There are two breeds of Corgi, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Each breed has similarities to each other and very distinct differences.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi or “Cardi,” is primarily kept as a companion, but they were used as a working, farm-dog breed. They were known for their endurance, tenacity, and boldness. Typically, they were used for moving cattle by nipping at their heels and were short and agile enough to avoid being kicked. The Cardigan is an exceptionally tough breed able to work all day in any weather. They have Huge Personalities packed into a low-rider body and are lively and intelligent. They love both physical and mental challenges. Despite being companion dogs, they remain vigilant and effective watchdogs.
The foxlike Pembroke Welsh Corgi, or “Pem,” was like it relative the Cardi used for driving cattle and other farm related duties. The Pembroke was indispensable in keeping farms free from vermin and guarding them from intruders and watching over the livestock and poultry. These Pembroke's are cheeky and intelligent dogs that are still worked in some areas but are primarily companions now. They still make excellent watchdogs and will protect property and vehicles noisily.
The origins of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi are uncertain, but the breed is believed to be ancient, dating back at least 3,000 years. It is widely held that they developed from the Teckel family of dogs, which also gave rise to the Dachshund, and that Celtic tribes migrating from central Europe introduced them to Wales. The breed developed in relative geographic isolation, adapting to the climate, and bred specifically to work. Despite their differences, no efforts were made to keep the Cardi separate from the Pembroke Welsh Corgi until 1934, when the British Kennel Club recognized each separately. Cardis arrived in the US in 1931 when two were imported by Mrs. Robert Bole. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1935.
The Pembroke’s History is believed to date back to around the 9th or 10th century when Viking raiders began invading Wales, bringing their spitz-type dogs, which bred with native dogs. Historians believe that the Swedish Vallhund, Norwegian Buhund, Schipperke, and early Pomeranian could all have influenced the development of the Pem. Pem’s became extremely popular in the twentieth century when the British Royal Family kept them. The first was Dookie, a gift from the Duke of York (later King George VI) to his daughter Margaret. Jane, Crackers, and Susan followed Dookie. Queen Elizabeth II keeps Corgis, with all of them tracing back to Susan. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America was established in 1936, and the breed ranks among the top thirty most popular breeds in the United States.
Corgi means "dwarf dog" in Welsh.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary,
cor means dwarf and
Both breeds are healthy, but they both have hereditary problems that can arise.
Cardigans can have issues that include intervertebral disc disease, progressive retinal atrophy, and urolithiasis.
Pembroke's can have issues that include degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy.
Issues are as:
Intervertebral disc disease: Intervertebral disc disease is a common condition characterized by the breakdown (degeneration) of one or more of the discs that separate the bones of the spine (vertebrae), causing pain in the back or neck and frequently in the legs and arms. The intervertebral discs provide cushioning between vertebrae and absorb pressure put on the spine.
Progressive retinal atrophy: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), is a group of degenerative diseases that affect these photoreceptor cells. With this disease, the cells deteriorate over time, eventually leading to blindness in the affected dog.
Urolithiasis: Urolithiasis is to dogs what passing kidney stones are to their fur parents. This may occur suddenly or may develop throughout days or weeks. Initially, the dog may frequently attempt to urinate and produce only a fine stream, a few drops, or nothing at all.
Degenerative Myelopathy: Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM), is a disease affecting the spinal cord, resulting in slowly progressive hind limb weakness and paralysis. The symptoms result from degeneration of the white matter of the spinal cord. DM is similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease in fur parents.
Hip Dysplasia: Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause crippling lameness
Corgi Myths Or Are They?
Are you familiar with the ancient corgi legends?
Not many know that corgis and fairies have a history together, but their bond goes way back. In fact, Welsh legend says that corgis, or “dwarf dogs”, were created as sly, fast pets for fairies as a means to help them get around. In fact, it’s even said that only those who have a kind heart and sharp eyes can see the harness marks and fairy saddle on the back of a Welsh corgi.
Above photo is credited to Shiba-Aku deviantart
The legend of the fairies and corgis goes back to ancient times in the woodlands of Wales. Fairies lived in harmony with their surroundings, wandering the forest; however, their wings weren’t strong enough to take them long distances. Over time, this resulted in fairies becoming lazy about long-distance travel.
In that moment, the fairies decided they would create a companion traveler whom they could ride upon, allowing them to travel farther and wider than they’d be able to on their own wings. They created the corgi or the “dwarf dog” in Welsh. This dog looked like a fox but was fast, loyal, and kind. In the night, when the fairies weren’t riding their corgis, they would send them into towns to play with children or even watch over them.
But one day, while riding corgis, the Queen and King of the fairies felt pity for the humans they encountered doing hard, laborious work just to keep themselves alive. These farm hands and poor families seemed to work more and more without ever being able to rest. Distracted by the scene, the King fell off his corgi and the Queen abandoned hers to help save him.
While the two were tending to one another, the corgis continued to race off, not knowing their owners had fallen off and were left behind. The King worried that the two dwarf dogs would get lost, and immediately called for a search party to bring them back home, but the Queen declined. She said the King’s worrying was futile, as they had only lost two dogs they mainly used for pleasure. The dogs will no longer be lost, she said, because they will be found by mortals more needing of them than us.
It’s true the two corgis got lost, wandering further into mortal territory. They played with each other, not knowing they were lost in the first place and sparked the interest and amusement of nearby human children. After a while, the children picked them up and brought them home to their farm, happy to show their farm families what they’d found. Their father explained to the children that these dogs, the “dwarf dogs”, were gifts from the fairies. From that point on, the corgis worked on the farm and became loved by the people of Wales.
Posted by Ronna Moore on 7th Feb 2018 on FAIRIES, CORGIS, AND THEIR ANCIENT BOND
How The Corgi Lost His Tail
Long, long ago back in the days when the land was new and the pixies still tied knots in the sheep's tails and tangled the manes of the horses at night, the Corgi was the steed of choice for the nightly rides of the Queen of the Fairies. Both Pembrokes and Cardigans had long, flowing tails and would wag them brightly as they trotted along. One night though, after a long day of herding, a Pembroke Corgi decided that enough was enough and that he would rather sleep than be bedecked with flowers and carry the Queen. When she arrived, he snuggled deeper into his bed sack and refused to open his eyes. The fairies poked him and prodded him until he heaved a great sigh and sat up.
"I don't WANT to go out tonight" he complained. "I am tired and grumpy and want to sleep. Find another steed for your evening ride." And with that, he sat down and put his ears back and, with a steely glint in his eye, refused to move.
The fairies cajoled, they pleaded, they ordered, they threatened, they bribed, they yelled, but all to no avail. The Pemmie had made up his mind and nothing was going to change it.
Finally, in anger, the Queen stomped her tiny feet and tossed her beautiful hair, and shouted out a terrible curse, "I will bind your tail to the ground with my magic so that you are trapped. You will never be free until you agree to become my slave.....to be ridden whenever I desire!!"
Now, this did not please the Corgi one bit!!!
He swore a mighty oath to never give in to threats and began to tug and pull. But alas, his tail was stuck fast to the ground! And HE was stuck to his tail!!!
He pulled and pulled and heaved and FINALLY pulled loose..................
But his tail was stuck fast to the ground and remained there. He had pulled his tail RIGHT OFF!!!
And so, to this day, the Pembroke Corgi has no tail as a reminder of the dog who defied the Queen of the Fairies. And, like any other good Welshman, he is still proud, willful, and unintimidated by threats or cursing.
This is the tale of the tail as my grandmother told me.......Betsy Copeland
By Betsy Copeland published on https://www.welshcorgi-news.ch/English.html