There are two types of Corgis, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi – both supposedly named after the counties in Wales from which they originated in the 12th century. It is possible that the ancestry of the breed dates back to at least the 10th century. The Pembroke (Bling’s breed) is slightly shorter, longer and less heavily boned than the Cardigan breed. The Cardigan classically has a long tail, while Pembrokes have a short “bob” tail, or a docked tail. Pembrokes also generally have more of a fox-like face and pointier ears. Pembrokes and Cardigans were recognized as separate breeds by the English and American Kennel Clubs in 1934. According to AKC dog registration statistics, the Pembroke Corgi was the 27th most popular breed in 2010 (Cardigans were #84).
The origin of the term Corgi is somewhat unclear with some sources claiming that its direct Welsh translation means “dwarf dog.” However, others believe the term comes from the Welsh word “cor” meaning “to watch over or gather” with the stem “gi” a root for the Welsh word for dog. In Welsh folklore, the Corgi breed was a gift from the woodland fairies and is the preferred mount of the fairy warrior.
Corgis are bred for herding and are listed in the Herding Group by the Westminster Kennel Club. Deliberately bred to be low to the ground, the Corgi’s short stature protects it from the kick of a cow, sheep or Welsh pony. Unlike other larger herding breeds such as Collies, who circle around livestock to herd, Corgis manipulate a herd by nipping at the animals’ feet from behind while running semi-circles to keep a herd together. While used mainly for cattle and sheep, Corgis are reportedly one of the few breeds able to herd geese.
Widely considered to be an excellent family dog, the Corgi is intelligent, loyal, trainable, energetic, playful and tough. They often compete in dog agility trials, and obedience, tracking, and herding events.