There are two distinct breeds of Welsh Corgis:
THE PEMBROKE – The Spitz type
THE CARDIGAN – The Teckle type
Both breeds make ideal pets and companions, and they are both long-lived breed (14 to 17 years is quite common).
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Originated from the small, hardy, natural bob-tailed cattle dogs of the Pembrokeshire area in Wales. Their heritage endows them with all those valuable instincts of a working dog, a friend and helper of man possessing an independent spirit that originally enabled them to control the Welsh cattle without undue direction from their masters.
Chosen as a pet by the British Royal Family in 1935, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is now one of the best known breeds, particularly in Commonwealth countries, being highly successful in both show and obedience rings world wide and extremely popular as a family pet.
The Pembroke is certainly a robust dog, his ample get-up-and-go will make him ready for any type of work or play; by nature cheerful and affectionate his natural intelligence makes him alert, and inquisitive, he thrives on attention, yet is content to take his well earned rest at his masters feet.
His distinctive head is foxy in shape and appearance. An ideal height of 10 to 12 inches (25.4 to 30.5 cm) and weight of 22 to 26 lbs (10 to 12 kg) makes them small enough to fit comfortably in the family car and live happily in the suburban back yard. His beautiful short coat requires only a quick brush to keep clean and shiny plus an occasional comb to keep the undercoat and skin in good condition.
The Pembroke comes in a wide range of colours including the eye catching tri colour, a combination of black with tan and white markings. Traditional coat colours vary through all shades of red, fawn, sable and black with tan, and usually have smart white markings on feet, legs, chest and foreface.
The Pembroke is traditionally recognised by a short or bob tail. As a consequence of the ban on docking in Australia, many Pembrokes will now be seen with a part or full length tail. However, as the gene that produces naturally bob or short tails is a dominant one in the Pembroke, there will still be Pembrokes found with this characteristic feature of a short bob tail.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi
One of the oldest of the Welsh dog breeds and is generally acknowledged as being the original Corgi or small ‘dwarf’ dog of Wales.
Since very ancient times they were used as a sheep and cattle herder, guard dog, general purpose farm dog, friend and companion in the lonely Crofters huts of the remote Welsh hillside country of Cardiganshire.
No official pedigree records exist of the original Cardigan Corgis and it was not until about 1930 that separate show registers for both Cardigan and Pembroke types were recognised by the English Kennel Club. Despite some interbreeding with their Pembroke cousins at the time, the Cardigan Corgi with their ancient lineage have dominantly retained their individual characteristics, particularly their steady sensible temperament and tractable nature, signified always by an expressive waving tail.
The Cardigan Corgi today, although never experiencing the impetus of Royal patronage, continues to maintain its popularity, particularly as an obedience dog and family pet. Standing about 12 inches (30 cm) high at the shoulder with head foxy in shape and appearance, they have pricked ears that are characteristically larger and more rounded than those of their Pembroke cousins. Usually a heavier dog than the Pembroke, they are slightly longer in back with a tail that stretches out behind like a fox’s brush. With front feet that turn slightly outwards for balance, Cardigan Corgis are very agile and extremely strong for their size.
They have exceptionally sensitive hearing and make excellent watchdogs. Very adaptable, Cardigans are equally at home on a large property or in a smaller suburban backyard. They come in an even more extensive variety of colours than the Pembroke. Their short to medium length coat can vary through all shades of red (from light tan to mahogany and sable), tricolour with either brindle or tan points, plus in addition the exclusive Cardigan colours of brindle and blue merle.