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Pembroke vs Cardigan Corgi: What Are the Differences

Pembroke vs Cardigan Corgi


While both Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis boast an abundance of charm and intelligence, prospective dog owners may find themselves drawn to one breed over the other based on specific preferences and lifestyle considerations. Let's embark on a journey to uncover the nuances of each breed, starting with the Pembroke Corgi.


Pembroke Corgi: A Brief Overview

Named after the county of Pembrokeshire in Wales, the Pembroke Corgi is perhaps the more popular and recognizable of the two Corgi varieties. Renowned for their cheerful disposition and animated personalities, Pembroke Corgis have captured the hearts of dog lovers worldwide.

Appearance and Build

Pembroke Corgis are characterized by their sturdy build and low-to-the-ground stature. Despite their diminutive size, they possess a robust frame with well-defined muscles, making them surprisingly agile and athletic. Their distinctive appearance is further enhanced by their fox-like expression, alert ears, and expressive eyes, which exude intelligence and curiosity.

Coat Color and Pattern

One of the most striking features of Pembroke Corgis is their coat, which can vary in color and pattern. While the most common coat color is red, Pembroke Corgis may also come in shades of sable, fawn, or tri-color (red and white with black markings). Their double-layered coat consists of a weather-resistant outer layer and a soft, dense undercoat, providing insulation and protection from the elements.

Temperament and Personality

Known for their outgoing and affectionate nature, Pembroke Corgis are beloved for their playful antics and unwavering loyalty to their families. Despite their small stature, they possess a confident and assertive demeanor, often exhibiting a strong herding instinct inherited from their working roots. With proper socialization and training, Pembroke Corgis thrive in various environments, from bustling city apartments to spacious rural estates.

Cardigan Corgi: A Brief Overview

Named after the historic county of Cardiganshire in Wales, the Cardigan Corgi is the slightly lesser-known cousin of the Pembroke Corgi. Despite their shared Welsh heritage, Cardigans possess their own set of distinctive traits that set them apart from their Pembroke counterparts.

Appearance and Build

Unlike the Pembroke Corgi, which is typically docked or naturally bobbed, the Cardigan Corgi is distinguished by its long, bushy tail. This feature, along with their larger, more substantial build, gives Cardigans a more rugged and substantial appearance compared to their Pembroke counterparts. With their deep chests, strong bones, and sturdy legs, Cardigan Corgis are well-equipped for a variety of physical activities, from herding livestock to participating in dog sports.

Coat Color and Pattern

Similar to Pembroke Corgis, Cardigans exhibit a wide range of coat colors and patterns. However, they are more commonly seen in shades of brindle, blue merle, or black with white markings. The Cardigan's coat is also double-layered, providing insulation and protection from the elements, but tends to be denser and more weather-resistant than that of the Pembroke.

Temperament and Personality

While both Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis share a reputation for intelligence and affection, Cardigans are often described as more reserved and independent in temperament. They are known for their keen intelligence and problem-solving abilities, as well as their unwavering loyalty to their families. Cardigans are also highly adaptable dogs, capable of thriving in a variety of living situations, from urban apartments to rural homesteads. However, they may require early socialization and consistent training to help channel their natural herding instincts in a positive direction.


Pembroke vs. Cardigan: Understanding the Differences

Now that we've explored the key characteristics of both Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis, let's take a closer look at the differences between these two beloved breeds.

Appearance and Build

Tail: Docked vs. Natural

One of the most obvious differences between Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis lies in their tails. Pembroke Corgis are traditionally docked, meaning their tails are surgically shortened shortly after birth. This practice is rooted in historical working purposes, as it was believed to prevent injury while herding and improve their agility. In contrast, Cardigan Corgis boast a natural, long tail that is bushy and often wagging, adding to their charm and distinctive appearance.

Size and Proportions

While both Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis belong to the small-to-medium size category, there are subtle differences in their dimensions. Pembroke Corgis tend to be slightly smaller and more compact, with a sleeker build and shorter legs. On the other hand, Cardigan Corgis are typically larger and more robust, with a longer body and more substantial bone structure. These differences in size and proportions reflect each breed's unique history and purpose.

Physical Features: Ears, Eyes, and Expression

In addition to their tail and body size, Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis exhibit variations in their physical features and expressions. Pembroke Corgis are known for their fox-like appearance, characterized by erect, pointed ears and bright, alert eyes that convey intelligence and curiosity. Their expression is often described as keen and animated, reflecting their lively and outgoing personalities. In contrast, Cardigan Corgis may have slightly rounder ears and a more thoughtful expression, giving them a distinctive and dignified air.

History and Origin

Pembroke Corgi: Royal Companions

The Pembroke Corgi has a rich history dating back centuries, where they were favored companions of British royalty, including Queen Elizabeth II. Pembroke Corgis were originally bred for herding purposes, tasked with driving cattle and sheep on Welsh farms. Their royal connections and charming demeanor have helped elevate the Pembroke Corgi to international fame, making them one of the most popular and recognizable breeds today.

Cardigan Corgi: The Cattle Dog of Wales

In contrast, the Cardigan Corgi has a more humble origin as a versatile farm dog in the hills and valleys of Cardiganshire, Wales. Bred to excel in herding and guarding duties, Cardigans were valued for their agility, intelligence, and loyalty. Their name "Corgi" is derived from the Welsh words "cor" (dwarf) and "ci" (dog), highlighting their stature and role as beloved companions and working partners on Welsh farms.

Temperament and Suitability

Pembroke Corgi: Energetic and Sociable

Pembroke Corgis are renowned for their outgoing and friendly nature, making them ideal family pets and companions. They thrive on human interaction and enjoy participating in various activities, from obedience training to agility trials. Pembroke Corgis are known for their boundless energy and enthusiasm, always eager to embark on new adventures with their families. Their playful demeanor and affectionate disposition endear them to people of all ages, from children to seniors.

Cardigan Corgi: Reserved yet Loyal

Cardigan Corgis tend to be more reserved and cautious when encountering new people or situations, reflecting their instinctive nature as watchdogs and guardians. While they may appear aloof or standoffish at first, Cardigans form deep bonds with their families and are fiercely loyal and protective. Once they trust and accept someone, they become devoted companions and steadfast allies, willing to defend their loved ones with unwavering loyalty and courage. Additionally, Cardigan Corgis are known for their independent streak, which can manifest as a strong sense of self-reliance and resourcefulness.


In summary, Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis are two distinct breeds, each with its own unique traits and personalities. The Pembroke Corgi is known for its royal connections, outgoing nature, and playful demeanor, making it a popular choice for families. On the other hand, the Cardigan Corgi is characterized by its reserved yet loyal temperament, reflecting its origins as a hardworking farm dog.

Whether you prefer the spirited charm of the Pembroke or the steadfast loyalty of the Cardigan, both breeds offer a lifetime of love and companionship. When choosing your perfect Corgi companion, consider factors such as temperament and lifestyle to ensure a harmonious match.

Thank you for exploring the world of Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis with us. We hope this guide has provided valuable insights to help you make an informed decision when welcoming a Corgi into your home. Stay tuned for more informative articles on canine companionship and responsible pet ownership.