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Cardigan Welsh Corgi Dog Breed Information: Facts, Pictures & More

If you are considering the Cardigan Welsh Corgi for your next canine companion, there are a few things you'll need to know. In this article, you'll learn all about the breed, including its history, temperament, breed facts, and see plenty of pictures.

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Last Updated: June 15, 2021 | 14 min read

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one part of the double Corgi duo. The Cardigan Corgi is slightly less popular of the two Corgi types (not by much, though), but he is the original. Before welcoming one of these pups into your life, you’ll want to understand what this breed offers, and know why they were bred.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi makes for a lovable family pet, but owning one doesn’t come without some quirks. They can be quite expensive to purchase as puppies, and they can also be difficult to train if they are placed with the wrong owners.

In this comprehensive breed guide, you’ll learn all about Cardigan Corgi. You’ll find out about their history, whether they get along with other dogs, and whether or not they will fit in with your lifestyle. Let’s jump in!

Breed Overview
    • weight iconWeight20-40 Pounds
    • height iconHeight10-13 Inches
    • lifespan iconLifespan12-15 Years
    • color iconColorsBlack & Tan, Fawn, White, Red, Sable, Brindle, Blue Merle
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs

History

Two Black and white Dogs Stand in Grass
Cardigan Welsh Corgis were found in Cardiganshire in southwest Wales.

The Cardigan Corgi is the original Corgi type. It is believed he dates back to 1200 B.C. His ancestors, the Celts, and their herding dogs migrated from central Europe to Cardigan in Wales. And as they say, the rest is history.

They have been herding cattle for at least 1,000 years in Great Britain. But he only came to America in 1931. Ever since he has been a popular choice on ranches across America and in family homes.

The breed was mated with another traveling dog breed, and this was how the Pembroke Corgi came to be. They are both related and regularly bred together, mingling the two breeds. However, this is now frowned upon.

Typically, Cardigans are considered the more hardworking of the two Corgi types, and he is much more athletic, too. This reason is why ranches will favor the Cardigan over the Pembroke Corgi.

Temperament

Tan and White Dog with Stick in His Mouth
Cardigans love to play and are happiest when they spend time with you.

The Cardigan Corgi is a hardworking and athletic dog with lots of energy that needs to be burned. He might be small, but he is full of big dog character! He is described as hard as nails, and he needs to be placed with an active family. If you are expecting a cuddly and fluffy lap dog only, you will need to rethink your dog breed choice for sure.

With all that energy, intelligent brain, and high levels of curiosity, you can also be sure that you are in for lots of fun. Cardigans love to play fetch, tug of war, and any other game you can think of. Just be mindful of his long back and short legs, which can lead to injuries when jumping from great heights. He makes a great canine sibling for children because he is as tough and hardy.

Cardigan Corgis weren’t only used as a herding dog. He was also an all-around farmhand and a hunter. This means that he has a high prey drive and should be kept on a leash when out in public. He was also used as a flock protector and estate guardian, and as such, he is a vocal dog who barks. A lot! This means that if you have noise-sensitive neighbors who might take offense to his singing, you might want to consider a less noisy breed.

His background in flock protection means that he is also protective of his family. He is aloof with strangers and will stand by your side when there are visitors around. He might not look like the part of a family guard dog, but he takes his role very seriously. It’s safe to say that he is the least sociable out of the two Corgis but the most protective.

When the hard work is done, he enjoys cuddling his family for a cozy evening film. He is a little snuggle bug who likes to plonk himself between his humans on the sofa. Cardigans have a sweet and mischievous face. Despite their tough demeanor, they are big softies deep down. He loves the attention, and he is affectionate with his close-knit family.

We also have to mention that these pups are very independent dogs, and sometimes he thinks that he rules the roost. While he makes a very hardworking dog that completes the task, he isn’t the most obedient dog breeds outside of work. He will not always listen to you, but this is all a part of his cheeky Corgi charm. You just need to be sure that you have the patience for his mischievous ways.

Size & Appearance

Brindle Dog With Short Legs and Long Tail
The most distinguishing feature of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, aside from short legs, is his long tail.

Cardigans are a small-sized dog, but he is slightly bigger than his Pembroke Corgi cousin. He weighs between 25 and 38 pounds, and he measures between 10.5 and 12.5 inches short. Typically, the Cardigan is longer than he is tall.

He is one of 19 dog breeds that have a mutated dwarf gene, which is why he has such short legs. His short legs make him a great herder because he can nip at the cattle’s heels and miss their kicks.

Cardigans have two distinct features besides his coat color, which we will go through in the next section. The most obvious is that they have a long tail, and the second is that his ears are rounded and slightly larger.

Overall, he has a chunky and solid appearance, which is why many dog lovers refer to them as “loafy,” like a loaf of bread. These dogs can be very greedy pups. And those who do not work on a ranch often find themselves overweight and chunky.

Coat & Colors

Three Cute Dogs Sitting Outside
This breed’s thick coat can come in a variety of shades and colors that are paired with white.

The Cardigan Corgi is a working dog breed that hails from Wales in the United Kingdom. Which, if you’ve never been before, is cold and wet! As such, he has a thick and double-layered coat that keeps his hardworking body dry and warm. Corgis were originally bred as a shepherding dog breed.

The under layer is made up of dense dander, and his outer coat is straight and thicker. Designed to keep the under layer dry. He is a moderate shedder all year round and shed quite heavily during the shedding seasons.

Cardigans enjoy many different colors and shades. He can pick from black, blue merle, brindle, sable, and red, all mixed with white. This is the other difference between this pup and his Pembroke cousin because the Pembroke does not have the brindle gene or the merle gene. Dogs with merle coats may also have blue eyes, although rare.

It’s not uncommon for merle-coated dogs to have several spots within their coats, and it’s also common for the Corgi breed to have darker shades on its back. Which is referred to their saddle which, according to Welsh legend, fairies rode.

Exercise Requirements

Brindle and White Dog Running in the Snow
Make sure your Cardigan gets 45-60 min of playful exercise each day.

The Cardigan Corgi is a super ball of energy, and he needs between 45 and 60 minutes of exercise every day. He isn’t afraid of the cold or the rain, or any type of weather for that matter. So, you best be ready for daily exercise come rain or shine. If you can work him on a ranch, he will be very happy to work all day. Working isn’t a necessity, but intense exercise is.

Thankfully, once you have worn him out, he will happily cuddle with you on the sofa for the evening. But if you fail to exercise him, he will pester you until you do. He will also become super naughty, vocal, and he will probably try to herd you out of the door with the leash in his mouth.

Because of their high energy levels and need for walks, we recommend leash training your Corgi using a harness, rather than a collar. These pups like to pull when excited, and the right harness can help prevent that.

Be sure to mix his activity classes up otherwise, he will get bored. Long and brisk walks, fetch in the park, hikes in the forest, and even jogging when he is fully grown are all activities he enjoys. Remember to make it as intense as possible so he can burn more energy. Because the more he burns, the less likely he is to be naughty when you get home. Invest in several Corgi-appropriate dog toys to keep him busy in between exercise sessions.

Living Conditions

Puppy Chewing a Toy on a Couch
Because of its size, this breed can live just about anywhere.

The breed is suited to apartment living, but only if he is exercised adequately. Because he is a small-sized dog, he will happily live anywhere without feeling too cramped. Many Corgi owners invest in sofa and bed ramps so that they can get up and down easier, without the risk of injury.

They will get along well with other resident dogs, but only if he is socialized well as a pup. With a reasonably high prey drive, there is a chance that he might not do well with other household pets such as rodents and possibly cats. Every Corgi is different, so it is something to bear in mind if you are a multi-pet household. He is a great addition to families with children.

Training

Well Behaved Dog Lying Down
Socialization is of the utmost importance when training your Cardigan to expose her to as many elements as possible.

The Corgi is a delightful little dog, but just like all canines, he needs to be shown the ropes. The most important part of his training is the socialization process. This includes exposing him to as many different scenarios as possible, such as loud noises in the home and walking along the sidewalk.

Socialization also means mixing him with other humans and animals so that he grows into a confident Cardigan. The more you do this, the more polite he will be.

We hate to be stereotypical here at LoveYourDog HQ, but pretty much all Corgis are greedy dogs. And so you can be certain that with a treat in hand, you will have his attention. Use treats to teach him new commands. This is what is known as positive reinforcement training. Don’t overdo it, though, because he will turn into a porky pup if you overfeed him. Corgi backside scratches go a long way, too!

The Corgi is a stubborn and independent dog. Even with a treat in hand, he might look at you as though you’re mad if you expect him to sit for it. With stubborn dogs, the trick is to keep training sessions short and fun and be persistent too. If he doesn’t sit for the treat, do not give it to him. Because once you give in to his cheeky ways, he’ll know he can win you over.

It’s worth mentioning that, as a herding dog, there is a chance of him herding other family members. Both humans and other animals alike. The likelihood of this increases if he is not exercised adequately. His nipping technique means that he might try to nip, so this behavior must be trained out of him. If he starts to do this, redirect his behavior elsewhere. And see it as a sign that you aren’t exercising him enough.

Health

Dog Getting Checked by a Vet
Fortunately, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a typically healthy dog with minimal health concerns.

The Cardigan is a healthy dog breed. This cute lil’ pup enjoys a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. The Cardigan breed is predisposed to certain health concerns more so than others. For this reason, it is important to make yourself aware of the common conditions below. As well as their associated symptoms. This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start.

Hip Dysplasia

This joint dysplasia affects the hip joint, and it is where the hip doesn’t form as it is supposed to. This means that it slowly grinds away, causing pain and increased wear and tear. This condition develops over time and is more noticeable in older Corgis. Getting a Cardigan pup from parents with good hip scores is important.

Eye Conditions

The Corgi is prone to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), as well as a variety of eye concerns. PRA is a degenerative condition that can, over time, lead to complete vision loss.

Degenerative Myelopathy

This is a progressive disease of the spinal cord. In Corgis, it usually starts from eight years of age. This disease will affect his central nervous system, resulting in mobility issues and decreased muscle mass.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

As you already know, the breed is longer than he is tall. Dogs with this frame are more likely to suffer from IVDD. This is where the cushioning between his spinal discs disintegrates and no longer absorbs the energy in his spine. Leading to increased spinal injury, pain, and potential paralysis.

Nutrition

Black and White Puppy Eating from Yellow Dog Bowl
Feed your Corgi dog food that is formulated for smaller dogs so she can easily eat.

How much the Cardigan Corgi eats will depend on several factors, including age, size, and energy levels. Typically, he will consume between 1-1.5 cups of high-quality kibble every day.

Of course, you can feed him wet food, but a high-quality Corgi-sized kibble should be the main part of his diet. It is a safe and convenient way to provide him with a well-balanced diet, including high-quality protein, carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Cardigan Corgis are small dogs with an equally small mouth. Although you might not have guessed it considering how many treats he likes to eat. Finding a kibble specifically designed for small breed dogs will ensure that he can eat his food comfortably and safely. This is particularly important during puppyhood when his body is developing.

The Corgi is known to be a greedy canine (have we mentioned that already?!) So, you need to be vigilant about how much food he consumes every day. Follow package instructions carefully, and include treats in his daily calorie intake too.

If the scales suggest he is becoming overweight, it’s time to switch to a weight management kibble to keep him healthy. Unnecessary weight will increase the chances of hip dysplasia and IVDD and other health conditions. So while the extra chunk might make him cute, it needs to be taken seriously.

Grooming

Black and White Dog Being Groomed
Your Cardigan will need an appropriate grooming routine to care for her thick and fluffy coat.

The Cardigan Corgi is a moderate shedder all year round. He is also a heavy shedder during the spring and winter months. The best way to manage his shedding is to establish a grooming routine. Throughout the year, you need to brush him from head to paw two to three times a week, and most days during the shedding seasons. He might be small, but he is fluffy!

A pin or slicker brush will be the best brushes in your Corgi hairdressing toolkit. A de-shedding rake, such as the FurMinator, is also useful for those heavier months. This will remove his dead hair, manage his shedding, spread his natural coat oils, and massage his skin. Thankfully, it is also enjoyable for him and serves as extra bonding time for you both.

Bathing your Corgi should take place once every 8 to 12 weeks. Never shampoo him more than this. Otherwise, you risk stripping his coat of his natural oils and irritating his skin. A gentle shampoo made from natural ingredients, such as oatmeal, is ideal for the Corgi. If he has a super thick coat or a working Corgi on the ranch most days, a concentrated shampoo will be better. As these will remove the extra dust and dirt that his booty will collect.

As you groom him, pay particular attention to his eyes as he is at heightened risk of suffering from eye concerns. Clean his big ears weekly as they will also collect lots of dirt and dust. He will also need weekly dental cleaning because his compact mouth is prone to periodontal diseases. Always use doggy toothpaste. The trick to smooth grooming is a schedule and starting it from a young age.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

Sweet Puppy Wearing a Bowtie
These adorable puppies start at around $1,000 when purchasing from an established breeder.

If you’ve chosen this pup from the hundreds of dog breeds out there, you now need to make sure that you select the right breeder. Speak to other owners, and ask if they had a good experience. Breeders with a professional website, and positive reviews, are also likely to be good quality breeders. The American Kennel Club lists reputable Cardigan Corgi breeders, so this is a great place to start.

Always meet a breeder, and their pups, in person. Get to know them, and they will ask you lots of questions to make sure that you are the right family for this breed. Ask to see their parents and their health certificates too. A clean, warm, and family-oriented environment is also key, so look out for this too. If you get a bad feeling, walk away!

The average cost of a puppy from a reputable breeder starts at around $1,000. If you are looking for a pup from an award-winning heritage or a show line, it will likely cost more than this. As do brindle and merle-colored Cardigans, as this coat color is seen as more desirable. Anything much less than this is a sure-fire sign that they aren’t top-quality breeders, and they could be part of a puppy mill.

Rescues & Shelters

Puppy Dog with Her Mother
It is likely you will find a Corgi at your local shelter, so be sure to check there!

If you are looking to rescue a Cardigan Corgi, you also have plenty of choices. Visit your local rescue shelters. If you can’t find one straight away, visit again. And speak to the staff there who might know of other Cardigan Corgis in another area or an incoming Cardigan. The average price of rescuing a pup is much lower than buying a puppy from a breeder. If you are open to adopting a Corgi mix, your options will be far greater.

If you cannot find a Cardigan Corgi at your local rescue, do not worry! There are also dedicated Corgi rescue organizations across the country. Begin your search with these two fantastic websites – the Cardigan Welsh Corgi National Rescue Trust and the Corgi Rescue website.

As Family Pets

  • The Cardigan Corgi is a hardworking pup who has lots of energy.
  • They are also plenty of fun if they have a structured family environment.
  • He needs to be with an active family.
  • You’ll need to guarantee a minimum of 45 minutes of daily exercise.
  • He will also need lots of playtimes to keep his mind stimulated.
  • If he becomes bored, he will turn into a naughty pup.
  • To prevent destructive behavior, keep him on his toes.
  • He is an affectionate pup with his family.
  • The breed is the ultimate cuddler and loves to be close to his family.
  • They are aloof with strangers.
  • This means they are great watchdogs thanks to their barking potential.
  • He will do well with living with children and other dogs.
  • They may do OK with other animals depending on their prey drive.
  • He might try to herd his family.
  • Keep a watchful eye on this behavior in the home.
  • He has a super fluffy coat, and he will need a lot of grooming.
  • The Cardigan Corgi can be stubborn.
  • Because of their headstrong nature, you’ll need to be consistent with training.

Final Thoughts

The Cardigan Corgi might be the more hardworking out of the two Corgi types. But this might make him the much better Corgi option for you and your family. If you are looking for a small dog who is hard to tire and lots of fun, look no further than this little pup. He also makes a great canine alarm bell, as well as a cuddle buddy for the sofa.

As a traditional working dog, you must be able to handle his intense energy and personality. He needs lots of stimulation and lots of physical activity to keep him happy. If you can’t offer him this, he will become problematic. But if you can, you can be sure that this Cardigan is a fit for the whole family.

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