Although the corgi wasn’t a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club until the mid-1930s, the short-legged dogs have been around since before the 1100s. Welsh corgies are two distinct breeds, both of which make easily trained and affectionate family pets. The Pembroke Welsh corgi is the smaller of the two breeds and is the 22nd most popular dog in the United States, according to the AKC. While further down the list, the larger Cardigan Welsh corgi is also among AKC’s 100 most popular breeds.
Corgis belong to the spitz group of dogs and are easily recognized by a foxlike head with pointed muzzle and ears. A transcendent of the Scandinavian lundehund, the corgi dates back to times when Welsh islanders lived on waterfowl and seabird eggs. The agile dogs scoured cliff faces for eggs and live birds, and were later used to herd large flocks of geese. By the 1100s, the dog became known as a corgi, meaning dwarf dog, and herded cattle and sheep. The breed separated into two distinct lines by the 1930s based on breeder preferences.
Corgis have long, thick bodies set atop short but sturdy legs. While both corgi breeds have a foxlike head, the dog’s differ in appearance in their tails. Cardigan Welsh corgis have a foxlike brush tail while the Pembroke variety has a docked tail less than 2 inches long. The Cardigans are also a little larger, weighing up to 38 pounds compared to a Pembroke’s average 27 pounds. The Cardigan Welsh corgi comes in 11 different colors, including merle, which is often accompanied by blue eyes. The Pembroke Welsh corgi has dark brown eyes and comes in seven solid colors with white markings on the legs and belly.
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