The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest herding breeds on record. They most likely originated over 3000 years ago and may have been the companions of ancient Celtic tribes.
Though the two Welsh Corgis, the Cardigan and the Pembroke, look so much alike, they actually come from two different breeding lines. The Cardigan most likely originated from the same family as the Dachshund, while the Pembroke originated from a line including Terriers, Schipperkes and Spitz-type dogs.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is an excellent herder, not despite its size but because of its size. It is able to avoid the potentially lethal kicks of cattle when nipping at their heels to herd them.
Cardigan Welsh Corgis have such sensitive hearing that they pick up the faintest of sounds and can easily and quickly distinguish between a new sound and a familiar one. That excellent sense of hearing was developed so the dog could hear the approaching kick of cattle.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has become quite popular, especially in America, while his cousin the Cardigan is not that popular. Indeed, most mentions of Welsh Corgis in the media deal with Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
The Cardigan and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi were only officially recognized as two separate breeds until the 1930s. Until then, some dogs were actually registered under both the Cardigan and the Pembroke "variety."
The instinct to herd is so strongly developed in the Cardigan Welsh Corgi that these little dogs are known to nip at the heels of their family members, trying to herd them.
These dogs would sacrifice their lives to defend their family and many have.
One of the quickest ways to distinguish between the two types of Corgis is the tail. The Pembroke has a stubby tail that wiggles, while the Cardigan has a long, bushy, fox-like tail that is capable of being wagged.
There is some debate as to the origin of the name Corgi. Some believe that it is formed by two words, cor and gi. Cor means to gather and gi means dog. Others claim that the name derives from the ancient Celtic word for dog, while still others believe it derives from the ancient Welsh word meaning tiny dog. The Cardigan was also called the yard-long dog, as they originally measured a Welsh yard, from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail; the Welsh yard is slightly longer than the English yard.
Some experts claim that the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is related to the now extinct turn-spit dog, which also had a long, low body and short legs. This extinct dog's interesting name comes from its interesting job. It was used to turn spits in kitchens.
You should pick up the Cardigan Welsh Corgi differently than other breeds, especially when they are puppies, to avoid harming the dog. Make sure to put one hand under the chest, behind the forelimbs, and support the hindquarters with your other hand. Puppies should also be taught gradually how to go up and down stairs.