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What Is the Difference Between a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi (and Which Better)?

Cardigan and Pembroke Corgis are dogs from two different Welsh counties. Both breeds are known for herding. Pembroke Corgis are slightly smaller than Cardigans.
What Is the Difference Between a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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Cardigan Welsh Corgis are older and slightly bigger dogs than Pembroke Corgis. They’re from the Ceredigion/Cardiganshire county in Wales. Pembroke Corgis, on the other hand, are from the county of Pembrokeshire.

Both breeds got their names from their places of origin. They were considered a single breed until the 1900s. Though both are Welsh dogs and have similar characteristics, they don’t have the same ancestry.

Cardigan and Pembroke Corgis are natural herders and they were bred for the same purpose. Their agricultural contribution in Wales ain’t something to scoff at. Local farmers take them to farms/ranches to watch crops and livestock.

You’re probably planning to own a Corgi dog but can’t decide which one you should choose. Both are good choices for experienced dog owners. However, Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis can overwhelm the first-timers.

Are Cardigan and Pembroke Related?

The Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeds are believed to be distant relatives. Both dog breeds share the Corgi name, physical attributes, and behavior. They’re also dogs who are native to Wales.

But if you’re leaning on the technical or genetic side, they’re not related. Cardigan Welsh Corgis came from a dog breed known as Teckel where Dachshunds also came from. While Pembroke Welsh Corgis are genetically related to the Spitz breed.

In the old days, both Cardigan and Pembroke Corgis were considered a single breed. But in the early 20th century, they became two separate breeds. This can be confusing because both groups have a lot in common.

And crossbreeding can make things even more confusing but there’s no need to worry. You just have to know what to look for to know which type of Corgi is in front of you. Though expensive, DNA testing helps in answering questions regarding a dog’s bloodline.

Research shows that Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis are not directly related. They are rare, purebred dogs who have a lot in common with minor differences. Since they’re both cool Welsh Corgi dogs, associating them with each other is not an issue at all.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Cardigan and a Pembroke Corgi?

The main things that separate the two breeds are coat colors, tails, and body size. Cardigan Welsh Corgis have more colorful coats compared to Pembroke Corgis. The patterns you see in their coats are quite interesting.

There are different shades, stripes, or spots of color in their coats. While Pembroke Corgis have flatter and more straightforward coat colors. There are no Pembroke Corgis who have merle coats as this is a color/pattern for Cardigan Corgis.

Even among Cardigan Welsh Corgis, a merle coat is rare and that alone can push one’s price up. A Corgi with a merle coat but has Pembroke features is a crossbreed. This type of Corgi belongs to the American Corgi breed.

The American Corgi is a combination of two purebred Corgi dogs from the Cardigan and Pembroke breeds. Size-wise, Pembroke Corgis are usually smaller than their Cardigan counterparts. Cardigan Corgis are about 9.8 to 13 inches (249 to 330 mm) tall. While Pembroke Corgis stand somewhere between 9.8 to 11.8 inches (249 to 299 mm).

The most noticeable difference between the two breeds is the tail. Cardigan Welsh Corgis were able to grow their tails into adulthood.

But their Pembroke cousins had their tails docked at a young age of 3 to 5 days. Tail docking is being practiced due to beliefs and tradition. It was believed that cutting the tail at a young age would lessen the risk of getting rabies.

But in the modern age, vaccines can successfully fight the spread of different viruses. including rabies. So the practice becomes irrelevant from a medical point of view. Though some organizations require tail docking in the process of registering a Pembroke Corgi.

Some farmers think that tails make Pembroke Corgis injury-prone when working as herding dogs. But Cardigan Welsh Corgis are doing a fine job as herders despite having their tails intact. The practice of tail docking is still debatable among different groups.

A short, docked tail is one of the most distinguishable features that Pembroke Corgis have. The difference in size is not always obvious so you have to look at their tails and coats. Both Corgi breeds are competent herders and farm duties won’t be an issue for them.

How Do You Tell if My Corgi Is Pembroke or Cardigan?

To find out if the dog in front of you is a Cardigan or Pembroke Corgi, look at its coat and tail. Cardigan Corgis have colorful coats with different patterns and shades. While Pembroke Corgis, have basic-looking coats.

The merle coat belongs to Cardigan Corgis. Pembroke Welsh Corgis can’t have that type of coat. A merle-coated Corgi is either a Cardigan or American Corgi.

The American Corgi is a cross between the two main Corgi breeds. Both breeds are born with tails but Pembroke Corgis have their tails docked at a young age. Some of them are born with very short tails that docking is not necessary.

Though at first look it’s hard to notice, Cardigan Corgis are slightly bigger. When it comes to behavior, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are more sociable and energetic. Cardigan Welsh Corgis are energetic dogs as well but they’re more reserved and aloof to strangers.

Some of them have the aura of elder, experienced statesmen or states-dogs, if you allow the pun. While Pembroke Corgis have this more youthful energy in comparison. But a dog’s behavior can be influenced by its surroundings and an owner’s personality or habits.

So a Pembroke can behave more like a Cardigan and vice versa depending on the setting. The main things that set them apart are physical attributes. DNA testing can be pricey but this will give you a clearer picture of a dog’s heritage.

Should I Get a Pembroke or Cardigan Corgi?

Both Cardigan and Pembroke Corgis are good dogs to have. Saying that one is better than the other would be unfair. They have a lot in common with minor differences and choosing won’t be a problem.

The opinion that one breed is better is subjective so it’s a matter of preference and compatibility. Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis are very good dogs for herding. There’s no need to compete on that because these dogs are not into slacking off.

The two dog breeds are energetic and hardworking, though the Pembroke team is more outgoing and sociable. Cardigan Welsh Corgis are a little reserved in comparison. But they do warm up and get friendly after trying to spend some time with them.

Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis are smart and they respond to training very well. You can expect some stubborn behavior once in a while due to their independent side. It’s not a major concern because they’re good-natured, agreeable dogs for the most part.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to socialize, you can be a good match for a Pembroke Corgi. This dog is full of enthusiasm and enjoys being the life of the party. But if you’re an introvert, a Cardigan Corgi is more suitable for you.

The choice is completely up to your reasons and what you’re looking for. Do you want to get a Cardigan Corgi despite being a very sociable person? Or as an introvert, do you still want to get a Pembroke Corgi?

Go for it. Nothing’s going to stop you as long as you’re willing to do the work required to be a dog owner. Dogs usually mirror their humans’ personalities while not completely losing touch with their own.

There is no better breed between the two Corgis. Both of them are loyal and loving companions. If you’re a first-time dog owner, both breeds can be too much for you though.

Especially if you have housemates or family members who suffer from allergies. Both of them have allergenic double coats that shed continuously. Keep that in mind to avoid risking your folks’ health and safety.

As mentioned, both breeds are good and it’s a matter of compatibility and preference. See to it that you’re more than willing to make adjustments to accommodate any of the two. Seek help from professionals and let their advice guide your choice if you’re still unsure.

Cardigan and Pembroke Corgis are similar to each other despite their different ancestries. There are small differences but they’re not exactly the deal-breakers. As long as you have the experience and capability, you’re free to choose.

You can even try owning both breeds if you know how to deal with both sides. Take note of their needs and train them so that they can have a harmonious relationship. It can be challenging but not impossible.