Cardigan Welsh Corgi vs. Pembroke Welsh Corgi: What’s The Difference?

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Source: @LucyLoo.CorgiCrew

You’ve probably heard that there are two types of Corgi, and while that is technically true, it’s also technically false. Despite their similar names, shapes, and country of origin, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi are two distinct breeds. 

Here, we’ll be comparing the Cardigan Welsh Corgi vs. Pembroke Welsh Corgis, sharing the key differences, and teaching you how to tell the difference between the two!

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Breed Comparison

The two types of Corgi are different breeds with distinctly different genetic backgrounds. While both were bred in Wales as herding dogs to move cattle, owners of these breeds will tell you that they are quite different. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most basic differences between the Pembroke Welsh Corgi vs. Cardigan Welsh Corgis. 

Cardigan Welsh CorgiPembroke Welsh Corgi
Photo by Parsnip the Corgi in Brookline, Massachusetts with @corgisonstairs. May be an image of dog.
Source: @ParsnipTheCorgi
Photo by Kennel Jolizi avd Nord in Stokke. May be an image of 1 person, corgi and grass.
Source: @Jolizi.Avd.Nord
Weight◦ 30-38 lbs. (males)◦ 25-34 lbs. (females)◦ 22-30 lbs. (males)◦ 21-28 lbs. (females)
Height10.5-12.5 inches at shoulder10-12 inches at shoulder
Tail LengthLeft longDocked (naturally long)
Standard ColorBlack, brown, red, or merle with white markingsRed, sable, fawn, black, tan, with or without white markings
Lifespan12-15 years12-13 years
Place of OriginSouthwest WalesSouthern Wales
Descended FromGerman TeckelsNordic Spitz breeds
Working UsesMoving cattleMoving cattle

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest breeds from the British Isles, thought to have originated in around 1200 BC. The Cardigan Corgi is the result of selective breeding by farmers on the southwestern coast of Wales who bred German Teckel dogs to be more useful in the rocky terrain of Cardiganshire. 

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German Teckels

A German Teckel

German Teckels were originally brought to Wales by central European Celtic tribes, who used the dogs for hunting burrowing, and den-dwelling game. The Teckel is also the ancestor of the Dachshund and closely resembles them. Their long backs are a signature of this lineage of dogs, which help them to burrow and weave. 

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Temperament

  • High energy
  • Eager to please
  • Friendly
  • Playful
  • Very vocal
  • Good with children
  • Selective with dogs

Cardigan Corgi Health

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are generally very healthy, but a good breeder should still be checking for genetic risks associated with the breed like:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye/vision issues
  • Spinal/back problems

Where Can You Get a Cardigan Welsh Corgi?

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Source: @duttonthecorgi

The best place to get a Cardigan Welsh Corgi is from a reputable, AKC-registered breeder. The American Kennel Club has an online marketplace where certified breeders can advertise their pups.

If you are interested in rescuing a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, check out the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America for more information. 

About the Pembroke Corgi

Crawley Crow Coracle of Aimhi, Pembroke Welsh Corgi. c. 1956
Source: AKC

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi appeared around 1,000 AD, and was brought to Wales by Vikings who brought Nordic Spitzes with them. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi was bred to move cattle, a task that required speed on the flat planes of Pembrokeshire. 

Nordic Spitz Breeds

Finnish Spitz
Finnish Spitz Dog Breed

A number of Nordic Spitz breeds exist today, but for centuries, Nordic dog owners referred to all varieties of the breed simply as “spitz.” Because of this, it’s a safe assumption that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi descends from a mix of several varieties of Nordic Spitz. Sometimes small and dainty, but also capable of becoming large and muscular, the Spitz breeds all share the same pointy ears, long curly tail, thick coat, and triangular head shapes. Some of today’s modern Nordic Spitz breeds include the Finnish Lapphund, the Norwegian Buhund, and the Swedish Vallhund.

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The Royal Corgis

Perhaps the most famous lover of Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Queen Elizabeth II played an enormous role in popularizing the breed and establishing the standard look we all know today. Queen Elizabeth II bred at least 14 generations of Pembroke Welsh Corgis, and (knowingly or unknowingly) influenced countless dog lovers to purchase a Corgi of their own. 

Queen Elizabeth II and her corgis

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Temperament

  • High energy
  • Loyal
  • Affectionate
  • Playful
  • Vocal
  • Territorial
  • Okay with kids
  • Okay with dogs

Pembroke Corgi Health

Slightly less reliable in terms of health than the Cardigan, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are predisposed for health issues like:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye/vision issues
  • Spinal/back problems
  • Cardiac issues
  • Bleeding disorders (von Willebrand’s disease)

Where Can You Get a Pembroke Welsh Corgi? 

As with Cardigans, the best place to get a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is through the AKC marketplace or a known and reputable AKC breeder. 

To find adoptable Pembrokes, visit the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America website. 

Let’s Meet Some Corgis!

Phew! That was a lot of technical information. Let’s wind down and relax with some adorable pictures of Corgis…both kinds! Can you tell the difference? 

1. Gen

Gen the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Source: @GenTheCorgi

Gen might not be the most graceful Pembroke Corgi, but she might just be one of the most adorable! This goofy girl lives in Japan and is a non-stop source of laughs for her family and her Instagram followers. 

2. Steve

Steve the Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Source: @SteveTheCardiganCorgi

Living in busy NYC is Steve, a dignified Corgi who enjoys the good things in life: art, culture, and napping with his tongue out. 

3. Momo

Momo the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Source: @Momo_TheBatCorgi

When he’s not saving Gotham City from evil, Momo likes to spend his days shadowing his mom, and exploring Washington D.C.!

4. Rooney

Rooney the Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Source: @RooneyTheCardiCorg

Rooney is a gorgeous big boy living in Virginia who loves to gather sticks, play with his pals, and enjoy a good nap on a soft spot. 

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5. Aston

Aston the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Source: @AstonTheCorgi

Living in beautiful Indonesia, Aston the six-year-old sable Pembroke is a rolly polly dude who loves to play, nap, and eat!

6. Amos 

Amos the cardigan welsh corgi
Source: @Raising.Amos

A stunning example of a merle Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Amos is a one-year-old pup living in Kansas City. 

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