30 Fascinating Facts About Corgis
There is something about that long nose and big, pricked ears sitting on top of a squat body that just makes our hearts melt. Corgis have a long history of being loved by people the world over — including the rich and very famous. After all, Queen Elizabeth II was notorious for owning corgis throughout her life.
Whether you own one or are just a fan, here are 30 fun facts about corgis that everyone will enjoy.
The Queen of England Used to Breed Corgis
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a well-known animal lover, with a particular soft spot for Corgis. She is reported as once saying, “My corgis are my family.”
She even bred them for a time. Read on to see what makes them such a special breed.
There Are Two Breeds of Corgi Recognized by the American Kennel Club
There are actually two breeds of corgis that are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as separate breeds — the Pembroke Welsh corgi and the Cardigan Welsh corgi.
The two breeds differ in coat colors, looks and some say personality.
Both Types of Corgis Come from Wales
Although different breeds, both types of Corgis have the word “Welsh” in their breed name to signify their country of origin, Wales.
Cardigans Are From Cardiganshire
While the Welsh in their name tells you the country, the first part of the breed’s name tells you what part of Wales the breed originated from.
So, Cardigan Welsh corgis are from Cardiganshire in southwest Wales.
And Pembrokes Are From Pembrokeshire
Likewise, Pembroke Welsh corgis hail from the flatter part of southern Wales, Pembrokeshire. Interestingly, the breeds do not share a common ancestor, as both were developed separately in different parts of the country, according to the AKC.
A young Queen Elizabeth is seen here holding one of her earliest Pembrokeshire corgis.
Cardigan Corgis Are One of the Oldest Dog Breeds in Britain
Cardigan Welsh corgis have been around for over 2,000 years, making them one of the oldest breeds in the British Isles.
It’s believed they are related to the same dogs that created the dachshund.
Pembroke Corgis Are Much Younger
The Pembroke corgi, on the other hand, has only been around since 1,000 A.D. and is believed to be a descendant of Nordic spitz breeds.
Their Names Weren’t Recognized by the American Kennel Club Until the 21st Century
Although the breeds are quite old and both have been recognized breeds by the AKC since the 1930s, the AKC did not recognize their official names of Cardigan Welsh corgi and Pembroke Welsh corgi until 2006.
What Does Corgi Mean?
As you may have suspected, it’s believed corgi is a Welsh word, derived from two words meaning “dwarf dog.”
You can see where the word came from, given their short legs!
Is the Plural Really Corgis?
So, how do you pluralize a Welsh word? According to a Penn State Linguist, the plural should be corgwn or corgïaid in Welsh.
Most English speakers just say corgis, though.
An Abnormality Causes the Short Legs in Both Breeds
Both breeds have short legs, similar to a dachshund (though Pembrokes have no shared blood with dachshunds). This commonality is actually caused by a genetic mutation called achondroplasia.
When an animal has this mutation, their bones do not grow to normal size creating a condition known as dwarfism. Both Corgi breeds (along with dachshunds) were selectively bred to have this mutation, thus creating the short legs.
Corgis Are Herding Dogs
You may think these cute, short-legged dogs are not good for much other than a lap warmer, but they both are actually confident and energetic herding breeds.
Both were bred to herd cattle and protect the farm.
The Cardigan Welsh Gets to Keep Their Tail in America
One of the biggest differences between the two breeds in America is that the AKC standard allows the Cardigan to keep their tail, which is long and sweeping.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Does Not
Conversely, the AKC does not allow the Pembroke Welsh corgi to have a tail. If you wish to show in conformation, the standard states the tail needs to be docked to no more than 2-inches long.
There are rare instances of Pembrokes being born with a docked tail, but most are docked by a veterinarian.
The Pembroke Is More Popular Than the Cardigan
The Pembroke Welsh corgi is more popular in America than the Cardigan.
It’s ranked 13th among registered dogs, while the Cardigan is 68th.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Comes in 5 Colors
Cardigan Welsh corgis come in many colors, including red and white, sable and white, brindle and white, black and white, and the very popular blue merle and white.
The Pembroke Comes in Only 4 Colors
The Pembroke tends to be less flashy when it comes to coloration, having no merle genes. Pembrokes can be red, sable, black and tan and fawn.
They will have white marking with any of these colors.
They Are Heelers
Like the Australian cattle dog, or “blue heeler,” corgis move livestock by nipping at their legs, making them heelers as well.
The American Corgi Is Not a Purebred Dog
Gaining in popularity is the American corgi, although it is not recognized by the AKC or any other registration. That’s because technically it’s a mix-breed dog.
Breeders mix a Pembroke and a Cardigan together to get a more colorful dog with the traits of the more popular Pembroke.
Sutter Brown, First Dog of California, Was a Corgi
Former California Governor Jerry Brown also loves Corgis. He had a Pembroke Welsh named Sutter, who had his own Facebook page with more than 18,000 fans.
His image was often used on important documents, including tax proposals. He passed away in 2016.
Pembroke Corgi Butts Are Famous
There is just something about a Pembroke corgi butt that has become a massive pop-culture trend. It might be because they tend to look a bit like a heart. Or maybe it’s just because it’s floofy and cute with tiny paws sticking out.
Regardless, you can find corgi butts on just about everything, from stickers to slippers.
These Dogs Are Enchanted
Owners of this breed would whole-heartedly agree with this old British legend that says corgis are enchanted.
The belief was that these short-legged canines were the faithful steeds of the fairy folk.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Is Listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the U.K.
While corgis are quite popular in the U.S., in the U.K., the Cardigans are actually on the “vulnerable” list, meaning less than 300 purebred puppies were registered annually.
In 2020, just 132 were registered.
Corgis Have a Double Coat
Like many breeds, both the Pembroke and the Cardigan have a double coat, which helps with weather protection in the winter.
It’s then shed in the spring to stay cool in the summer.
A Corgi Was the Reason for Amazon’s Dog-Friendly Culture
Amazon is known for being a dog-friendly workplace. And that’s all thanks to Rufus, a Pembroke Welsh corgi that came to “work” at Amazon in 1996 with his owners Eric and Susan Benson.
It was his wonderful … err … work habits that paved the way for other employees to bring their dogs to work. Rufus even helped launch Amazon sites on his workdays!
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Is Slightly Larger in Size
The Cardigan can be a bit taller than the Pembroke, getting up to 12.5-inches tall.
They are also usually a bit heavier, too, weighing as much as 38 pounds for a male, whereas the Pembroke is up to 30 pounds for a male.
Corgis Were Interbred for a Time
Before they were recognized as separate breeds by The Kennel Club in the U.K. in 1943, they were frequently interbred during the 1930s.
There Is a Special Word for a Female Corgi
Though it may not be widely known, in Welsh the correct word for a female corgi would be corgast or coriast.
The generic feminine end would be corgïes, according to Elizabeth Pyatt, a Penn State linguist.
Corgis Need Mental Stimulation and Exercise
An active herding breed, both Pembrokes and Cardigans do best when they have mental stimulation.
They excel at dog sports like agility, obedience and, of course, herding.
Corgis Are Talkers
Like most heelers, Pembrokes and Cardigans like to use their voice — a lot.
Often combining nips with barks to get cattle to move, they are not afraid to use their voice to tell you someone is coming, that they are happy to see you or to demand that you, “Play with me!”