Cardigan Welsh Corgi: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

cardigan welsh corgi

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The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a medium-sized herding dog breed from Wales with signature short legs, a water-resistant double coat, pointed ears, and a long tail. Lesser-known than its cousin, the tailless Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the Cardigan breed is full of fun antics. These dogs are adaptable, utterly devoted to their family, and ready to do anything you'd like—just as long as you’re together.

This breed may be reserved with strangers at first, but given ample time, will usually warm up to new friends and share some of the abundant love they shower on their family. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi gets along great with other animals, from pets like dogs and cats to horses and other farm animals. They love having children in their families and naturally look after them as part of their pack.

Breed Overview

Group: Herding

Weight: 25 to 38 pounds

Height: 10 to 13 inches

Coat: Medium-length, dense, water-resistant double coat

Coat Color: Red, sable, brindle, black, or blue merle; most commonly with white markings on the neck, chest, legs, muzzle, tail, and face

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Affectionate, friendly, playful, intelligent, active, alert

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Wales

Characteristics of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi

This breed is known for its playful temperament and larger-than-life personality. Your Cardigan Welsh Corgi will enjoy spending time with you and showing plenty of affection to close family members. These dogs are naturally attentive, which can make them excellent watchdogs that alert their owners to any sign of trouble with a quick bark. It also means that you may need to work on excessive barking if you live in an apartment, though this breed is otherwise well-suited for apartment living as long as it's provided with daily walks.

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness High
Energy Level Medium
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark High
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi

This Welsh dog breed has existed for thousands of years in the Cardiganshire area in Wales (today's Ceredigion), brought to Wales by Celtic tribes who migrated from Central Europe. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi was named for its home region. Centuries ago, this rocky, coastal area of Cardiganshire was filled with green hills and dairy farms.

The reason these dogs were bred with such short legs comes down to their working history: Cardigan Welsh Corgis were highly prized as indispensable cattle herders, and their short height kept them safely below the herd's dangerous kicks. They also worked as drovers (which drive cattle to market), farm dogs, and barn guards while serving as loving family companions.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi outside
Cardigan Welsh Corgi puppy
Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Care

With basic obedience training, moderate exercise, and standard grooming, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi can be a happy, well-adjusted dog. When this breed becomes part of your family, they'll be happy to tag along for plenty of activities and learn new tricks.


Cardigan Welsh Corgis need moderate exercise to stay healthy. Although they have ample energy and enjoy physical activities, they don’t need an excessive amount like many other working breeds. Provide your dog with several daily walks or a fenced-in backyard to run around in, taking note that it's best to keep this breed on a leash when it's outside the safe boundaries of a fence. Their herding nature makes them likely to chase after other animals, but some (especially farm dogs) can be trained efficiently with recalls to return quickly to their owners. Also thanks to their working history, these dogs enjoy agility sports to exercise their body and mind.


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s double coat is easy to care for, requiring no trimming. It does not tend to mat, but a throughout brush-out once a week is important to keep shedding to a minimum. Their coats repel dirt and water, needing only occasional baths. Trim the nails weekly and check the ears, cleaning them with a pet-safe ear cleaner if they appear dirty.


Start training your puppy from day one, and your Cardigan Welsh Corgi will quickly and happily learn good manners and house rules. The breed is intelligent and naturally wants to please you, so gentle, positive training methods are very effective. Many Cardigans excel at activities like agility, flyball, obedience, and herding.

Common Health Problems

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is built somewhat heavy for their size with long backs and short legs. Due to the breed’s unique physique, care must be taken to ensure the Cardigan doesn’t injure its back. Don’t let puppies jump up or down from high places (try using pet ramps for couches and beds), and if you lift the dog, provide even support under the front and rear legs. 

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is generally very healthy, but like all purebred dogs, it's important to work with a responsible breeder who tests both parents and puppies for hereditary problems. This breed is subject to the following health conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia: Dysplasia is caused by a malformation in the dog's joints, especially common in the hips when it comes to the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy: Also known as PRA, this condition is a degenerative eye disease that can cause blindness.
  • Degenerative myelopathy: Also known as DM, this disease causes progressive paralysis. A genetic test for degenerative myelopathy is available, which allows breeders to avoid passing the gene on to future generations. 

Diet and Nutrition

Avoid overfeeding your Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Staying lean and avoiding canine obesity can prevent the development of back issues, hip dysplasia, and other diet-related medical issues like diabetes. Feed scheduled meals, measuring the food with a cup or scale. Ask your breeder or veterinarian to recommend a high-quality diet and specific portion sizes to keep your Cardigan Welsh Corgi healthy.

The Difference Between Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis

You might think the only difference between the two Corgis is the Cardigan’s tail (and the Pembroke’s lack thereof), but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, although related, are completely separate breeds with different physical and temperamental characteristics.

The ancestors of today’s Cardigan Welsh Corgi existed in the Cardiganshire area in Wales as far back as 3,000 years ago, which makes the Cardigan nearly 2,000 years older than the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is descended from teckel dogs, which is a family of dogs that includes the Dachshund. When Vikings arrived in Wales, the spitz-type dogs that accompanied them were bred with Cardigan Welsh Corgis, and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was born. 

In 1925, the Kennel Club of England officially recognized both Cardigans and Pembrokes as one Corgi breed, but breed fanciers protested and the Kennel Club split them into two breeds in 1934. However, during this decade of time, the two breeds were interbred. Since being separated, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi have not been co-mingled. 

Physically, the Cardigan is slightly bigger and heavier-boned than the Pembroke. The Cardigan also has larger, more rounded ears. The Cardigan, of course, has a long tail, and the Pembroke’s tail is usually docked if they are not born tailless. The Cardigan also has a wider variety of colors than the Pembroke. 

Temperamentally, the two Corgi breeds are similar with a few minor differences. They are both intelligent, active, and fun-loving. Some people believe the Pembroke is more outgoing than the Cardigan, which can be reserved with strangers. Cardigans might also be slightly more laidback than Pembrokes, though your specific's dog temperament will be heavily influenced by its family history. 

Where to Adopt or Buy a Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The best way to adopt a Cardigan Welsh Corgi is to rescue one in need of a forever home. Many adult Cardigans can be found through rescues, and occasionally, litters of puppies may be available for adoption. To search for a Cardigan in need of rehoming, check with the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America (the national parent club for the breed in the United States), and check your local shelters and rescue groups. 

Another avenue to find a Cardigan Welsh Corgi is to find a breeder in your area. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America maintains a list of breeders on its website. Responsible breeders don’t breed often, so they won’t have puppies available all the time. This breed typically costs between $1,000 and $3,000, but prices may vary depending on pedigree and availability in your area. Be prepared to wait if you want a puppy. Here, browse resources to begin your search with the national organization, rescues, and reputable breeders:

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Overview

  • Affectionate and fun-loving 

  • Devoted family companion

  • Easy-care coat

  • Some are problem barkers

  • May be reserved

  • Doesn’t like to be left alone

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you like the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, you might also like these breeds: 

Otherwise, check out other dog breeds to help you find the perfect dog for you. There are plenty of breeds that make excellent companions, and with a little research, you can find your new best friend!

  • How Rare Are Cardigan Welsh Corgis?

    Cardigan Welsh Corgis are relatively easy to find in the United States, but surprisingly, they are harder to find in their native region. To find this breed in North America, check with your local rescue organizations or resources for responsible breeders.

  • Are Cardigan Welsh Corgis Easy to Train?

    Cardigan Welsh Corgis are eager to please their owners, and this breed is well-known for its trainability. These dogs respond best to positive reinforcement-based training and typically excel in basic obedience.

  • Do Cardigan Welsh Corgis Bark a Lot?

    This breed is known for its talkative nature, a personality trait that was bred for alerting its owners. Your Cardigan Welsh Corgi will be likely to bark when it hears new sounds, sees strangers outside the house, or when it needs your attention. Thankfully, there are helpful ways to train your dog to manage excessive barking.