The Cardigan and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi are similar in many ways. Both are herding dogs, bred to herd cattle. Both are “big dogs in a small package” with long backs and short legs. Each is a very loyal companion and each enjoys being the center of attention. However there is one distinct difference between the two – Cardigan’s tails are long and Pembroke’s tails are short nubs. Why the difference?
Why does the Cardigan have a longer tail and not a shorter one? The difference in Corgi tails is genetic. It is important to know that the Cardigan and the Pembroke were developed about the same time and in the same region, except they were separated by a mountain range. In addition, different people living at the time developed each breed and each dog’s heredity is different. It is thought that Cardigans come from the keeshond, the schipperke, the Pomeranian, and the breed known as the Swedish vallhund. In comparison, the Pembrokes heritage includes the keeshond, the chow chow, the Samoyed, the Finnish spitz, and the Norwegian elkhound.
Simply, because of genetics, some Pembroke Welsh Corgis are born without tails. In keeping in line with their history and to ensure that cattle do not step on the tail while the Corgi is herding, the Pembrokes tail is docked. Docking was standard years ago, but some breeders no longer dock the tail while some canine associations require a docked tail.
So next time you look at a Corgi you will easily be able to tell which one is the Cardigan and which one is the Pembroke Welsh. Just look for a tail!