Pembrokes, Cardigans and mixed Corgis

Purebreds vs mixed breed dogs

The term "Corgi"

The term Corgi is often misleading and confusing. This term is often used with both purebred Pembrokes, Cardigans and mix-Corgis to denote a breed.  In reality, there are only two purebred “Corgi” breeds, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.  While other dogs may have some Corgi characteristics, they are not purebreds but instead mixes.  

And this is only the beginning to the confusion.  The Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi are 2 distinct breeds where mixed dogs such as “American Corgis”, “Cowboy Corgis”, “Auggies” and “Dorgis” are simply mixes of either a Pembroke or Cardigan and another breed and may be referred to designer dogs or hybrids.  They are not purebred dogs. 

What is a breed?

A breed is a group of dogs with defined characteristics, both physical & behavioral attributes, that when mated will produce the same type.  

It is estimated that it takes 30-50 years to actually create a new breed of dog that will breed true, meaning that the offspring will repeatably have the same characteristics as the parents.

Designer or hybrid dogs

Many “Corgis” that you see for sale are not actually purebreds but actually designer dogs or hybrids. 
These include the 

  • American Corgi (cross between a Pembroke and Cardigan)
  • Cowboy Corgi (cross between a blue or red healer and a Pembroke or Cardigan)
  • Auggie (cross between an Australian Shepherd & Pembroke)
  • Dorgis (cross between a Daschund & Pembroke)

and I am sure there are many more

Purebred vs mixed breed Corgis

It is very easy to be deceived by breeders who may or may not intentionally try to mislead buyers.  I fell into this trap myself with the first 2 dogs that I purchased as pets.  When looking for a purebred, here are some things to look for:

  • Ask if the dog is AKC registered.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the breed registry for ALL purebred dogs in the United States while the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) is the breed registry for purebred dogs in Canada.  All purebred dogs in the U.S. will be registered with AKC.
  • With the rise in popularity of “designer breeds,” like doodles which are not purebreds but a cross between 2 breeds, we have seen multiple “Breed Registries” pop up.  These organizations like APRI (americas pet registry inc), CKC (continental kennel club) and numerous others will provide a registration paper on mix bred dogs.  Unlike AKC these organizations do not require documentation or a pedigree nor DNA to ensure that the dog is a purebred. 
  • Both parents must be registered with AKC in order for a puppy to be registered with AKC.  AKC also requires that breeders submit DNA on frequently used sires and imported dogs to prevent fraud.  They do offer a PAL program to allow purebred dogs without registration papers to participate in AKC events.  
  • Sometimes you will see a merle colored puppy is advertised as being 99.9% or 100% Pembroke by genetic testing.  These dogs may originate from a cross performed many generations ago and still show the merle color but these dogs are NOT purebred Pembrokes.  There is no such thing as purebred merle Pembrokes!


    If you are looking for a purebred, do your research on colors and breed characteristics of the breed, find a reputable breeder and ask questions.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Recognized as a breed in the U.S. by AKC in 1934
  • Only come in these colors: red, sable, fawn, red & black headed tri-color
  • Ears are smaller & less rounded than that of Cardigans
  • Breed standard in the U.S. is a docked tail or natural bob tail
  • Smaller and shorter bodied than Cardigans
  • For more information visit the PWCCA (Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Recognized as a breed in the U.S. by AKC in 1935
  • Colors include: red, sable, brindle, black with tan or brindle points and blue merle with or without tan or brindle points
  • Ears are larger & more rounded than that of Pembrokes
  • Have a tail
  • Are larger and longer bodied than Pembrokes
  • For more information visit the CWCCA (Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America)

Mixed Corgis

  • Not recognized as a breed because they are not pure
  • Often advertised as American Corgi (cross between a Pembroke and Cardigan), Cowboy Corgi (cross between a blue or red healer and a Pembroke )or Auggie (cross between an Australian Shepherd & Pembroke)
  • There are NO PUREBRED MERLE Pembrokes.  If you see one, there is a cross somewhere in the linage.
AKC Bred with Heart Banner for Harman Corgis
Good Dog
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