Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Breed Group: Herding

Temperament and Behavior

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a friendly, affectionate “big dog on little legs” who is loyal to a fault and milder mannered than his better known cousin, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Cardis, as their admirers call them, are equally at home as a pampered house pet or rounding up livestock on a farm. A Cardi is highly active inside and almost as active outside. But he does not have the intensity and excess drive of many of the dogs in the Herding group. A day off won’t have him bouncing off walls and you losing your sanity. The adaptable Cardi can live with moderate exercise and a loving family. That does not mean he won’t continue to use his voice freely as a first-class watchdog, because he will; he even makes a good guard dog. He may still try to herd his flock, both human and household pets alike, nipping as he goes. But raised to chase strays from his own farm, he will likely chase away strange dogs or cats. Neither demanding of attention nor aloof with family, the Cardi is happy to play or cuddle when desired, otherwise curl up out of the way. They are good with considerate children, polite with guests, and reserved with strangers, as one would expect from a natural watch dog. One of the few challenges with this often overlooked candidate for the family dog is a tendency to bark.

Physical Characteristics

The Cardigan is a small dog with short, stocky legs. Measured at the withers, they should be between 10.5 and 12.5 inches tall and weight between 25 and 35 pounds. They have a dense, medium-length coat that comes in the colors of red, sable, brindle, black with or without colored points and blue merle with or without colored points. White accents are acceptable with any coat color. Unlike their Pembroke cousins who have no tail, Cardis have a thick, bushy tail. Cardigans require less grooming than the average dog. But weekly brushing is important to reduce their shedding which is constant throughout the year and heavy twice yearly when they should be brushed daily. They are content in a temperate climate.

Trainer's Notes

The Cardigan is bright, learns quickly, and is a joy to train. But like any herding dog, they have their own sense of judgment and problem-solving abilities. As an owner you need to establish and consistently enforce the rules he is to live by or he will make up his own. They make a good choice for a first-time dog owner.

Photo © by sannse available under the GNUFDL
Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi


The most significant genetic health problem affecting the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is Hip Dysplasia which is present in about 1 of every 5 dogs. Almost 1 in 10 dogs have some problem with Patellar Luxation. PRA which leads to blindness is also a problem in the breed. When buying a puppy make sure at least one parent tests free of the condition. Back problems which can be minimized by preventing excessive jumping, stair climbing, sitting them up on their haunches, proper support when picking them up, and preventing obesity, to which they are prone complete the list of frequently seen issues with the breed. They usually live to between 12 and 15 years of age.


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi ranks 79th on the AKC’s list of most popular dogs with about 1,000 registered each year.

Breed History

Decending from the Teckel group of dogs that also produced the Dachshund, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is believed to have been in existence in Wales for over 3,000 years. It is believed they were brought by Celtic tribes who migrated from central Europe. When the Vikings invaded Wales 1,000 years ago, a Spitz-type dog was introduced. These dogs were bred with the original Corgi to produce the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. The dogs that lived in remote areas and were untouched by this breeding were the descendants of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, named after Cardiganshire. Cardigans were imported to America in 1931. When the Cardigan and Pembroke were first admitted to the American Kennel Club in early 1934, they were grouped together. However, in December of that same year, they were recognized as two distinct breeds.

Additional Information

Both Elizabeth II and George VI of England kept Corgis. Other notable Corgi owners include Dick Clark and Mickey Rooney. You can find out more about the Cardigan Welsh Corgi at the (US) parent breed club which is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America.

Is A Cardigan Welsh Corgi THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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