Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis are well-known, fluffy-bottomed dogs that were made famous by Queen Elizabeth II (who owned 30 of the dogs during her reign). They have an instantly recognizable silhouette, bat ears, furry behinds, and short legs—but what about their coats?
Many people think of Pembroke’s sandy tan and white coloring when they think of “Corgi.” However, both the Pembroke and the cardigan varieties of corgi have many beautiful coat variations that all sit wonderfully on their frames. In this article, we list all 12 possible coat colors a corgi can have, as well as some that are very unusual and hardly seen.
We’ve grouped these entries into colors seen in Pembroke corgis and cardigan corgis, so you know which to look out for!
Pembroke Corgi Colors
The red-orange coat of the red Pembroke is dominant throughout its body. Red corgis have no apparent black on their body and often have white faces and undercarriages. “Self” red corgis have no white on their bodies at all. Those with white are sometimes called red and white, although white is allowed in the “red” category within show rings. You will seldom see a full red corgi, as they all seem to have white markings on their bodies.
2. Red-Headed Tricolor
The red-headed tricolor corgi has the same orangy red as the full-red corgi but with large amounts of black all over its body. As the name suggests, the red-headed tricolor will have a red mask on its face, with red, white, and black areas of fur blending into each other. They will likely have black on their back, a white undercarriage, and red patches throughout, but they must have a red face to be classed as a red-headed tricolor.
3. Black-headed Tricolor
Like the red-headed tricolor, the black-headed tricolor will feature all three colors in its coat but will be predominantly black. This is usually expressed as a black mask over the eyes and extending down the back, sometimes with a gap for a large band of white around the neck. Flashes of red are evident across the body but separate and distinct on the coat as opposed to the gradual blending seen in the red-headed tri. There is usually no red on the face at all.
The sable coloring is less of a color and more of a pattern. It’s a color going from darker to lighter, such as a dark red going to a much lighter red (such as fawn). This shows in the Pembroke as a brown or red coat that gets considerably lighter at the tip of the fur and may include other colors, such as black running through the coat. Sometimes, black is concentrated in bands around the neck or over the forehead.
5. Sable and White
Sable and white is simply the inclusion of patches of white on a sable coat. These often show as a white steak covering the muzzle and jaw, along the undercarriage, and up the tail.
6. Fawn and White
Fawn is a very light version of the red coloring. Fawn and white corgis can look almost creamy as they often have large bands of white around their necks and along their undercarriage. Paired with the sparkling light fawn color, these dogs are sometimes mistaken for pure-white dogs, but corgis do not come in pure white unless they have albinism.
Cardigan Corgi Colors
1. Black and White
While finding a true black-and-white cardigan corgi can be difficult, it’s not impossible. These dogs have large patches of black and white across their bodies, often with a white streak going from their chest to the center of their heads. In addition, black eye and ear patches are a common sight in these panda-like pups.
2. Blue Merle
Blue merle is a gorgeous coat color and pattern only available in the cardigan corgi. The blue merle color is caused by a gene that dilutes the black color in a corgi’s coat, causing it to express as a muted blue, mottled with black patches. This extraordinary color is often paired with blue eyes, giving this dog an even more striking appearance.
Brindle corgis sport an interesting coat that’s striped and wild. This tiger-like pattern is often shown as a mask over the ears and eyes of the corgi, with a white patch separating the head from the back. Brindle is a pattern of black stripes and marks over the colored base and is one of the more common cardigan corgi colors. The brindle portions can be lighter or darker, sometimes looking almost black.
4. Red Merle
Red merle is very similar to the blue merle corgi coloring, except instead of the gene affecting black portions, it affects the red, turning them liver-colored. Red merle corgis will also have lighter nose leather (the color of the nose skin) and rims of the eyes, which will be pink. The eyes are a beautiful amber color, affected by the same dilution gene.
5. Blue Merle and Tan
The blue merle and tan corgi has the same blue merle markings as a blue merle but with beautiful tan patches on their coats. Blue merle and tan corgis are allowed in the AKC’s (American Kennel Club) breed standard, but they also allow tan markings and spots within this group. The blue merle and tan is also seen with white flashes on its coat which the AKC also allows.
6. Black and Tan
The black and tan corgi shares the same coloring as a lot of dogs. It’s similar to the black and tan found in terriers, but the black and tan corgi often has tan patches on their cheeks or over their eyes, with black ears and a white mouth. The black and white patches are dominant on their coats, and the tan markings are distinct and separate.
The Markings That Corgis Can Have
The cardigan and Pembroke corgis have different marks attributed to each breed:
Rare or Unofficial Colors of Corgi
There are a few seldom-seen colors of corgis, and some, like the double merle or albino, cause health problems that are severe and debilitating. Others are just rare!
Can Corgis be Longhaired?
Yes! Longhaired corgis are a natural mutation of the gene that determines the length of hair. They’re not allowed to be shown but are highly sought after.
Corgis have some colors that are allowed to be shown professionally and are in the breed standard, and some that are simply colors that can naturally occur in the coat. Pembroke corgis have fewer variations in color than cardigans, and the coveted blue merle coat is only found in the cardigan variety. Be wary if you see a merle Pembroke for sale since they are not purebred and are most likely a cross between a Pembroke and a cardigan corgi.
Featured Image Credit: lucioliu, Pixabay