When people think of Welsh Corgis, they simply imagine cute little dogs with stumpy legs and stumpy tails; others associate the breed with the Queen of England and other British royalty. While Welsh Corgis are small dogs with stumpy legs, not all have stumpy tails. The general public is often not aware of the fact that there are two distinct breeds of Welsh Corgis, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. The breed that is most popular is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi; this is the breed with the stumpy tail and the lucky spot in the heart of the Queen of England.
Those individuals who are not experts but who see the two Corgi breeds for the first time often wonder what the differences are between the two types of dog. Many note that some Corgis have little stubby tails, while others have long, bushy fox-like tails. That is one of the differences; Pembrokes are the ones with the stubby tails that simply wiggle with excitement, while Corgis have full tails that wag. The stubby tails of most Pembrokes are not docked; the dogs are born that way. The two breeds also show a difference in those large ears; the Corgi has the larger set of ears, and they're a bit more rounded at the tips. Also in terms of physical differences, the Cardigan is larger and somewhat heavier than the Pembroke. The Cardigan's feet are also rounder. The Cardigan seems to be the hardier of the two breeds, with a smaller number of health problems occurring in this breed.
As far as personality, Pembroke's are a bit more sociable than their cousins and they are much less territorial than the Corgis. Indeed, while Corgis deal well with other animals that aren't dogs and with other Corgis, they tend to show some aggression towards other dog breeds. They are a bit more fearless than the Pembrokes and quite a number of Cardigans have sacrificed their lives to protect their family and homes. Cardigans also have a stronger inborn herding instinct than Pembrokes and you'll often see them herding their human family with barks and nips at the heels; these Corgis have a tendency of barking frequently, more so than the Pembroke. Pembrokes are less active than Cardigans; the latter needs to have regular exercise.
These differences are essentially a result of the fact that the two breeds come from different bloodlines. Most experts agree that the Cardigan is the older of the two, most likely imported into Wales around 1200 BC by Celtic tribes. The Pembroke, on the other hand, came from a line of dogs descended from Terriers, Schipperkes and Spitz; while the Cardigans remained somewhat isolated on farms, the Pembrokes gained in popularity due to the fact that they enjoyed the Queen's favor. The two came to resemble each other more and more because of interbreeding, which occurred up until around the 1930s. The American Kennel Club began recognizing the two as separate breeds starting in 1934.