Let's talk Welsh Corgi Cardigans

Sometimes described as a big dog in a small package, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan looks almost like a miniature wolf. They resemble their wild-animal ancestors in being intelligent and resourceful, too, and have great stamina and resilience. Originally bred as herding dogs, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan will benefit from plenty of outdoor exercise but are content to be at home in the heart of the family as well. These hardy little animals also have a longer-than-average lifespan. 

Official name:  Welsh Corgi Cardigan

Other names:  Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Cardigan

Origins: Wales

Black and white image of a Cardigan Welsh Corgi
 Drooling tendencies

 Very low

 Warm weather? Medium
 Grooming needs    Cold weather? Medium
 Shedding level  High  Suited to apartment living*  High
 Barking tendencies  High  Can stay alone?* Medium
 Energy Level*   Low  Family Pet?* Very high
 Compatibility with other pets  High    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of a standing Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Male
31 - 32 cm Height
13.5 - 17 kg Weight
Female
31 - 32 cm Height
11 - 15 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

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Get to know the Welsh Corgi Cardigan

All you need to know about the breed

Given the history of the Welsh Corgi Cardigan as a herding animal, it’s perhaps no surprise that they still retain many of those inherent qualities today. They are always up for being in the great outdoors, scurrying around in the fields, and also make good watchdogs for their human families. 

While they may be relatively small in stature, they actually have many of the qualities of a much larger animal. For instance, in terms of their personality, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan is smart, fearless and bold. In short, not much fazes these little guys. 

Even in their features, they look more like a larger dog – or even a wolf or a fox. Characterised by their large expressive eyes and prominent pricked ears, they are a very handsome breed. And even though their bodies hang low and long, they are both agile and powerful, and can move surprisingly quickly. 

Despite their rugged, outdoorsy image, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan also has a calm temperament – and they are very affectionate animals too. They train well, so they’re usually great with children and other pets, and their laid-back, sociable nature make them an ideal companion all-round. On top of all that, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan has a good lifespan, too.

Notable for their varied markings, their thick double coat comes in several colours – from red to the popular blue-merle pattern – meaning each dog can look quite different from another. Incidentally, the easiest way to distinguish the Welsh Corgi Cardigan from their similar ‘cousins’, the Welsh Corgi Pembroke, is to look at their hindquarters. While Cardigans have a longish tail, the Pembroke does not – and the Cardigan is also slightly larger.

Over the last few decades, Corgis have found fame as the favoured dogs of the Queen of England who has owned more than 30 Pembrokes during her lifetime (don’t tell the Cardigan…). As a result, Corgis also had a starring role on our screens recently in the hit Netflix series, The Crown.

Black and white Cardigan Welsh Corgi panting in hay field

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2 facts about Welsh Corgi Cardigans

1. Historic British breed

The Welsh Corgi Cardigan is the older of the two Corgi dog breeds – and pre-dates the Pembroke by some 2,000 years. Amazingly, they have been a resident of Wales since around 1,200 BC.

2. Safe and sound 

Their distinctive large ears not only look rather cute but also perform an important function. The Welsh Corgi Cardigan has first-class hearing that can prove invaluable in their role as a watchdog. Rest assured, not much gets past a Corgi!

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History of the breed

One of the oldest breeds in the British Isles, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan has been with us for more than 3,000 years. Hailing from the historic county of Cardiganshire, in Wales, their name comes from the Celtic word for dog – which is “kergie”.

Down the centuries, this small but powerful breed has been used mainly to herd cattle. The size of the Welsh Corgi Cardigan made them the ideal height to snap at the heels of the herd, but they were also fast enough to dodge a kick. At night, they would help guard against any potential predators.

At other times in their long history, Welsh Corgi Cardigans have also worked as hunting partners and watchdogs. These days, though, they are most often a beloved family pet. They first arrived in the U.S. in the 1930’s – being formally recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1935 – and the breed soon took off there as well.

The history of the Welsh Corgi Cardigan is also closely tied to that of their ‘cousins’, the Welsh Corgi Pembroke, and for a long time they were considered to be one and the same. In actual fact, they don’t share a common ancestor and come from different parts of Wales. The Welsh Corgi Cardigan also has slightly different physical characteristics.

Black and white portrait of a sitting Cardigan Welsh Corgi

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Welsh Corgi Cardigans

1. Colouring

Darker “mask” marking on short-nosed muzzle

2. Head

Massive head and medium-sized ears folded over

3. Body

Long, solid and muscular body

4. Coat

Short, smooth coat in shades of brindle, grey and fawn

5. Tail

Thick tail, tapering towards the end

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Welsh Corgi Cardigan
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This is a breed with few health problems, but be aware of back issues

Because of their long, low bodies, and relatively short limbs, this can make Welsh Corgi Cardigans more susceptible to spinal injury or a slipped disc. They should therefore be kept away from any high surfaces – and, in fact, from anywhere where they might attempt to jump, such as the bed or the couch. Even the stairs can be a problem for them, so it’s best to avoid those, too, as well as any steps on their walks. If you do run into any issues, your Welsh Corgi Cardigan should be taken to the vet as soon as possible so suitable treatment can be administered.

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It's a good idea to keep an eye on their calorie intake

This is quite important because if the Welsh Corgi Cardigan  puts on weight, this can put an extra strain on their back. They should therefore have a low-calorie formula, which contains high-quality protein, and treats should be kept to a minimum. Check out our ‘Healthy Diet, Healthier Dog’ section for more facts on the Welsh Corgi Cardigan and the best sort of nutrition for different stages in their life. Because of their working dog origins, the Cardigan will also appreciate regular outdoor exercise, and this will help to keep them in shape too.

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Another complaint that can affect them is eye conditions

As Welsh Corgi Cardigans start to age, their eyes can begin to deteriorate in the same way as those of humans. Although many problems can happen at any age – such as a corneal ulcer, conjunctivitis, blocked tear ducts etc – some tend to develop with age – like glaucoma, cataracts or even neoplasia (cancer). Thankfully, most conditions can be treated successfully, so if you notice any discomfort in one or both eyes, it’s best to go and see your vet right away. The earlier the diagnosis is established, the better the outcome. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to check your dog’s eyes on a regular basis.

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Caring for your Welsh Corgi Cardigan

Grooming, training and exercise tips

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In terms of grooming, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan is very easy in that respect too. Although they are a double-coated breed, with a soft, thick undercoat and a longer, tougher outer coat, they should be fine with a good brush around once a week. It’s also a myth that they need their fur cut short for the summer. However, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan is quite a high-shedding breed and will require daily brushing during that time. An undercoat ‘rake’ will help remove any excess hair. They should also have an occasional bath. In addition, their nails should be clipped as required, ears checked regularly and teeth brushed daily or as often as possible. 

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Smart, spirited and occasionally a little stubborn, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan will benefit from early puppy-training classes. That way, you can hopefully get them into good habits before they become too set in their ways. As the Welsh Corgi Cardigan can also be a bit barky sometimes, the early socialisation will help to counter that. Also quite sensitive animals, a gentle training technique based around positive reinforcement and healthy rewards works best. Highly intelligent dogs, Welsh Corgi Cardigans can also go on to excel in canine sports, such as agility, obedience and tracking. Just remember to keep in mind the potential for injury of the Cardigan’s long back.

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As mentioned earlier, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan was originally bred as a working dog and therefore had a busy lifestyle. Even today, they remain an energetic breed and still need their daily fix of physical activity. So, whether it’s a hike through the fields, a trip to the dog park or a simple walk, the Welsh Corgi Cardigan will always enjoy exercise outdoors – along with a healthy dose of socialising with other animals thrown in. However, because of their short legs and bulky bodies, they don’t make good jogging partners and they’re not great swimmers either. But don’t hold it against them, they are so good at other things.

All about Welsh Corgi Cardigans

There are two distinct breeds of Welsh Corgi: the Cardigan and the Pembroke. The easiest way to tell the difference between them is that the Cardigan has a longish tail whereas the Pembroke does not. Also, in terms of size, the Cardigan is usually slightly larger than the Pembroke. Lastly, the Cardigan has gently rounded ears while those of the Pembroke have pointy tips.

Known for their long, low-set bodies, Welsh Corgi Cardigans are solid and sturdy but not particularly large. The male will peak at somewhere between 13.5-17kg (30-38lb). They won’t usually grow beyond 30.5cm (12 inches) maximum.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/