cardigan and the Pembroke both worked with farmers to take the cattle to grazing land and to guard the barnyard, but they don’t share a common ancestor and come from different sections of Wales.

Cardigans were found in the rough, rocky terrain of Cardiganshire in southwest Wales.

Pembrokes were found in the flatter, easier terrain of Pembrokeshire in southern Wales.

The two breeds also have completely different origins, with the Cardigan, one of the oldest breeds in the British Isles, being older by over two thousand years.

Their ancestors were brought to Wales by the Celtic tribes of central Europe.

They descended from the German Teckel lineage (which also gave us the Dachshund) and arrived in Wales in roughly 1200 BC.

As for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Vivian explains, “Pembrokes arrived in Wales with the Vikings and are descended from the Nordic Spitz breeds.”

The relatively younger breed’s appearance can be traced back to 1000 AD.

Except for a brief period in the 1930s, the two corgis have never been interbred.

In 2006, recognized the names of the two breeds as the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi rather than the Welsh Corgi (Cardigan) and the Welsh Corgi (Pembroke).

Corgi Are Easy To Train

Appearance Comparison

Despite its short stature, the Corgi is considered to be a medium-sized dog because it is very stout and rather long in the body.

They are usually between 10 and 12 inches in height and weigh between 20 and 40 pounds.

When you look at their heads and bodies, it appears that their legs simply did not grow in proportion to the rest of them.

They have beautiful coats that come in several different colors:

  • Black
  • Tan and black
  • Brindle
  • Gray
  • Mottled blue
  • Red

Pembroke Welsh corgi part from their size and coats, the Corgis have two very distinguishable features large, upright ears, and a fox-like face.

Their ears are usually perked up, and Corgis hear exceptionally well with those ears it is one of the reasons why they are notorious barkers.

Corgi puppies look like they are made almost entirely of ears.

The fox-like face appears to have a perpetual smile, which is one reason why Corgis are such a popular dog they both look and act happy most of the time.

Corgi Are Easy To Train

Temperament Comparison

Pembrokes and Cardigans have more differences between their personalities than their physiques.

However, some traits are fairly universal.

They are incredibly intelligent, and so as long as you are consistent and dedicated in your training regimen, you should have a fantastic companion.

It is one of the reasons why they are so popular and why even those who have never owned a dog can enjoy them.

Corgis quickly pick up on what they want during their training, although this does mean they also can figure out how to break the rules.

If you aren’t careful, you could end up being trained by your Corgi.

One of the few things they have in common with other small and medium-sized dogs is that they bark.

This is one of the biggest complaints about Corgis.

With their large sensitive ears, they hear virtually everything and are very quick to alert everyone about what they hear.

This is one of the main reasons that it is so important for you to socialize your Corgi it keeps your canine from being disturbed by every little sound.

They are high-energy dogs, which means taking them on at least a couple of walks a day is the best way to ensure your Corgi does not cause a lot of problems.

They are working dogs, which means that there are several traits that you have to watch for, such as nipping.

They make a great family dog, although they are not terribly fond of young children.

The loud noises small kids make can be a source of pain and annoyance to them.

Like other intelligent working dogs, they tend to be individualistic and strong-willed.

While this is a great trait for herding dogs, it is something you want to train them to avoid as a pet.

Finally, they may be individualistic, but they do not like to be alone for long.

If they are left home alone over the span of a full eight-to-ten-hour workday, they tend to get restless and anxious, which they act out by destroying things.

By training them you can easily fix these issues, but it is best that you not leave them alone for long stretches of time.

If nothing else, having another dog around will help to soothe your Corgi.

Corgi Are Easy To Train

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

While the two types look incredibly similar, you can tell if you are looking at a Pembroke Welsh Corgi by checking out a few different features.

Examining the Ears

The Pembroke’s ears are more triangular so that the tips appear to be pointed.

This actually emphasizes how pointed the Corgi face is and looks particularly adorable when they are about to get a treat.

Observing the Tail

The Pembroke tail is also usually short to almost hidden.

If you see a Corgi that appears to have virtually no tail, you are looking at a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Common Coats

While the coats tend to be less of an indicator than the other two features, Pembrokes usually have tan in their coats.

You do find some that are mostly black and white, but if you look closely, there is usually some tan, at least on the face.


Pembrokes tend to be shorter, although this won’t help you much if you don’t have one of each to check the height.

Typically, you will need to rely on the other physical attributes to be able to identify which of the two kinds of Welsh Corgis you are seeing.


Pembroke is known for being the friendlier of the two (they are Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite dog) and it is highly adaptable.

When faced with a challenge, a Pembroke is more likely to change to match the environment.

They also have a noticeably higher energy level than their counterpart, making them a better choice if you want a constant companion for outside excursions.

Their charming personality is what makes them the more popular of the two types as well.

For those who want a constant companion without having to worry about the pup getting tired as quickly, this is the Corgi for you.

Corgi Are Easy To Train

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

You can call the Cardigan Welsh Corgi the more dignified of the two types.

They tend to be calmer, quieter, and a little less fond of changes.

However, they have the more classic-looking radar-dish ears that people associate with the Corgi.

They may not be as popular as their close relatives, but they are still incredibly sweet.

Examining the Ears

Cardigans have ears that are much more rounded, giving them the appearance of having two large radar dishes atop their heads.

The ears tend to be longer and are more obvious when the dog swivels them to hear everything going on around it.

Observing the Tail

If you see a Corgi with a tail that appears to be of normal length, it is almost certainly a Cardigan.

The long, wagging tail of a Cardigan is one of the two most distinguishable traits.

Common Coats

While you will need to focus on the ears and tail, you can make your first assessment by checking out the coat.

The Cardigan tends to be the more colorful of the two types, with some having no tan or beige on them at all.

If the Corgi’s coat is mottled or brindle, it is almost certainly a Cardigan.

If the coat is black and white, it is also probably a Cardigan, but you should check for tan and beige in the face–it could just be well hidden.

There are also Cardigans that have the same coat coloring as Pembrokes, though, so it is just a way to make your initial guess as to the Corgi type.


The Cardigan tends to be the taller of the two dogs, which is a moot point if you don’t have both a Pembroke and a Cardigan nearby.


Cardigans are the more relaxed Corgi and they prefer that things remain the same.

They can adapt; they just are more likely to enjoy a routine that does not involve strangers.

They are more likely to be alright with missing the occasional walk they are less likely to have excess energy that they will need to take out on your furniture when you do miss walks.

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