Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Description & History

There are two separate breeds of Welsh Corgi - the Cardigan and the Pembroke. The origins of these small dogs are not known, but there is evidence that corgi-type dogs probably existed a thousand years ago. In 900 AD the Welsh king Hywel Dda (Howell the Good), known as The Great Law Giver, drew up a code of laws. One of these laws placed a value on every domestic animal and laid down that a cattle dog was worth the value of a steer. As there is no evidence of any other cattle dog in Wales, it must be right to assume that the cattle dogs referred to in this law were the early ancestors of today's Welsh Corgis.

Corgis are cattle dogs and helped farmers fetch and drive cattle as well as sheep and ponies from the pastures. Although mostly used on the farms, they would accompany drovers on short journeys when driving cattle to the local markets and slaughterhouses. They were also used at the docks, where they were experts at helping drovers unload cattle.

Until the early 1930's both types of Corgi were just known as "Welsh Corgis". In 1934 the British Kennel Club recognised them as two breeds. In the same year separate Challenge Certificates were awarded for the first time at the Kennel Club show.

The Cardigan, considered to be the older of the two breeds, is larger and heavier than the Pembroke. He also differs from his cousin in the fact that he has a tail. This tail has the appearance of a fox's brush and should be carried low so that it nearly touches the ground.

The Cardigan has never been as popular as the Pembroke but nevertheless the breed is a delight to own and makes a loyal companion.

Pembrokes are compact, sturdy, tailless dogs which are tough and have boundless energy. The Pembroke is an extrovert with an inquisitive mind. It was once said of the breed that they would never disappear for hours hunting, just in case they missed something which was going on at home!

Both breeds are versatile and their skills include ratting, rabbiting, sentry and personal guard duty.

Some Pembrokes, remarkably considering their size, are also useful gundogs. They will willingly retrieve from land and water, seldom losing any birds.

Corgis are independent, like all Spitz breeds, but they are also obedient little dogs that are very protective of their families. They make ideal pets and are usually excellent with a growing family as, like young children, they are always on the go.

Rosamund Walters.

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