What's the difference between Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis?
Originally found in Wales, corgis are a mainstay of the British Isles, and have been popular with the British Royal family for decades. Both these corgi breeds descend from northern spitz dogs, like the Husky.
They also were, back in ancient history, bred for their hunting prowess, known for many a day out on the wilderness with their owner.
While every corgi is special and unique, here are some other common similarities and differences between the two to help you tell which is which.
The Shape of the Face
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are the first thing you think of when someone says ‘corgi’! They are the standard for the Royals and what you see most on TV. Think Brooklyn 99 or Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a longer nose, and resemble a fox. Pembroke Welsh Corgis have pointy ears that start out floppy, then stick up as they grow from puppy to adult. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi looks a bit more rugged – and less like a ball of fluff. Think of it as the baby of a fox and a wolf. They also have more rounded ears than their Pembroke brothers and sisters, and flatter, more defined, cheeks.
The Size of Each Breed
When it comes to size, neither breed is much bigger than a stack of pizzas for a small family gathering. That’s one of the reasons that make such good pets. They both stand about the same height: 10 inches to 1 foot tall at shoulder height, which makes them a small–average sized dog.
When it comes to weight, Cardigan Welsh Corgis (weighing in at 25 to 38 pounds) come in a little larger than the Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Pembrokes only weigh up to 30 pounds – the same weight as the 100 baseballs you’ll need to keep them entertained.
The Length of Tail
When it comes to butts, the corgi is famous. The corgi butt looks like a love heart, and is so perfect, it has its own nickname: the Momo. These are the butts that break the internet. You can see them most often on Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
With Pembroke Welsh Corgis, you often find a short (docked) tail, or no tail at all. Breeders will dock the tail when the corgi is very young. They do this, at least in the USA, to conform to a standard set by the American Kennel Club, though there are also purported health benefits. If you don’t want a docked-tail corgi, you need to have a conversation with your breeder.
The long tail is much more common in Cardigan Welsh Corgis. The tail is often thick and bushy, resembling a possum. As a shortcut, people say the quickest way to tell the two breeds apart is the tail: Cardigans with, Pembrokes without. Howeer, this isn’t always true, and indeed, you can find Cardigan Welsh Corgis that have a docked (or no) tail.
The Temperament and Behavior
Forget Guardians of the Galaxy, Cardigan Welsh Corgis are your guardian of the home. If you have guests over, it’s quite likely that your Cardigan will be suspicious, and may take a bit of warming up before being firm friends. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t good with people: they are even-tempered, and very loyal. A Cardigan Welsh Corgi chooses friends wisely and keeps them close.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, on the other hand, is a social butterfly. They are a bundle of energy, and often make welcome to new people – expect them to be waiting by the door when you get home. The Pembroke is a born curious and inquisitive creature, so expect them to always want to know what’s going on.
The Color and Style of Fur
If it’s peacoat and gumboot weather outside, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a perfect fit. Its thick coat keeps it warm, and the rough texture (never wiry, curly or silky) draws back to its long hunting heritage. Expect dark, brooding colors with the Cardigan: greys, browns and blacks (it’s the mystery novel of dogs!).
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is, these days, more of a beast of leisure. They have a smoother fur, that lies flat and straight against the body. You can find Pembroke Welsh Corgis in brighter colours, like white, golds and oranges.
The Direction of Their Feet
At first glance, this is a little trickier to spot. After all, you’d expect similar breeds to have similar paws. Not true in this case.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi has feet that turn away from the body, while the Pembroke Welsh Corgis have forward facing feet. This matches their temperament: the Cardigan more hesitant, the Pembroke always ready to go forward.