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Welsh Corgi - Cardigan Dog Breed

Average sizes and life expectancy for this breed:

height 27-32 cm
weight 11-17 kg
lifespan 12-14+ years


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is believed to have existed in Wales for more than 3,000 years and is classed as one of the oldest herding breeds. They are older than the other recognised Corgi breed, the Pembroke. Their name comes from the words “cor gi” which means “dwarf dog”.

The Welsh Corgi was considered to be a single breed until 1934 when they finally split into the Cardigan and the Pembroke. The Cardigan Welsh Corgis belong to the American Kennel Club’s Herding Group and are documented by the United Kennel Club.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi was originally utilised to move cattle to market and as farm guardians. Today, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is tough, fun-loving, and affectionate. They enjoy spending time with their families. They are also an energetic playmate for school-age kids.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are fondly nicknamed Cardigans, Cardis, or CWCs. This dog breed has an alert, attentive, yet approachable expression. They have dense double coats which are slightly harsher in texture compared to the Pembroke Corgi. They come in various coat colours and patterns, including brindle, red, black, and blue, commonly with white markings.

In general terms, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is fairly laid back and often reserved with strangers. However, with appropriate training, these dogs can become much-loved members of the family.

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Featured Image
Summary Image
  • iconGitBranch Registration: KC, AKC, FCI
  • iconGlobe Country of Origin: United Kingdom
  • iconArrowOutSimple Size: Small
  • iconDog Coat: Short
  • iconSwatches Colours: Variety, including black, blue, and brindle
  • iconBrain Temperament: Loyal, affectionate, intelligent, alert, playful, even-tempered

Exercise Needed Daily: 1 hour


Shedding: High


Type of home: House with a Garden


Training: Easy


Hypoallergenic: No


Potentially dangerous: No


Grooming: Twice a Week


Watchdog Ability: Intensive


Barking Level: Medium


Good with Children: Yes


Environment: City & Countryside


Good with Other Animals: Yes



The Cardigan Welsh Corgi originated in Wales, United Kingdom. They are believed to have descended from the German Teckel lineage, which is the same line as the Dachshund, that arrived in Wales around 1200 BC. Their name is derived from “Cor gi” which means “dwarf dog” in Welsh. Interestingly, despite their similarities in appearance, Cardigan and Pembroke Corgis have entirely different lineages. Pembrokes are derived from Nordic Spitz breeds and were often found in the flat terrain of Pembrokeshire. Conversely, Cardigan Welsh Corgis were found in the rough, rocky terrain of Cardiganshire, South Wales.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are generally larger and more heavily boned than Pembroke Corgis. They also have more fox-like tails and more variation in coat colours. Welsh Corgi Cardigans were initially bred to be farm guardians but were later promoted to cattle herders. At this time, it is thought that these dogs were crossed with Collies to create a more versatile working dog.

These dogs were first shown in England in 1919. However, both the Pembroke and the Cardigan were still classed as the same breed at this time. So, they were allowed to be cross-bred. It wasn’t until 1934, that the Kennel Club finally recognised them as two distinct breeds.

In 1932, the first two Cardigan Welsh Corgis were exported to America. The first female to arrive in the country was ‘Cassie’ who was already famous in the UK for producing high-quality puppies. The first champion of the breed in America was ‘Megan’, a red and white female who was whelped in 1933.

Today, these affectionate dogs are still being used as flock herders because of their impressive work ethic and guarding abilities. However, they have also become popular as beloved canine companions.

Breed History
Breed Appearance


The two Corgis breeds are very similar in appearance. They are both sturdy-looking dogs that have a great amount of stamina and endurance. Cardies are longer in the body than they are tall. They have very fox-like heads with broad skulls that are flat between the ears and taper toward the eyes. This gives the head a somewhat domed appearance. Their stops are moderate and they have clean-cut jaws.

These dogs have medium-sized eyes that are dark in colour and set obliquely with the corners very well-defined. Cardies always have a keen, interested, and kind look in their eyes that add to their appealing appearance. If they have blue merle coats, they can have blue or blue-flecked eyes in one or both eyes. Their ears are a little large in proportion to their body and held erect.

Their well-developed necks are muscular, nicely proportioned, and slope well back into their muscular shoulders. They have short but powerful and muscular front legs that have a good amount of boning right down to the feet. Cardies have compact bodies, prominent breast bones, and broad chests. Their deep briskets have well-sprung ribs, a level topline, and a well-defined waist.

These muscular dogs have strong hindquarters with short but extremely powerful back legs. Their back feet are tight, round, and well-padded. Cardigan Welsh Corgis have very fox-like tails that are bushy and set in line with the body. Cardies generally carry their tails low when relaxed but higher when working or alert.

These dogs have short, double coats. Their top coats are extremely weatherproof and harsh to the touch. However, the undercoat is much denser and softer.

Acceptable coat colours of this breed are:

  • Brindle
  • Blue merle
  • Sable
  • Red
  • Tricolour with brindle points
  • Tricolour with red points

All of these colour combinations can have white markings on the head, neck, chest, underparts, legs, feet, and at the end of the tail. However, white should not dominate the overall colour of the coat according to the UK breed standard.


The well-known Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a socialite. However, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is more relaxed, even-tempered, and less extroverted. Cardis are usually a little reserved with strangers. However, they are playful once they get to know you. Cardigan Welsh Corgis are not identified as nuisance barkers but you should expect a moderate amount of barking because these dogs can get vocal when excited or bored.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi does not spend much time herding cattle nowadays, but they still have the instinct for it. They are excellent family canine companions and show dogs with adjustable personalities and responsible characters.

This dog breed can be less friendly and more territorial than its Pembroke counterpart. They are generally good with kids, and their intelligence makes them highly trainable. That being said, they are independent thinkers so training must remain consistent.

Like every dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgis need early socialisation and exposure to various people, experiences, sights, and sounds from puppyhood. Socialisation helps to ensure that your puppy grows up to be a well-mannered and well-rounded dog.

These dogs are a good option for first-time dog owners. This is because of their amenable and friendly natures. They love nothing more than to please and entertain their human companions. Cardigan Welsh Corgis are known to be good with children and the elderly.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are also highly adaptable canines as long as they are given sufficient daily exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom. They can be happy and content living in the city in an apartment or a big house in the country.

These adorable dogs form deep ties with their human companions. However, they generally do not suffer from separation anxiety when they are left alone on their own – just make sure that they are not left to their own devices for too long.

Breed Personality
Breed Trainability


It cannot be emphasised enough that early and regular socialisation is of the highest importance if you want a happy, content, and obedient Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Owners must gently expose a puppy to different kinds of people, situations, and places.

It’s a good idea to enroll your dog in training classes and let all members of the family partake. Don’t accept inappropriate behaviour, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from a qualified trainer or dog behaviourist if you are struggling. Early on, small efforts like this will reward you with a Cardi dog that you will love and adore.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are known to be fairly easy to train due to their high intelligence. They pick up commands with ease if you use positive reinforcement-based training. However, you must remain confident and consistent with training as these dogs have an independent streak.

Coat & Care

A good brush of their gorgeous coats at least twice a week should keep the Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s coat healthy and looking its best. Some dog owners incorrectly feel that they should have their Cardigan Welsh Corgi trimmed short for the summer season. However, this is not necessary. Cardi’s coats are designed to preserve body heat and control airflow to the skin. So, cutting it too short can lead to health issues. Saying that, bear in mind that a black Cardigan Welsh Corgi will absorb more heat on a sunny day; thus, extra care should be taken to prevent overexposure during hot weather.

For their dental health, brush their teeth at least 2 or 3 times a week to eliminate tartar buildup and bacteria. Daily brushing is better if you want to avoid gum disease and bad breath.

Trim their nails once or twice a month or as needed. If you are unsure how to do this, speak to your vet or a qualified groomer for advice.

Their ears must be checked weekly for redness, swelling, or a foul odour which can indicate an infection. When you check their ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a vet-approved, gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help stop ear infections. Also, don't insert anything into the ear canal as this can damage the inner ear.

As you groom your Cardigan Welsh Corgi, check for rashes, sores, inflammation, or any other signs of infection, particularly on the skin, eyes, nose, mouth, and feet. Their eyes must be clear, with no discharge.

Breed Coat & Care
Breed Health


Cardigan Welsh Corgis are a relatively healthy dog breed. Their life expectancy is 12-14 years with proper care, exercise, and a high-quality diet. However, there are certain health conditions that Cardigan Welsh Corgis might be prone to. It’s always best to purchase a puppy from a licensed and trustworthy breeder to ensure they have been appropriately socialised and weaned. A good breeder will also perform tests to ensure that no underlying health issues are present.

Some health conditions seen in Cardigan Welsh Corgis include:

  • Intervertebral Disk Disease – This is one of the most common conditions seen in Cardigan Welsh Corgis. They are especially susceptible to having back problems, due to their elongated body structure. This may be because of genetics, shifting the wrong way, or dropping or jumping on or off furniture.
  • Hip Dysplasia – An irregular formation of the hip socket that can lead to pain and lameness.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy – An incurable, progressive health condition of the canine spinal cord that is similar in many ways to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Children & Other Pets

Cardigan Welsh Corgis love children. However, their herding instincts can sometimes take over and lead to nipping. For this reason, it's important that you supervise all interactions between your dog and children. These dogs learn fast so this behaviour should not be tolerated.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are commonly friendly towards other pets in the household as long as they have been socialised with them from puppyhood. Always introduce new dogs with care to prevent any mishaps or displays of aggression. Cardis tend to be fairly territorial with other dogs and cats so supervision is important.

Breed with Children & Other Pets

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Similar Breeds

Welsh Corgi - Pembroke Dog Breed

Welsh Corgi - Pembroke

United Kingdom

Size Size : Small

Coat Coat : Short

Registration Registration : KC, AKC, FCI

Exercise Exercise : 1 hour

Training Training : Easy

Grooming Grooming : Twice a Week


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