When wondering how to breed corgis, a dog breeder must understand the differences between the two Corgi breeds: Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Cardigan Welsh Corgis. Getting involved with breeding Corgis require a comprehensive knowledge of the health issues commonly found in the breed, but also the best breeding practices.
There is no better Corgi type; it is a matter of personal preferences and which appearance do you prefer. The Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest dog breeds ever and being the Royal Dog in the United Kingdom is helping its rise in popularity. However, only one of both types is growing, the other type is stagnating at best.
Background of Corgi Breeding
Welsh Corgis are considered the oldest breed in the British Isles. Corgis can be traced back to as far as 3000 BC. These dogs more than likely have Norse ancestry. Dogs of a similar type still appear in the Scandinavian countries in the form of the current breed, the Vallhund (also called Swedish cow dog).
The name corgi can be translated from the Welsh as “dwarf dog” but there is some dispute about the name’s origin Some historians and linguists maintain that the name derives from the English word for the breed as a “cur dog”. A cur dog is a reference to the kind of work the dog performed as a heeler or herder. Cur was not derisive of the dog. Until modern times the breed worked as dogs that herded and prodded cattle along by nipping and barking at their hooves. Their short stature made it more likely that an angry cow kick would miss the working dog.
In Wales, the breed was bred in neighboring counties of Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire. The dog in Pembrokeshire has a later ancestry than its neighboring cousin. Pembroke Welsh Corgis, as they are now known, were the progeny of dogs brought to Wales by Flemish weavers in the 10th century. Others point to a more Germanic influence with the Teckel or Dachshund being a significant ancestor. A majority will point to a bloodline with a Spitz family ancestry.
Welsh Corgis in Wales folklore were the gift from the magical fairies. These mystical creatures used the dogs to pull their coaches, and to ride upon. The markings of the mythical saddle and harness appear as markings on the dog’s back and shoulders.
One Breed, or Two?
Whatever their original origin, the types of Welsh Corgi were lumped together as one breed until the 20th century. The first Welsh Corgi clubs showed Pembroke and Cardigan dogs as a single breed. The first club in Wales in 1925 drafted a breed standard that included both types. Because the two types, Pembroke and Cardigan, had enough differences fair judging was not possible. Arguments ensued among breeders and exhibitors when the judges were thought to show bias for one or the other type. These problems were solved when the breed was recognized as two. The Kennel Club recognized the two breeds for the first time in 1934 in the United Kingdom. The American Kennel followed suit and did so in 1934 (Pembroke) and in 1935 (Cardigan).
From the beginning, the number of Pembrokes registered outnumbered the number of Cardigans. In 1934, the Kennel Club registered 240 Pembrokes and only 59 Cardigans. In 2006, the Cardigan was placed on the Kennel Club’s List of Vulnerable Native Breeds. The Kennel Club maintains a list and tries to restore breeds of the UK that fail to register at least 300 dogs in a year. The Cardigan has been on the list since 2006! The more popular Pembroke Welsh Corgi made the list in 2014 but rebounded the next year. In 2016, the Kennel Club registered 218 Cardigans and 393 Pembrokes.
In the United States, the Welsh Corgi breed was not as popular as other breeds. Here as well, the Pembroke has been the most popular of the two. In 1997, there were more than ten times more Pembroke Welsh Corgis registered as there were Cardigan Welsh Corgis. The popularity of the Pembroke Welsh corgi was sustained in part by the admiration of British royalty. In 1933, Queen Elizabeth II as a child was given a Pembroke Welsh Corgi which she named “Dookie”. She has owned and bred them ever since. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has had a reign of more than seventy years as the Dog of the Royal Family.