Cardigan Welsh Corgi Dog History, Health And Care

Introduction Of Cardigan Welsh Corgi Dog

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, also known as the Cardi, the Kergi, the Cardigan, the Corgi and the CWC, is the older of the two Welsh Corgi breeds and is the one with a tail and slightly larger, rounder and wider-set ears. The other, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, is naturally tail-less. The word “corgi” is Celtic for “dog.” The Cardigan is a powerful, handsome and intelligent dog capable of both speed and stamina. It is even-tempered, loyal, affectionate and highly adaptable. Cardigans make terrific family dogs, watch and guard dogs and can get along well with children and other animals if well-socialized from an early age. Corgis are not naturally aggressive but can be wary of strangers. They tend to bond most closely with their primary owner and may be considered a one-person companion. Cardis are extremely energetic, muscular and strong and need continual mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom. These agile dogs love learning new tricks and excel at all types of canine competition.

The average Cardigan Welsh Corgi should stand between 10½ and 12½ inches at the withers when standing naturally. The ideal length-to-height ratio is 1.8 to 1, measured from the point of the breast bone to the rear of the hip, and from the ground to the point of the withers. Males should weigh between 30 and 38 pounds; bitches from 25 to 34 pounds. Overall balance is considered paramount, with dogs oversized or undersized being seriously faulted. Their dense double coat can come in almost any color and is slightly harsh in texture, but should never be wiry, curly or silky.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Dog Breed Quick Facts

Affection Level4/5
Apartment Friendly5/5
Barking Tendencies4/5
Cat Friendly4/5
Child Friendly4/5
Dog Friendly3/5
Exercise Need2/5
Grooming Needs3/5
Health Issues2/5

Cardigan Welsh Corgi – Appearance & Grooming


Cardigan Welsh Corgis are low, long dogs who measure anywhere from 36 to 43 inches long from the nose to tail tip. They have large, pronounced, erect ears which sit high atop the head and their tails set low on the body. They have short legs with round feet with turn slightly outward. Their muzzles are rounded and tapering. The Cardigan has a thick double coat of fur which is thicker and more abundant on the underside of the tail, the backs of the legs and at the ruff. They come in shades of red, sable and brindle, black, black and tan, brindle and black or blue merle. Their eye color varies in accordance with the coloring of the dog, but blue eyes are only acceptable in merle Cardigans. The ACK standard states that a Cardigan Welsh Corgi is, “a handsome, powerful, small dog, capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdily built but not coarse.”

Size and Weight

Per the breed standard, the overall balance of the dog is of more importance than his size. The average size for Cardigans, however is approximately 10.5 to 12.5 inches at the withers. Males should weigh in between 30 and 38 pounds and females should average between 25 and 34 pounds.

Coat and Color

Cardigan Welsh Corgis have medium-length, thick double coats. The outer coat is harsh in texture, but not wiry, and provides protection from the elements. Their undercoats provide insulation and is plush, thick and short. Though their hair is thick, the dog shouldn’t appear fluffy. Cardigans come all shades of brindle, sable and red. Black with or without tan is also common, as is Blue merle which may or may not have tan points. Some Cardigans sport white spots on the neck, chest, legs, muzzle or head.

Grooming Needs

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are easy to groom. Their medium-length coat only requires a weekly brushing to remove loose and dead hair. Twice a year the Cardigan will shed more heavily, and brushing may need to occur several times per week. Frequently bathing a Cardigan will cause the natural weatherproof oils in the hair to break down, so it is important to only bath a Corgi as-needed. They are naturally clean dogs, so most owners only bathe their dogs once every three or four months.

As with all dog breeds, it is important to maintain the health of the ears and teeth. Their erect ears aren’t as prone to infections as other breeds, but they should be examined weekly to check for signs of redness or irritation. Brush your Corgi’s teeth once per week to keep harmful, smelly bacteria at bay.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi – History and Health


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest dog breeds from the British Isles. It reportedly came to the Welsh high country now known as Cardiganshire with the warrior Celts from central Europe in about 1200 B.C. The village of Bronant in Mid-Cardiganshire became a stronghold of those early Celts, who prized their dogs for their vigilance, intelligence, guarding ability and companionability. Corgis also were especially adept at flushing out game. The most highly valued occupation of this stout breed came hundreds of years later, but still hundreds of years ago, when the British Crown owned virtually all land and poor tenant farmers were only allowed to fence off a few acres surrounding their home for personal use. The rest of the land was “common,” where farmers could graze their cattle – the primary source of their income – on such pasture as they could secure. Competition for farmland was fierce. The little Cardigan Welsh Corgi was trained to do exactly the opposite of what herding dogs do: it was taught to nip at the heels of its owner’s cattle and drive them far afield. It also would drive neighboring cattle off of land its owners wanted to graze. Either way, the Corgi’s tasks was the same: a whistle from its owner would send the dog off to find and nip at cattle, regardless of who they belonged to, and it would persist in the chase endlessly, as long as he heard that whistle. The Cardigan’s low-slung body type, with disproportionately short legs and a long body, made it particularly skilled at darting between and avoiding the well-aimed kicks of angry cattle, classifying it as a “heeler.” When the task was accomplished to the owner’s satisfaction, he would give a shrill, long whistle of a different tone, and the dog would reliably return.

Despite the absence of official stud books, the Celts and then their early Welsh descendants bred their dogs with meticulous care. No breeding was consummated without focused and selective consideration of the attributes of both sire and dam, to ensure that the offspring would be proficient workers. Once the crown lands were divided and sold to the tenant farmers, fences were put up surrounding large properties, and the need for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi as a cattle-nipper waned. Some of the hill farmers still kept Corgis as guardians and companions, but that was a luxury few could afford. The original Corgis of Mid-Cardiganshire became exceedingly rare and were replaced by the red herder and the brindle herder. Eventually, the remaining Corgis were crossed with the red herder, which proved an unsuccessful cross. However, the cross of the Corgi and the brindle herder was successful in retaining the structure and stamina of the Corgi but adding the color and slightly finer coat of the brindle herder. Today’s Cardigan Welsh Corgi descends from the old Bronant Corgi with the slight infusion of brindle herder blood. Today’s heelers descend from that original cross, which was then crossed with the Collie.

In England, the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis were considered one breed divided into two types and were allowed to interbreed until 1927, when the Crufts Kennel Club listed them as two distinct types. In 1934, they were fully recognized as two separate breeds. Mrs. Robert Bole, of Boston, Massachusetts, imported the first pair of Cardigan Welsh Corgis to the United States in June 1931. The breed was admitted to American Kennel Club registration in 1935 as a member of the Herding Group. Corgi’s are described as being tough-as-nails and a big dog in a little dog’s body.


The breed has an average life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years. Breed health concerns may include glaucoma, intervertebral disk disease, progressive retinal atrophy and obesity. This is a particularly hearty breed.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi – Temperament & Personality


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi my be small, but they pack a lot of dog into a little body. Originally used to herd cattle and hunt rodents in Cardiganshire, Wales; Corgiw were strong working dogs that took their jobs seriously. They would nip the heels of the cattle, and their small bodies enabled them to avoid being kicked. Today, the Corgi is still used on farms and ranches, but is also an energetic family companion. They are good with other pets, make reliable watchdogs, and are trustworthy around children. Corgis have a mind of their own but still have a desire to please people. They pack a large personality, which varies from clownish and attention seeking, to thoughtful and introspective.

Activity Requirements

Despite their high energy level, Cardigan Welsh Corgis only need a moderate amount of exercise to keep them happy. They are adaptable, and can happily dwell on a ranch, in a home with a yard, in an apartment or condominium. They should be walked daily, and if they don’t have a yard to play in at home, should be allowed to run in a park at least once a week.

Despite their need for moderate exercise, Cardigans need a lot of mental stimulation. As with other breeds who have roots as farm dogs, they like to stay busy. They excel in agility training and advanced obedience. If not properly exercised physically and mentally, Corgis can become anxious and destructive when left alone.


Cardigans are strong willed – they like to be in charge and will resist a hard-nosed trainer. They prefer to do things on their own time, so a lot of patience is required when training this breed. Positive reinforcement and lots of treats will ensure a responsive Cardigan. Once consistent leadership is established, Cardigans take well to training and enjoy learning new tasks.

After beginning obedience training is complete, Cardigans should graduate to advanced training and if possible, involved in tracking and agility classes. This is one “old dog” that likes to learn new tricks, and training should continue throughout their lives.

Behavioral Traits

Cardigans, like other farm dogs, are excellent watchdogs. They sound the alarm that uninvited people or animals are on the horizon, which can get out of hand if not nipped in the bud at an early age. Proper socialization is important, so that the Cardigan Welsh Corgi doesn’t become mistrustful of all strangers. They will also bark if left alone for long periods of time, so apartment and condo dwellers should take this into consideration before adopting a Cardigan.

While they get along fine with children, Cardigans can exhibit dominance over small children, and they have been known to attempt to herd groups of kids. Because their herding behavior involves the nipping of heels, playtime should always be supervised.

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