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Do Corgis Have Tails? Breed Facts & Characteristics

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on July 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

pembroke welsh corgi dog butt outdoors

Do Corgis Have Tails? Breed Facts & Characteristics

Hold onto your hats because we’re about to dive deep into the world of Corgi tails. Most people know and love these short-legged, poofy pups, but have you ever wondered why some of them have a nub while others have a wag-worthy tail?

All Corgis do have tails; however, some are docked for aesthetic purposes. Docking is a process in which the tail of a puppy is removed shortly after birth to make them look more cosmetically pleasing. That said, not all Corgis will have their tails docked, as this ultimately depends on the owner. Let us break it down for you.

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The Situation at Birth

Before you decide to live with a Corgi, you should know that there are two types of furry monsters to choose from: the Cardigan and the Pembroke. The Cardigan Corgis are the original breed, and some people say Pembroke Corgis were created from Cardigans. All Corgis are born with tails, but in some cases, they are docked (surgically removed) for various reasons—mostly because of aesthetic and historical reasons.

So, what the heck is up with that? A debate is raging, with some arguing that docking is cruel and unnecessary, while others argue that it’s a tradition that should be upheld. Specifically, show-quality Pembroke Corgis generally have their tails docked as per breed standards, while pet-quality ones may or may not be, depending on whether the breeder chooses to dock them before sale. But one thing’s for sure: Whether they have a tail or not, Corgis will always be the ultimate canine companion.

Corgi Splooting
Image By: danielleshea, Pixabay

So, Which One Has a Long Tail?

If you see a Corgi with a proud, fluffy, substantial tail, then chances are you’re looking at a Cardigan. Here’s the situation: Cardigan Corgis usually maintain their tails, but Pembroke Corgis often have them cut off. Both breeds are naturally supposed to have tails, and they are born with them. Only Pembroke Corgis have them docked—or shortened via amputation—at around 3 days old.

pembroke and cardigan corgis in a field of flowers
Image By: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

The Practice of Tail Docking

The controversial practice of tail docking is due to American Kennel Club (AKC) standards. Originally, Corgi pups were bred as cattle herding dogs. Back in the day, farmers thought it best that Corgis didn’t have their tails getting in the way—there was a risk of the dogs getting pinned down under thundering cattle hooves. Accordingly, the tradition of docking their tails as puppies was born. But nobody is really using a Corgi to round up cattle these days!

Docking tails is all about a look. But is this practice humane? Although some American breeders maintain that “puppies don’t feel pain at 3 days old,” but in the United Kingdom and Europe, they recognize this as being untrue, and it’s illegal to dock Corgi tails there. So, it’s clear the debate is legit—and raging on.

Pain Is Pain

This claim that Corgis don’t feel pain is false, according to the experts at the American Veterinary Medical Association. Getting your Corgi’s tail docked is not just a little bit of pain for them; it can be life-altering. And honestly, it’s hard to even measure just how much suffering we’re talking about here.

But here’s the real kicker: If you’re getting this done to your pup when they’re super young, it can affect their nervous system in a major way, and that can lead to all sorts of problems down the road when it comes to how they feel and perceive pain in later life. This means it might be safer to avoid docking your Corgi’s tail.

Corgi dog on the green the grass on the leash barks
Image By: Bachkova Natalia, Shutterstock

It’s Showtime!

What does the AKC standard have to say about the Pembroke’s tail in the breed standard? They don’t pull their punches. The AKC often encourages owners to cut the tail without “indenting.” This means cutting off the tail as aggressively as possible without making it shorter than the protrusion of the dog’s hind legs. Anything over 2 inches in a fully grown dog is considered a no-go—aesthetically speaking.

The reason? They say a longer tail messes up the overall shape of the dog’s back. So, this has nothing to do with function and everything to do with form.


To sum up, all Corgis have tails. However, because many Corgis have their tails docked, it seems like they are all butt and no tail. While both Cardigans and Pembrokes are born with tails and supposed to live out their lives with tails, there’s a lot of debate over whether docking Pembroke Corgis’ tails is humane or not. Some breeders still argue that it causes the pup no pain, despite vets telling them differently.

But if you’re just looking for a cute little furball to make your forever BFF, you can totally skip the docking surgery and the unnecessary puppy pain.

Featured Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock

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