Like that of most dog breeds, the corgi's origin is difficult to trace and authenticate. There is mention in an 11th centuryanuscript of a Welsh cattle dog, though there is no evidence about whether this is the corgi or an ancestor.
Corgis are herding dogs and perform their duties by nipping at the heels; the dog's low stature allows it to avoid being kicked in the process. As herding dogs, corgis work livestock differently than other breeds. Instead of gathering the cattle the way a Collie would, by running around the livestock, corgis drive the herd forward by nipping at their heels and working them from behind in semicircles. Seldom giving ground, if an animal should turn and charge, the corgi will bite its nose, causing it to turn and rejoin the herd. Although they specialize in herding cattle, corgis are also used to herd sheep and Welsh ponies. They are also one of the few breeds able to herd geese.
Welsh corgis also guarded children and were beloved pets. Loyal, alert, fun-loving, even-tempered and confident, corgis have all the qualities of a good family dog.
Welsh folklore says the corgi is the preferred mount of fairy warriors. There is also a folk legend that says corgis were a gift from the woodland fairies, and that the breed's markings were left on its coat by fairy harnesses and saddles. Corgis often have a marking, a white stripe, that runs from the nose, through the eyes, and up into the forehead, this marking is referred to as their blaze.
There are two breeds of Welsh corgis, the Cardigan and the Pembroke, each named for the counties in Wales where they originated. The only difference to those unfamiliar with the breed often appears to be that the Cardigan Welsh corgi has a tail, while the Pembroke does not. However, closer examination of the two breeds reveals differences in bone structure, body length, and overall size that indicate separate origins.
The Cardigan is one of the oldest breeds of dog in Britain and has been employed for centuries by Welsh farmers to herd cattle, herding the owner's livestock to grazing areas and driving the neighbor's cattle out of gardens and open pastures. In early settlements these dogs were prized family members, helping hunt game and guarding children Cardigans are the larger of the two breeds, with large rounded ears and a foxy, flowing tail of moderate length set in line with the body. Though it is allowed more colors than the Pembroke, white should not predominate the coat. The Cardigan is a double-coated dog where the outer coat is dense, slightly harsh in texture, and of medium length. The dog's undercoat is short, soft, and thick. The breed stands about 12 inches (30 cm) at the shoulder and weighs about 30 pounds (14 kg). The Cardigan is sturdy, tough, mobile, alert, active, intelligent, steady, and neither shy nor aggressive.