Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Information, Characteristics, Pictures and Facts

Cardigan Welsh Corgi: Breed Information, Characteristics, Pictures and Facts

Corgis are an exceptionally popular breed for several reasons. They’re beloved by the Queen of the United Kingdom, clever herding dogs, and affectionate companions. Not only are they adorable, but they are faithful, intelligent, and deceptively fast, hard-working dogs. Do not allow their small legs deceive you as Cardigan Welsh Corgi dogs are a herding breed for good reasoning.

If you’re looking for your new best friend and have narrowed your research down to the adorable Welsh Corgi dog breed, then we have all of the information you need to help you make your final decision.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi – Breed Overview

Breed GroupHeightWeightLife ExpectancyEnergy LevelLitter Size
Herding10 - 13 inches25-38lbs12-15 yearsModerate to high4 - 6 pups

A History of the Welsh Corgi

Due to the interbreeding of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, before 1934, these were considered one breed in the UK. However, not long after the Cardigan Welsh arrived in the United States it was eventually distinguished that there were two Corgi breeds.

Where did Cardigan Corgis come from?

Cardigans were brought in their aboriginal form to Cardiganshire, near to South Wales, by Celtics from central Europe in 1200BC. They are descended from the Teckel and Spitz families, which also bred the Dachshund. The Cardigan Welsh Corgis are considerably older than Pembrokes and are said to be one of the oldest breeds of the British Isles.

Sources say that the arrival of the Spitz-type dog was due to Vikings invading Wales. The breeding of the Spitz family and the original Corgis are what is responsible for the development of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Cattle Herding Dogs

The area of Cardiganshire was primarily hills and farms and eventually, Cardigan Corgis were found to be extremely valuable working dogs. The breed’s main job, as a farm dog, was to drive cattle from Welsh farms to English markets as well as hunt vermin and protect the farm and family. Due to their smaller frame and short legs, their method of driving cattle was practical to farmers as they would effectively run behind them and nip at their heels. The Cardigans’ smaller build and agility would protect them from kicks or being stepped on by the cattle.

Show Dogs

During the late 1800s, dog shows began to develop and quickly became popular. Initially, Corgis’ were not a common choice of breed to enter into dog pageantry but began to get more attention during the 1920s. This would lead to the formation of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America in 1935 who are known to hold annual contests for champions named “The Megan Competition.”

Cute Welsh corgi dog sitting on stone

Breed Information

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi dog is not as popular as their Pembroke cousin but that doesn’t mean they’re not as valuable or that they’re lesser in any way. Cardigans are known to be loyal, affectionate, and energetic companions.

The Welsh Corgi dog breed is by no means a couch potato; their active nature means that they can be playful and difficult to wear out which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Given good nurturing and socialization, Cardigans can make a wonderful addition to your family especially one with children and other fur friends.

Due to their working nature, Cardigans are particularly watchful and may not be warm to unfamiliar dogs or strangers as quickly as other dog breeds, but this doesn’t imply that they are aggressive in behavior.

A useful piece of dog breed information to add is that the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a separate breed from the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. We have a handy guide to establishing the difference between the two which can be found here.

Breed Appearance

When you think of herding breeds you may think of a Border Collie or an Australian Shepard which have similar medium frames complete with an agile appearance. A Cardigan Welsh Corgi is still agile but not what you might expect a working dog to look like as they have shorter, curved legs and long sturdy bodies.

A key physical feature of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is their upright, large ears, and varying colored coats. Cardigan Corgis also have a long, bushy tail, unlike Pembrokes who are known for having a naturally short, stubbed tail.


The average height of a Cardigan Welsh is between 10 and 13 inches tall. They are medium-sized dogs with longer bodies which are usually measured at around 24-29 inches in length.

The weight of a Cardigan Welsh Corgi can depend on their gender. A healthy adult male usually weighs between 30-38 pounds whereas an adult female should weigh between 25-34 pounds.

Coat Color, and Markings

The coat color of a Cardigan can vary as they can be shades of red, sable, and brindle. Black and grey marbled blue merle with, or without, tan or brindle points are also common. Cardigan Corgis often have white markings on their muzzle, neck, chest, legs, belly, and tail tip.

Although there is no color preference or ideal markings required of a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, any coat color not mentioned above will not be recognized as breed standard according to the AKC.

Fun Facts

  • Despite what some may think, Cardigan Corgis do not get their name from wearing fashionable knitted attire. “Corgi” means “Dwarf dog”. As “Cor” is “Dwarf” and “gi/ci” is “dog”.
  • Ancient Welsh law strictly protected the Cardigan Corgi from theft and harm due to their help with economic status
  • Their ears are extremely sensitive to sounds. This would make herding cattle easier as they could use their hearing to identify if a cow was about to kick.
  • The Cardigan Welsh Corgi dog breed has been around for over 3000 years
  • The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Association has been dedicated to the dog breed since 1926

(We saved the best fun fact until last)

  • According to Welsh legend, Corgis were used by fairies and elves as steeds. These mythical beings would ride this dog breed into battle and it is suggested that their significant coat markings vaguely resemble the outlines of a saddle and harness.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Personality

Finding out what kind of personality to expect when looking through different breeds is important. It’s necessary to find a dog breed that will match your lifestyle and research whether or not you can provide for them and their needs.


Cardigans are an energetic breed of dog due to their innate working nature. They were bred to herd and travel, as well as hunt vermin, so their energy levels will be high compared to other dog breeds. They are generally loving dogs with affectionate personalities but can also be independent at times with wariness to strangers. Also, as loving as this breed can be there are a couple of things to consider if you have children and other pets in the house.

Children and Pets

Although Cardigan Welsh Corgis don’t spend a lot of time nipping cattle’s feet anymore, their herding instincts may still be present as they may try to herd children or other fur friends. This is not an uncommon trait however it is usually something they can be taught not to do unless you like to have your children and other pets organized into rooms.

If socialized with care and attention, Cardigans are especially loving and responsible towards children and therefore can make great family pets. They can even bond well with other animals you may have including other dogs and cats.

Vocalities and Barking

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are vocal dogs as they would use their bark to communicate with their owners when herding or alerting them to dangers. When owning a Cardigan, you can expect them to be vocal in more ways than one as they are known to grunt, grumble, and whine. This is their way of communicating to their owners a variety of things such as boredom, happiness, concern, or they could simply be telling you to feed them.

How To Entertain a Corgi

Corgi breeds may be small, but their energy can sometimes feel limitless. Keeping them busy and engaging them actively will prevent them from ensuing destruction or nipping at your heels whilst doing housework. You can do this by exercising them frequently as well as buying toys suitable for outdoor use that’ll have them running around or fetching.


A Cardigans’ high perception is one of their defining traits as it makes socializing and training much easier. Lessons and teachings, even in adults, are likely to stick quicker as they are known to be adaptable by nature.

Mental Stimulation

Cardigan Welsh Corgis, as intelligent dogs, are prone to boredom and/or anxiety if left alone. If they are not stimulated well, they can turn to excessive barking or destruction of furniture. These clever breeds will need plenty of activities to keep them busy.

Welsh Corgi Cardigan in leaves

Health & Care

Understanding how to provide the best care can make sure your Cardigan Welsh has a happy and healthy life. Below we have listed the important things to consider when caring for Corgis including dietary needs and potential health issues. Overall, Cardigan Welsh Corgis are a healthy breed of dog with a life expectancy of between 12-15 years. However, this doesn’t mean they are immune to diseases that could alter their life span.


Training any breed of dog is a difficult task, although a Cardigan’s wise and attentive nature can make training somewhat easier for owners compared to other, more stubborn dog breeds.

Cardigan Corgis have been used in performance events and dog sports for a number of decades so teaching obedience can be fairly straightforward if you are equipped with the knowledge it takes to train a pup. Although if you are new to owning a dog, always research and ask for advice on how to effectively train your new pup, as sometimes lack of training can mean that they will misbehave or become antisocial.


All breeds have different dietary needs and when you’ve decided on a pooch you should always consult with a vet about what your fur friend will require to suit their needs. You will need to take into account their age, weight, activity levels, and height as they grow. These factors will affect what and how much your dog’s food intake should be.

A vet will recommend keeping a good eye on your poochs’ weight as they are prone to becoming a little plumper than other breeds. Overfeeding them can drastically increase the risk of developing health issues which will ultimately lower their life expectancy. If you are not sure what to feed your pooch, check our guide to the best dog food for corgis.

Exercise Requirements

Exercise is important for every type of dog and can help fight off obesity. Cardigans are active and energetic dogs so taking them out to get a daily walk or run around is essential. It’s also worth noting that they are not commonly opposed to more rigorous outdoor activities such as hiking and jogging.

Whilst they are dogs of stamina and have impressive speed, Cardigans are not water dogs. They are capable of swimming exceptionally well despite having short legs but it’s perhaps not their preferred form of exercise.

Living Conditions

Exercise may need to increase if your home is relatively small. A Corgi can happily live in a smaller space however their energy will need to be burned and their physical health will need to be maintained. If you are considering a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, ensure that you take them on regular walks or engage them in a variety of activities outdoors.


Cardigan Welsh Corgis have a low maintenance, medium-length, coat which means you will not have to trim or bathe them as often as other breeds. Due to their ancestors working in unpredictable weather, their coats are also weather-resistant so mud and water are less likely to stick although this doesn’t mean they will never need a pamper in the bath. It is not common for a Corgi’s coat to become matted or tangled but it can happen. Bathing and conditioning their coat can eliminate odors and help to smooth out matted fur.


Despite their coats being low maintenance, Cardigans have two coats, which include an undercoat. This can mean that they shed a lot more than other breeds. Their coat will still need to be brushed frequently to release dead hair which will ultimately make them lighter and more comfortable in warmer months.


As mentioned previously, the Cardigan is generally a healthy breed but that doesn’t mean they are immune to conditions and diseases. Looking after your dog’s health is important not only to keep their physical wellbeing strong but to keep them happy too. Unfortunately, breeds such as the Cardigan Welsh are not safe from some serious potential health problems so we’ve listed the most common conditions below.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Sadly, elbow and hip dysplasia can affect a variety of dog breeds and Cardigans are also vulnerable to this condition. This can be extremely painful for dogs and is often caused by underdeveloped joints or as a result of an injury. However, a healthy diet and exercise routine can greatly reduce the risk of dysplasia.

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

This disease commonly occurs in adult dogs and affects the spine. Gradually this disorder causes the destruction of the nerves within the spinal cord. Unfortunately, this fatal disease cannot be cured and can lead to paralysis. Having said that, if diagnosed early, the progression of the condition can be slowed down. In some cases, devices are available to help your dog maintain some mobility.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

This is an inherited eye disease in which the eyes eventually degenerate causing dogs to go blind. This is a terrible disease that currently has no treatment, however, it causes no pain to the dog it affects and will not lead to death.

Recommended Tests For Existing Corgi Owners

You can schedule your dog for a hip evaluation, PRA genetic clearance test, and a degenerative myelopathy DNA test to determine whether your pup is likely to develop these. The earlier you catch the onset of a disease the more likely you are of treating and slowing it down. Regular vet visits, regardless of their age, can also increase your chances of spotting these conditions sooner.


Cardigan Welsh Corgis are expensive, so if you’re intent on getting yourself a puppy then be prepared. Their popularity means that breeders may charge more and that puppies can cost anywhere between $1000-$2500 each.

Price may depend on where you are located and if the breeders are breeding “show dog” quality puppies. So always make sure you have a discussion with any breeder you may come into contact with to establish what factors are contributing to the price of a Cardigan Welsh Corgi puppy.

It is also common for prices to inflate due to the puppies not being bred often. A reputable breeder won’t breed their dogs too often, so puppies won’t always be readily available.

Always Ask For Documents

If a breeder offers you very little information regarding the puppy for sale, it is likely that they are unreliable and could be considered an unethical mill. Whereas a reliable dog breeder will provide you with everything you could possibly need to ensure that they are healthy and will remain so far into their adulthood.

Adopt Don’t Shop

A parent club such as the Cardigan Welsh Corgi of America will have resources to help you find and browse for your new fur friend, including Cardigans that may need a new home. Occasionally, you may find a Cardigan adult looking for a new home on websites such as this or even in your local shelters. Therefore it may be worth getting in touch with your local rescue organization or group to narrow down your search.

Two welsh corgi cardigan posing


Q: What is the difference between a Cardigan and Pembroke Corgi?

A: Pembrokes and Cardigans have a lot in common such as their short legs, larger ears, and a similar body length, however, a Cardigan has a long, bushy tail whereas the Pembroke doesn’t. A Pembroke also has a longer coat with limited shades and is visibly shorter than the Cardigan dog.

Q: Do Corgis like to cuddle?

A: Yes! And we recommend you cuddle them a lot. A Cardigan is a highly affectionate breed known for adoring its owners and being a loyal family protector.

Q: Are Corgis good house dogs?

A: Yes again! Given good socialization as a puppy, these dogs will develop into affectionate and amiable members of the family and great playmates for children and other animals.

To Conclude

If you’re a first-time dog owner this may be a strong breed to consider, however always do your research and ensure that you have everything you need to care for your new furry friend. These dogs are great for households that have children, and more than one other pet as they learn to develop their social skills and form a bond with others easily.


  1. Cardigan Welsh Corgi, UCDavis Veterinary Medicine
  2. Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Native Breed

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