Everyone knows corgis, those cute dogs with the little legs that the late Queen Elizabeth breed. They’re Instagram famous! But even the most avid dog lovers might not know these four facts about this particular breed of fuzzy friend.
- Corgis were bred to herd cattle.
That’s right, cattle. These small dogs originated in Wales around the 10th century — in fact, the word corgi probably stems from the Welsh words for “dwarf” and “dog.” Nowadays, they’re more often seen herding children, but they’ve retained the characteristic ankle nip that once made them lords over the cattle of the rolling Welsh highlands. Plus, they’re still known to herd at times — in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Herding competitions, for example.
- According to Welsh mythology, corgis served as fairy warhorses.
You probably weren’t expecting this one! According to Welsh folklore, corgis had a few purposes other than herding cattle. The most distinctive, though, is this one. Imagine a fairy, balanced between those giant ears. (I’m thinking of a very tiny fairy.) Or sitting astride that back while those little legs eat dirt. Not only did corgis serve as fairy warhorses, but they also drew fairy carts and herded fairy cattle.
- There are two separate corgi breeds.
The AKC officially recognizes two separate breeds of corgi, the Cardigan Welsh corgi and the Pembroke Welsh corgi. What are the differences between these two breeds? For one, the Cardigan keeps its tail. (See fact #4 below!) Second, and perhaps more importantly, they do not share a common ancestor, coming from different regions of Wales. And Cardigans are said to be quieter than the boisterous, opinionated Pembrokes. But that’s anecdotal!
- Corgis do have tails. (At least some of them.)
This one isn’t for the squeamish — it’s got a bit of an ick factor. Although Cardigan Welsh corgis keep their tails, Welsh Pembroke corgis are commonly seen without them, leading some to believe that they are born tailless. Alas, it is not so. Some Welsh Pembroke corgis are born with tails that are docked shortly after birth, leading us to wonder if they suffer from “missing tail syndrome” all their lives. You can still see their little tail nubs wiggle when they wag their imaginary tails, after all.
Which of these facts about the corgi surprised you the most? Are you considering adopting one of these adorable creatures now? One thing’s for sure — they’re unique little beasts, with a personality all their own. For more information (and more fun facts), check out akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/fun-facts-about-the-pembroke-welsh-corgi/. For more differences between the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh corgi breeds, take a look at akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/cardigan-welsh-corgi-pembroke-welsh-corgi/.
Information sourced from the American Kennel Club (AKC) website.