CWC Breed History

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1935. Known as the Corgi with the tail, is the older of the two Corgi breeds, and one of the earliest breeds in the British Isles. The first pair of Cardigans imported to the United States (by Roberta Holden Bole of Boston) arrived in June 1931.

In the beginning, the Corgi came to the high country now known as Cardiganshire with the tall, tawny-headed Celts from Central Europe. The migration of this warrior tribe to Wales is placed, roughly, at about 1200 B.C., which means that the Corgi has been known in the land whence its name comes for more than 3,000 years. The dog was a member of the same family that has produced the Dachshund.

The occupation which made the Corgi worth his weight in gold to those Welsh hillmen came at a much later period, but still hundreds of years ago. This was when the Crown owned practically all land, and the tenant farmers, or crofters, were permitted to fence off only a few acres surrounding their dooryards. The rest was open country, known as common land, on which the crofter was permitted to graze his cattle, one of the chief sources of his meager income. It can be imagined that there was great competition among the crofters to secure as much as possible of this pasture land for their own uses, and the task would have been difficult had it not been for the Corgi. The little dog which had been with this Celtic people so long, and which had come to be of almost human intelligence, was trained to perform a service the opposite of that done by the herding dog. Instead of herding the cattle, the Corgi would nip at their heels and drive them as far afield as desired.

The division of the Crown lands, their subsequent sale to the crofters, and the appearance of fences, removed the usefulness of the Corgi He was still retained as guard and companion by some of the hillmen, but to most he was a luxury they could not afford. In many instances he was succeeded by the red herder and by the brindle herder. The original type of Corgi known in Bronant since time immemorial became very scarce, and it is due only to the greatest care on the part of modern breeders that the old strains have been preserved.

The principal strains of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi of today go back to the old Bronant Corgi with a slight infusion of brindle herder blood. This dog approximates as nearly as possible the dog that enjoyed his greatest popularity in Cardiganshire a century and more ago.

The two Corgi breeds were regarded officially in England as one breed divided into two types until 1934, when they were recognized as separate breeds. Up until that time they had been interbred to some extent, and sorting out the two breeds became a difficult task. In 1934, 250 Pembrokes were registered to only 59 Cardigans. The Cardigan was considered to be less uniform in type at that time and the breed nearly disappeared in its native Wales.

Source: American Kennel Club

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