The Corgi Dog Breed – Part II: Differences between the Cardigan and Pembroke

Last Saturday we talked about the similarities of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Although these breeds both came from central Europe and into Wales, they developed into two distinct breeds over time. The Cardigan became more specialized in Cardiganshire while the Pembroke developed separately in Pembrokeshire, hence their breed names. But the differences don’t just lie in their place of origin. There are distinct physical characteristics and subtle differences in temperament.

Subtle Differences in Personality
We say subtle differences in temperament because the differences are so slight that they may not be noticeable. In general, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi may be more affectionate. They tend to like people a little bit more including strangers and so may not make as good guard dogs.

Physical Differences – Body and Face
Although the Cardigan and Pembroke can stand at about the same height, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi can be a little heavier. The Pembroke’s body and facial features tend to be a bit leaner. Both have a fox-like face, but the Pembroke’s head is even more foxy in appearance. The eyes of the Cardigan are medium to large whereas the Pembroke’s are generally just medium-sized and more oval in shape. Both dog breeds have erect ears but the ears of the Cardigan are more rounded while the Pembroke’s are more pointed.

Physical Differences – Tail, Feet, and Colors
Probably the most notable difference is the tail. The Pembroke’s tail is docked and the Cardigan’s is not. The Cardigan’s tail is medium in length and carried low. The feet of the two Corgi types are different too. The Cardigan has round feet and his front feet are pointing slightly outward. The Pembroke has oval feet and slightly longer toes. His front feet are straight but his front legs may be turned slightly inward. The color of the Corgi’s can give away which type too. Both can be a solid color such as red or sable with white flashings. But the Cardigan can also be bridle or blue merle with white flashings.

Health and History
Both breeds have a tendency towards genetic disorders such as hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy. But the Pembroke is also prone to intervertebral disc disease and epilepsy. It may be because the Pembroke is more popular, and therefore the most overbred. The Pembroke was a favorite of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, so it was especially popular in Britain. They might be even more popular after Queen Elizabeth’s Corgi’s stole the show in the grand opening of the 2012 Olympics in London (as seen on Dogster).

If you are considering getting a Corgi as a pet, be sure to research the breeder thoroughly or go through a Corgi rescue group. Read up on Corgi’s with a book from Barron’s HERE. Barron’s provides lots of tips for choosing, training, and keeping a Corgi healthy.

Do you have a Corgi or know someone who has one? Tell us about him or her. Is there any characteristic that we missed?

Welsh Corgis: Pembroke and Cardigan (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals) Rikki KnightTM Welsh Corgi Dog Design Messenger Bag - Book Bag - Unisex - Ideal Gift for all occassions!                 

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3 Responses to “The Corgi Dog Breed – Part II: Differences between the Cardigan and Pembroke”

  1. Long Life Cats and Dogs Says:

    Very interesting. Love the pics as well.

  2. heyitsjethere Says:

    Hey it’s Jet here.
    We love learning about the different breeds, thank you. We agree about the increased popularity after the Olympics. And then… you know what that means… the need for a breed rescue group… 😦

  3. snoopy@snoopysdogblog Says:

    There are some Corgis in my neighborhood, I’m gonna have to take a closer look at them and work out the differences 🙂

    I saw the Queen with hers on the Olympics – great to see some Doggies!! 🙂

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

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