Cardigan Welsh Corgi: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

cardigan welsh corgi

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The Cardigan Welsh Corgi—the Corgi with a tail—is lesser known than its cousin, the tailless Pembroke Welsh Corgi, but the breed is worth getting to know. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is utterly devoted to his human family and full of fun antics. This adaptable breed is a ready and able to do anything you want to do—just as long as you’re together.

The 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. They are naturally watchful, which can make them wonderful watch dogs, alerting to any sign of trouble with a quick bark. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi gets along great with other animals, from dogs to cats to horses to farm animals. They love children who are part of the family, and naturally look after them as part of the “flock.” 

Breed Overview

Group: Herding

Weight: 25 to 38 pounds

Height: 10½ to 12½ inches tall at the shoulder

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

Coat Color: Red, sable, brindle, black or blue merle, with or without white markings on the neck, chest, legs, muzzle, tail and face

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Characteristics of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi

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

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi has existed for thousands of years in the Cardiganshire area in Wales (which today is Ceredigion), brought to Wales by Celtic tribes who migrated from Central Europe. Centuries ago, the rocky, coastal area of Cardiganshire was filled with green hills and dairy farms, and Cardigan Welsh Corgis were highly prized as indispensable cattle herders and drovers (driving cattle to market), working farm dogs, barn guards and loving family companions.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi outside
 
Cardigan Welsh Corgi puppy
 
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
 

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Care

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s coat is easy to care for, requiring no trimming. It does not tend to mat and a throughout brush out once a week will keep shedding to a minimum. The coat repels 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 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 Cardigan Welsh Corgis excel at dog sports and activities like agility, flyball, obedience and herding. Although they have ample energy and enjoy exercise, they don’t need an excessive amount. Daily walks can be sufficient, but often they are up for more.  

Common Health Problems

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is built somewhat heavy for his size, with a long back and short legs. Due the breed’s unique physique, care must be taken to ensure the Cardigan doesn’t injure his 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 support under both the front and rear legs. 

Almost all purebred dogs are subject to developing certain hereditary conditions. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is generally very healthy, but hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA, a degenerative eye disease) and degenerative myelopathy (DM, a disease that causes progressive paralysis) have been identified in the breed. 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 can prevent the development of back issues, hip dysplasia and other diet-related medical issues like diabetes. Feed scheduled meals, weighing the food with a cup or scale. Ask your breeder or veterinarian to recommend a good food to feed your Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Pros
  • Affectionate and fun-loving 

  • Devoted family companion

  • Easy-care coat

Cons
  • Some are problem barkers

  • May be reserved with strangers

  • Doesn’t do well when left alone

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 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 breed 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, which the Pembroke’s tail is usually docked if they are not born tailless. The Cardigan comes in more 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. 

Where to Adopt or Buy a Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The best way to look for a Cardigan Welsh Corgi puppy is to find a breeder who lives close to you. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America, which is the national parent club for the breed in the United States, maintains a list of breeders on its website. Reputable Cardigan Welsh Corgi breeders don’t breed often, so they won’t have puppies available all the time. Be prepared wait if you want a puppy. Another avenue to find a Cardigan Welsh Corgi is rescue. Cardigans available for adoption are often adults. To search for a Cardigan in need of rehoming, check with the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America or even check local shelters or rescue groups. 

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

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

Otherwise, check out all of our other dog breed articles to help you find the perfect dog for you and your family.