ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a dog of medium size that originated in Wales and is the result of two separate dog breeds that are known as Welsh corgis. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a bit longer and bigger than the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and is known as one of the oldest herding dogs in the world. Now, besides being adorable they are also very intelligent and loyal.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityHigh
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsAbove Average

Dog Breed Group:Herding Dogs
Height:10 inches to 1 foot tall at the shoulder
Weight:Generally 25 to 38 pounds
Life Span:12 to 15 years

When it comes to adaptability, The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a breed that easily adapts to the lifestyle in apartments, even if they are small. That is because of their relatively small size and short legs that do not require much space and exercising. However, that does not mean that you should not take your Corgi for regular walks or that he should be cramped in a tiny dog house. Corgis may be small with short legs but they still love playing and they are very energetic.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is not a bad choice for a novice owner, but you should be aware of the fact that Corgis can be very stubborn sometimes and that they should be trained and socialized on time otherwise they might turn into very noisy troublemakers. They are not very sensitive dogs in general, but they prefer being in their owners’ company instead of being too much alone. Corgis also prefer cold weather to hot summers due to their thick coats. This dog breed is in general very adaptable but they are not tolerant to just everything.

Speaking of an all around friendliness, Corgis are energetic, cute, friendly, and outgoing dogs. They love their owners and can be great around children as well; it is just that they are very suspicious of strangers and other dogs. As much as they can be affectionate with their family, if they are not trained and socialized as puppies they can become intolerant towards unfamiliar people, dogs and smaller animals. In order to prevent this, socialize your Corgi and teach him to be less suspicious.

When it comes to health and grooming, the good news is that Corgis do not drool much and their size enables them to be easily adapted to apartments or even traveling. Corgis are healthy dogs in general, even though they do suffer from some conditions and diseases common to their breed.

The bad news is that they have a huge potential for weight gaining, which could be a consequence of their physique and short legs that sometimes prevent them from doing long exercises. They are big eaters so their diet should be monitored daily. Speaking of grooming and shedding, they do shed a lot and should be brushed and groomed regularly. It is not too much difficult to groom them.

Speaking of trainability, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is known as a highly intelligent dog which is not surprising considering the fact that they have been amazing herding dogs for centuries. They are also very easy to train with positive reinforcement because they enjoy games, rewards and pleasing their owners.

Additionally, Corgis have a low potential for mouthiness; however, they do have a strong prey drive and wanderlust potential. They also love nipping at people’s heels due to their herding instincts. They should never be kept off leash in unknown urban places or the wild. If not trained properly, Corgis can turn into wild barkers due to their suspicious nature, but they have low tendency to howl.

When it comes to exercise needs, they are moderate. However, Corgis do have high energy levels and they are very playful in general; it is just that their short legs prevent them from exercising intensely and for too long. As an owner you should be aware of your dog’s limits. This does not mean that you should not take your Corgi for regular daily walks and play with him, both physically and mentally.

Main Highlights
  • The Cardigan Welsh Corgis are very vocal dogs and can turn to wild barkers if not trained from an early age.
  • Corgis are very intelligent dogs but can be stubborn and suspicious; therefore sometimes crate training is recommended.
  • Corgis have strong herding instincts which mean that if not trained properly, they might nip at other people’s heels, especially children.
  • The Cardigan Welsh Corgis are huge eaters and can eat all the time. In order to save your pet from being overweight and unhealthy, you should monitor his diets all the time and never overfeed him, even if his puppy eyes beg you.
  • Corgis may be small with short legs and they may not need much space; but they are very energetic and need daily exercises and mental stimulations.
  • Never purchase a dog from unfamiliar and unknowledgeable puppy mills or suspicious pet stores!
  • Corgis are prone to spine conditions; therefore you should be always careful with the way you pick up and handle your dog.
Breed History

It is believed that Welsh Corgis have existed in Wales for over 3,000 years so they are some of the oldest herding dog breeds in the world. Corgis’ primary role was to herd cattle and that is why they were also called the ‘heelers’, which means that they would nip at the heels of cattle and force them to keep moving. Another interesting thing is that ‘corgi’ in the Welsh language means a ‘dwarf dog’ – there is a folk legend saying that it was the fairies who created Corgis and gifted them to people. It is believed that the Cardigan and Pembroke Corgis evolved from different geographical areas, the first originating from Scandinavia while the latter from the German herding breeds, but it is still not known for sure.

Corgis were recorded for the first time in 1925 when they were referred to as the Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire varieties. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi continues to be rarer than the Pembroke and it has been placed on the list of Vulnerable Native Breeds by the Kennel Club. The Cardigans and Pembrokes were officially separated in 1934 by the British Kennel Club. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America was founded in 1935.

Size

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi males are a bit bigger than the females. The males are usually 30 to 38 pounds (14 –17 kg) while the females weigh 25 to 34 pounds (11 – 15 kg). The males are 10.5–12.5 inches (27– 32 cm) tall while the females are 1 0.5–12.5 inches (27–32 cm).

Personality and Character

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a playful, energetic, affectionate, lovely, and a bit stubborn dog breed. He has a great, responsible and adaptable personality that makes him a great candidate for human companionship. If socialized properly he can even get along great with children. However, it has been noted that the Cardigan is a bit less sociable than the Pembroke Corgi. That is maybe due to the fact that he has a longer history being a watchdog so he is more territorial. Corgis are known for being vocal so expect your dog to bark at strangers and unusual sounds.

Even though he is small, a Corgi can be a great guard dog because of his alertness. Corgis can also be great in competitive sports such as sheepdog trials and dog agility because they learn fast and love to please their owners. Being reserved that much, once your Corgi starts trusting you, he will become a life-long friend and companion.

Health and Potential Problems

The Cardigan Welsh Corgis are generally healthy dogs; however there are some conditions that affect them most than the other breeds. You should be aware of them so you can react on time if needed. Some of them are:

  • Hip Dysplasia is an inherited condition which is when the thighbone does not fit properly into the hip joint. It can be diagnosed with X-ray screening. Some signs include lameness and pain. These dogs should not be bred as well. Arthritis might be one of the consequences of hip dysplasia.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a disease that affects the eyes and leads to the gradual deterioration of the retina. Corgis that become affected by it usually become night blind and later on even become completely blind; but they can lead normal lives as long as their surroundings remain the same as before.
  • Intervertebral Disk Disease: is a condition related to the ruptures in a spinal disc. Corgis have long backs so they might be prone to these ruptures. Some of the signs are: paralysis of the limbs, a dog being unable to go up and down the stairs, being weak.
  • Other: cancer, neurological disorders.
Care Features

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a dog breed that has a strong herding instinct and it used to do this job amazingly well. Therefore, it is important to remember that Corgis are very energetic small dogs who require daily walks and exercises, including mental stimulations. You should be also aware of the fact that Corgis are very prone to spine injuries due to their long backs. That means that you should never pick up your Corgi without supporting his front and rear legs while lifting him up.

Another thing to remember is that this dog breed thrives on human friendship and companionship, which means that he is by no means an outside dog that should be kept in a small dog house in a backyard. He can withstand harsh weathers but he cannot stand being alone for too long. Besides all this, you should do regular checks on your Corgi to make sure that he is not injured, unhealthy or that he does not have any fleas, cuts or ticks. A regular care includes baths, grooming, brushing teeth and nail clipping. If you are unsure you can let a professional do it instead, but a real bond is created between a dog and owner when you take care of your dog by yourself. You should also check their eyes and ears regularly so there is no infection.

Feeding Schedule

When it comes to the recommended daily dosage of food for your adult Corgi, it should be 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dog food per one day, which should be divided into two meals, usually breakfast and lunch. Corgi puppies should eat 3 to 4 cups daily. However, according to your Corgi’s energy level, metabolism and the intensity of exercises, you should give him more if he spends more energy or less, if he is more of a couch potato dog type. Any extremity should be avoided because each can lead to serious health problems.

Make sure to always buy food of high quality and include vitamins, vegetables and proteins, depending on your dog’s current state of health. You can see if your Corgi is too skinny by touching his spine and ribs – you should feel the ribs but not see them.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a long and low dog breed with a fox brush tail and huge upright ears. The Cardigans keep their long tails while the Pembrokes usually dock them and that is one of the main differences. When it comes to colors, the Cardigan comes in all sort of varieties: sable, black, red, and brindle, with or without markings. They usually have white markings on their necks, tails, legs, and muzzles. All in all, his coat is not very difficult to be groomed, even though it is quite thick.

Speaking of grooming – Corgis’ coats are double coated and very thick, made to sustain harsh weather in the Wales. They also have an undercoat and a thick topcoat. They shed a lot which means that a daily brushing is required. Sometimes you would even need to include warm baths so you can get rid of any excess coat. Another interesting fact about Corgis is that they have what is called a “fairy saddle” over their back and the legend says that those markings were left by fairies who used to ride them in the woods.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

As we have already said, Corgis are wonderful companions for both single owners and families. They are very affectionate once they start trusting you and if they are socialized and trained from an early age, there should be no problems with children. The same behavior should apply to kids as well – you should teach your children to never push, pull, hit or sit on your Corgi, it is inhumane.

The Cardigans can be suspicious of unfamiliar people and other pets, especially unfamiliar dogs, but you should change this behavior with proper training. They actually enjoying playing in a group of dogs, especially if they are all Corgis. In order to make everything work out, both children and your Corgi should be well behaved and with manners. Corgis are very curious dogs and you will soon learn that they are famous for being like “little soldiers” with strong will-power and need to be part of everything that is going on around them.

In the end, if you are a playful person who loves the outdoors, this breed is totally recommended. Even more, you should have enough space for them so a big apartment of a big backyard should be provided. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi also needs a powerful owner who knows how to impose his decision as the Cardigan can be a bit stubborn from time to time and strong-willed, and if he is not trained on time you might never be able to train him later on. Giving him proper love and meeting his needs will keep both owner and pet happy.

Keep in mind that the Corgi is a small dog but he has the energy level and cheerfulness of a much bigger animal.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Lillian Holloway

    Thi short-legged cute dogs prefer their family members and other pets to be gathered together. If not, he may try to accomplish this by circling and nipping – that is so cute! Also wonderful with livestock :) You must have the confidence to establish and consistently enforce rules, or he may make up his own.

    • John Walton

      It has that behaviour that keeps it circling around nipping our toes, their way of curiosity and getting your attention. I do agree that they should be trained with a firm particular set of rules, or else they can be very outgoing and independent.

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