Welsh corgis were initially bred to herd cattle. They were considered a single breed until 1934 when breeders began developing the Pembroke and Cardigan corgi separately. They share the same basic head and body shape, with the main difference being the Cardigan's long raised tail. Both the Pembroke and Cardigan corgi have maintained their herding instincts, but they make a great pet and are loving additions to any family.
The most noticeable difference between a Pembroke and Cardigan corgi is their tails. The Cardigan's is long, and a Pembroke's is short. The Pembroke also has smaller, pointier ears, and Cardigans are slightly larger. Pembroke corgis are the smallest herding dog recognized by the American Kennel Club and usually weight less than 30 pounds, which Cardigans are slightly larger and typically weigh 38-40 pounds. Cardigan corgis have legs that are slightly bowed, but they stand just a bit taller than Pembrokes.
Some corgis are still used as working dogs today, and the breed has retained it's herding instincts and willingness to work. That said, they have also settled into the role of adorable family pet quite well. Pembrokes are happy dogs with an independent streak that makes them a bit stubborn at times. Cardigan corgis are a little more responsible. They're alert watchdogs and a less welcoming to strangers than a Pembroke, ready to alert their owners to anything out of the ordinary.
Corgis live for between 12 and 15 years and are generally a healthy breed, but they are at risk for some conditions. Pembrokes may have hip dysplasia, a condition where the thighbone is loose in the hip joint, potentially leading to arthritis as the dog ages. Other conditions that may affect Pembroke corgis include cataracts, epilepsy, bleeding disorders, and heart defects. These conditions may also affect Cardigan corgis but are much less likely to do so. Intervertebral disk disease or a ruptured disc is a risk for both types of corgis because of their long backs.
It's easy to think that corgis aren't very fast because of their short legs, but they are extremely athletic and built for speed and agility. Because they were bred to herd animals much larger than they are, corgis also have a loud, powerful bark that is impressive when considering their small bodies. It is possible to train them to bark less, but barking is part of their instincts, and the habit will never fully disappear,
Both Pembroke and Cardigan corgis are pretty versatile when it comes to where they can live. Both types were bred to have weather-resistant coats to withstand cold, harsh weather while working outside as herding dogs in Wales. They do well in most climates and can adapt to city, suburban, or rural life. Although they like spending time outdoors, corgis are not a breed that likes being outside on their own for very long.
Corgis are small, but they have a lot of energy. Most small breeds can get the exercise they need by running around the house, but corgis need a great deal of exercise. They're used to working on the farm all day and have a high degree of stamina. Dog parks are a good choice because corgis are generally friendly and get along with other dogs. Corgis can also tolerate daily walks as long as an hour and hiking. They're also extremely intelligent and quick on their feet, so they excel at agility training.
Both Pembroke and Cardigan corgis love to eat, so it's important to closely monitor their diet and exercise. With too much food and not enough movement, it's easy for corgis to gain weight, which puts additional pressure on their backs and can cause health issues. It's best to feed corgis by measuring out their food twice a day instead of leaving food in their bowl all the time.
Pembrokes have a double coat that's thick underneath and longer on top. They shed all year round, but have periods of heavy shedding a few times a year. Some have longer top coats with fluff around the ears, legs, and feet. They come in a range of colors, including black, red, sable, and fawn, usually with large white markings. Pembrokes are easy to groom, but it's something you have to do often, especially during periods of heavy shedding.
Cardigan corgis also have a short undercoat and long, thick topcoat that sheds year-round with extreme shedding twice a year. Short coats are most common, but some Cardigan corgis have fluffy coats that don't provide as much protection in cold weather. Grooming is easy but time-consuming as they need to be brushed regularly, especially when they're shedding heavily. Their coats vary widely, from brindle to red to sable.DevidDO / Getty Images
Corgis generally get along with everyone, including humans and other animals. They love kids, but sometimes follow their instincts and try to herd them. They may nip at young children's feet but can be trained not to engage in this behavior. Because corgis are small and can have serious back problems if dropped or handled roughly, young children should never be left alone with them, especially when they're puppies. Pembrokes and Cardigans are generally friendly with other dogs and can live with cats if they're socialized together.
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