Pembroke Welsh Corgis come in four main colors which are accepted as breed standard by the American Kennel Club: Black-headed tri, red-headed tri, red and white, and sable. There is a rare fifth color that is a result of a recessive gene and causes the corgi coat to be a blue-grey color. Bluies (Blueys), as these corgis are often called, are becoming increasingly popular due to their rarity and unique coloring.
Blue Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a unique coloring due to a recessive gene that causes their coat to have a dilute coloring. Bluies will have a predominantly blue-grey coat along with a little red or black and the typical white markings of the other colors.
The blue colored coat in Pembroke Welsh Corgis is caused by the recessive “d-gene” known as the D Locus gene. All colors of corgis (tri, red, or sable) can carry the recessive D Locus gene. The dominate D-gene has no effect on coloring. Any dog with the (DD) locus will not be affected. Dogs with the (Dd) locus are carriers of the dilute gene, but remain unaffected. If a corgi has two recessive d-genes (dd), it will have a diluted blue or steel-grey color.
Please do not confuse blue Pembroke Welsh Corgis (bluies/blueys) with blue merle Cardigan Welsh Corgis. See below for information on the misconception of blue merle Pembroke corgis.
BLACK HEADED TRI:
Black headed tri corgis, often shorted to BHT, are black, tan, and white. These corgis have black on the top of their head, ears, and around the eyes. The black around their face gives them a “raccoon” appearance. They will have tan outlining their face, flank, and underbelly. A black-headed tri will also have white markings, giving them the tri-colored look.
RED HEADED TRI:
Red headed tri corgis may also be referred to as a saddle back. This is because of the prominent black along the top of their back. A red-headed tri may look very similar to a black-headed tri when young. However, at maturity, a red-headed tri will have red on the top of their head and around their ears and eyes. While there may be a little black on the head, the predominant color will be red. Red headed tri corgis will also have white markings.
RED & WHITE:
Red and white corgis have the simplest coloring but will come in a variety of shades of red. As puppies, these corgis may look like a sable, but the black will eventually fade, leaving a red and white coat. Corgis that are referred to as “fawn-colored” are technically still considered red corgis, they are just a very pale shade of red.
Sable corgis will also vary from light to dark. They will have black over the back, withers, and tail. The amount of black may vary between sables from just a light amount of black to almost looking completely black from a distance. Sables have a distinctive “widow’s peak,” which is a black portion that arches over the eyes and points down towards the nose.
Blue merle corgis are often confused with blue corgis. However they are distinctly different in not only coloring but also genetics.
Blue merle is a possible color in Cardigan Welsh Corgis. Blue merle Cardigan corgis have a mottled blue-grey look. This is different from blue Pembroke corgis, which have a more solid colored blue-grey coat. The only way for a Pembroke to be blue merle is to be cross bred with a Cardigan. Thus, any blue merle Pembroke is not actually a full Pembroke Welsh Corgi and may also be susceptible to health issues resulting from cross-breeding.
The blue merle color comes from the M Locus gene, which is one of four modifying genes present in Cardigan Welsh Corgis. Pembroke Welsh Corgis do not have this modifier gene. Unlike the D Locus gene, the M Locus gene is dominant, meaning if a corgi has the (Mm) gene it will be affected and will have the merle coloring. Most corgis have the (mm) gene and will not be affected. If a dog has the (MM) gene, they are known as a homozygous merle, which results in an almost completely white coat as well as a proneness to deafness. Due to other health complications, homozygous merles are highly discouraged.