Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Herding Dogs: Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis

If you need a herding dog for your farmyard, or a more compact dog for your agility or even flyball games, perhaps you should be considering the uncommon Corgi.

There are two type of Corgis.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Yes, this is the variety of Corgi that the Queen lives with.

It may be the Royal connection that makes this the more popular of the varieties.

The Pembroke is the "tailless" Corgi, although a Pembroke is occasionally born with a tail, which used to be docked.

 When comparing Corgi's the Pembroke has a shorter back, and straighter leg. In other words, this is the slightly smaller variety of Corgi.

 The Pembroke is supposed to top out at about 30 pounds (>14 kg.)

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

This is the variety of Corgi that is considered to be the first established - the tailed variety that is supposed to top out at about 38 pounds (17+ kg.)

To me the Cardigan is typically easy to spot because they just look longer. They are also uncommon, verging on rare. A big personality in a very manageable size, it is interesting that they have not known more popularity.

When my neighbor's German Shepherd Dog passed away, she decided she wanted an alert looking dog who took up less room; she'd moved from a farm into town and thought a smaller dog would suit her new lifestyle better.

Her choice was a Corgi. She could not however, find a Cardigan breeder within a days drive and ended up instead with a Pembroke.  Indeed, limited availability feeds into the growing rareness of this breed -- the less often people encounter a breed, the less likely they are to consider the breed when adopting a new member into their family.

If you decide that you want a Cardigan, you will have too look carefully and probably wait a while to get one from a reputable breeder. This is a breed however, that is worth the time and effort it takes to acquire.  And for those who like to live with an uncommon dog - this is a friendly, cheerful companion.

This is also a breed that comes in a wide variety of colors, including merles.

When I was studying in Canada, my Professor and his wife added a Corgi to their family so that they would have a smaller dog who would be tolerant of the grandchildren. This dog had one of the nicest personalities, was tolerant and entertaining. His whole body would wiggle in excitement when greeting people.

My neighbor Corgi, Earl, is one of the most delightful little dogs I have ever met. He is not "barky" he is perpetually jolly in appearance, he is willing to meet all other animals with an agreeable demeanor. He is just a very happy little fellow.

 If Earl had a tail I'm sure it would be constantly wagging. His predecessor, little Phoebe, was equally agreeable and possibly even sweeter.

If you like cheerful, friendly, sturdy dogs with a good work ethic, then Corgis are worth a second look. As always, despite the uncommonness of the breed, there are still members who end up in need of adoption after something happens to separate them from their first family. Even the delightful Corgi ends up in rescue - national clubs have a contact for rescue of the variety you are interested in.


  1. Ive always liked corgis, we see a fair amount of them around here. I think they are probably a bit too barky to be a practical choice for me but I do like them

    urban hounds

    1. Interesting you should say that :-) There are handful of small dogs in my neighborhood and the Corgi is the one who virtually never barks. Of course, it helps that he isn't left out all alone for long periods of time; he spends a lot of time with his person. On those rare occasions when he is out for a sunny afternoon though, he reminds me of a little philosopher - just sits looking around admiring the world and looking thoughtful :-) Like every breed - some individuals will be calmer than others.

  • Just stopping by on the blog hop.... I LOVE corgis! Would love to have a Cardigan someday.

  • I own a Cardigan Welsh Corgi named Coco which I rescued from a shelter and she is one of the best dogs I have ever owned. She is so sweet with people and she is so active. I do have to say she does not get along with any animals, she is very aggressive to animals and it is heartbreaking because she loves to run outside and play but as soon as any animals approach her she is feisty. Over all though she is a very sweet dog and we lover her so much.

    Corgis are Awesome!!!!

    1. I'm so glad that you and Coco have found each other! Sounds like you are well matched.