While they have distinct histories, they were also freely interbred til about 70 years ago, from my understanding. I have seen several Cardigans that have a distinct Pemmie look to them with a foxier face and pointier ears.
"The Cardigan's original work was to go before his master's cattle herd and clear the way by chasing off potential predators as well as trespassing herds, providing an area for grazing. Later, the Cardi began to act as a herder, working behind the master's cattle and as a "drover", driving cattle from the Welsh farms to the English markets. It is at this time the original Corgi may have been crossed with local sheepdogs to obtain a more versatile working dog. The faithful Corgi was put to good use in his heyday, acting as a cattle dog, family guardian and pet, as well as vermin exterminator.
During the Viking invasion of 1,000 years ago, and subsequent influx of Flemish weavers, a Spitz-type of dog was introduced into some areas of Wales. These Spitz were crossed with the original Corgi to produce what is known today as the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Those Corgis who resided in areas untouched by such influences, however, retained their basic original blood and were the descendents of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
In the late 1800's the beginnings of what we know today as dog shows began to take shape. At this period of time, many breeds' usefulness in their historical roles began to wane with the advent of machines. If not for dog shows, many of these breeds would have died out. The Corgi was slow to take the public's fancy. Near the turn of the century, classes were held at some livestock shows for "heelers" or "curs" but it was not until the 1920's that the term "Corgi" was used regularly and any appreciable breed history can be documented.
Beginning in 1925, the Corgi was exhibited under Kennel Club (Great Britain) jurisdiction. Unfortunately, the Kennel Club did not consider Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis as two different breeds and registered them as a single breed. This allowed for the two breeds to be crossed. At this time there was considerable strife for the fanciers of both breeds as judges were known to either prefer one breed or the other, causing considerable dissatisfaction at the dog shows. Finally, the Kennel Club corrected the error and separated the two breeds in 1934. "
After the split, my understanding is breeders intentionally accentuated certain differences.
That is interesting. I read differently. I tried to find the online article but I cannot. I wonder if it was BS. You never know with the internet, people can post anything and call it fact. The one I read stated that there was inter breeding among the two in the opening years in the AKC, but it also said that many breeders stuck to their preference of keeping the breeds seperate and not mixing, so the amount of inter breeding was small in most cases.
Now I wish I could find that web site. Now I wanna buy that book on the history of the AKC .... I might just have to drop the $40 now.
I remember reading that thing about them in one group in shows but judges having preferences so it wasn't fair so they finally decided to officially name them two different breeds but I don't remember where I read that.
As far as history is concerned I've read about a million different version of how pembrokes came about, the only one I can remember is that it could possibly have been created from a cardigan and swedish vallhund cross.
At one point they were considered the same breed in the AKC, it was a long time ago, but there was a mixing.
Also less ethical breeders will mix dogs together with no concern for blood lines, health, or pedigree and call them pure bred dogs. You see it a lot in puppy mills. They are not great examples of the breed, often are sick, and they are still required to breed for a profit. I have seen pictures of puppy mills and the dogs they turn out. It is really sad.
That is not to say there is not the accidental breeding of two similar breeds. I think it would just be a corgi, or a corgi mutt. I don't think mixing a cardi and a pem would be obvious, they would probably just look like a card anyway. But in short, yes people do sometimes mix similar breeds together. Hopefully they are choosing healthy dogs that do not have any major congenital defects.
As mentioned, the two were considered one breed for a long time and were interbred. When the separation of Cardigan and Pembroke first came about, it was still the same "mix" of the two Corgis and all they were doing was docking some of the tails and calling them Pembrokes. We now see real separation of the individual breeds however with so much interbreeding in the past I think both sides still have a little of the other in them. I too have seen a Cardi with a more Pembroke looking face or a Pem with more Cardi looking front legs. I saw a post by a breeder who had a Pembroke litter and most were sable and white then there was a random blue merle; not a bleuie Pem, but an actual blue merle. Not knowing much about the Sire's history, it was thought that perhaps there was Cardigan in his line which was coming through in this litter.