Imagine crossing a venerable four-legged member of the law enforcement and military defense organizations with a royal lapdog often seen at the heels if not the laps of the royal family and you’ve got one of the weirdest, craziest, albeit winning combination of a dog hybrid. We’re talking about the Welsh Corgi and the German Shepherd mix, of course. The Corman Shepherd, as the mix is fondly called, personifies a style of romance that is quite The Lady and the Tramp-like. Both progenitors of the Corman are known to be excellent herding dogs, intelligent, very loyal, very active, and very popular. It seems natural that the two are mixed to provide the world with a true class act.
History of the Corgi German Shepherd Mix
Not much is known about the origins of the Corman Shepherd or who first hybridized it or where. What is known is that this breed has been around for about 2 decades which should put their beginnings in the mid-1990s to the turn of the new millennia or perhaps shortly thereafter. What is also known is that the Corman was developed in the US after crossing a Welsh Corgi with a German Shepherd.
It should be understood that the large discrepancy in size will make mating via natural methods especially challenging, which begs the question whether the Corman is a product of artificial insemination or not. It sure looks that way since having a male GSD mount a little Corgi is quite ridiculous. Having it the other way around will look equally insane. Moreover, it is imperative that the bigger GSD be the recipient of the other’s sperm since it is bigger and should accommodate a growing Corman mix inside its uterus.
The thing about designer breeds is that no one can actually be sure how the puppy will turn out. You’ve got 50% of the traits from a GSD and another 50% from the Welsh Corgi. This is different from the 50-50 split of the same breed. You’re talking about two different breeds here that have different traits or characteristics. While some say hybrids are studier, it is not necessarily the case since you’ve still got to factor which of the two breeds will have its genes coming out as more dominant.
Nevertheless, the Corman Shepherd came from two of the world’s best herding dogs that have their common roots traced to the spitzes of the northern hemisphere. This alone could very well provide the important information needed to feel confident about the hybrid’s soundness.
Who are the Parents?
Understanding the Corman Shepherd means understanding its lineage. Again, this will only give you a very rudimentary understanding of the possible outcomes of crossbreeding as everything still depends on how much of a purebred your German shepherd or your Welsh Corgi is.
The most popular dog breed in the AKC after the Labrador retriever, the German shepherd is best known for its intelligence, unquestionable loyalty, unparalleled courage, and undisputable confidence. It’s forever watchful, very curious, and alert. It is the product of German insistence on producing the best possible working dog the world has ever seen.
The German shepherd carries the genes of a French herding breed and 5 Italian breeds designed specifically for herding. In the early 19th century, the GSD was part of a trio of herding dogs that reigned supreme in Europe. It shared its characteristics with the Dutch shepherd and the Belgian shepherd, forming what the region called the Continental shepherd dog.
It was Max von Stephanitz who really admired the ability, intelligence, loyalty, beauty, and the strength of the GSD that he set out on a quest to make the best GSD through selective breeding. Today, the GSD is the preferred breed by members in the military, law enforcement, search and rescue, and even therapeutic organizations because of the breed’s intelligence, easy trainability, loyalty, dedication, and confidence.
The GSD can grow up to 26 inches at its shoulder and weigh as much as 90 pounds. It has a relatively shorter lifespan than other dogs at 13 years which can be attributed to a host of health conditions that can impact its quality of life. These can include hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, heart problems, vision problems, immune-mediated disorders, bleeding disorders, epilepsy, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and hemangiosarcoma, among others.
Fun-loving, intelligent, highly trainable, and kid-friendly, the Welsh corgi is believed to have been a gift to Wales from the fairies some 1,000 years ago. This is perhaps in reference to the classic white ‘harness’ marks on the Corgi’s shoulders or the ‘saddle’ mark on the breed’s back. Scientists, however, say that the fox-like attributes of the corgi give it a genetic link to other Spitz types of dogs that trace their ancestry to the wolf-like dogs of the north. The Welsh corgi shares its genetics with the Norwegian Lundehund and the Swedish Vallhund.
The corgi is known as a healer. Because of its relatively small size, no taller than a foot at the shoulder, the corgi can easily nip at the heels of larger animals such as cattle which it needs to herd. They were famed for herding dogs and the open grassy fields of Cardigan and Pembroke in Wales proved to be both their working area and their playground.
The Welsh corgi is the most revered breed by Queen Elizabeth II, having been seen in many of the Queen’s photographs. The Queen owns about 4 or 5 at a time, beginning with Susan, the Welsh corgi that was given on the Queen’s 18th birthday. Many of the royal corgis are descendants of Susan.
The corgi is an outgoing, alert, and highly active dog. It loves kids, other people, and other pets. It has a very watchful nature and can be quite a barker if it senses something off. It’s intelligent, playful, and highly trainable. It sheds quite heavily, unfortunately, and is known for developing hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, eye problems, epilepsy, and degenerative myelopathy, among others.
Here are some quick facts you need to know about the Corman shepherd.
- The Corman can grow up to 15 inches with a minimum of about 12 inches. The height is for both male and female Cormans.
- It can grow anywhere between 20 pounds or 70 pounds, depending on whose trait for weight is more dominant. If it’s the GSD that’s more dominant you can expect the Corman to be taller.
- The Corman shepherd will typically have a thick double coat that will require frequent brushing and grooming as it has the tendency to shed a lot, pretty much the characteristic of its parents.
- The colors and markings on the Corman can be part GSD and part Corgi, although black, white, and brown will usually be very dominant.
- Corman shepherds are alert, loyal, intelligent, energetic, and very friendly, especially to kids.
- They need plenty of exercise and playtime. It is a must that they are subjected to early socialization and training if you want them to grow as well-rounded hounds.
It is imperative that you understand where these characteristics are coming from. You’ve got two different breeds, albeit sharing a genetic link. This means that the traits that you may get are different from other Corman shepherds you may have already seen.
Things You Should Know
If you’re considering bringing home a Corman shepherd, it is always wise to take a much closer look at what you’re getting into. Remember, this is a hybrid. And as all hybrids go, there’s no telling what the puppy will grow up into. Here are some of the things you should really know.
The Corman is intelligent, being the offspring of the number 2 and number 19 of the world’s most intelligent dog breeds. While it is intelligent, it is important to use these cognitive abilities to the hilt. Training should start while they are still puppies. If training is not started in earnest, you’ll find that the Corman’s intelligence can easily turn into stubbornness. The GSD in the Corman can sniff a pack leader in a human. Be prepared to be the leader; otherwise, it will make you follow its lead.
Dogs require high protein dog food and the Corman is no exception. Their bemuscled bodies require a rich source of animal proteins plus the additional nutrients supplied by healthy carbs such as vegetables and fruits. Adult Cormans require twice daily meals to maintain their nutrient requirements.
Both the GSD and the Welsh corgi are bred for work. Both are respected herders. And while the GSD has found other occupations in the service industry and the Corgi has found a place as a companion dog, the Corman will still require 60 minutes of exercise every day. One should also include mental stimulation by giving Cormans the appropriate toys to help them use their brains in solving problems. Failure to do so can lead to a host of behavioral issues. Cormans love to run, reliving their instincts to round up the flock. They love to wrestle as if taking down a much larger target. Whatever exercise you can think of, make sure that its energy is supported by a calorie- and protein-rich diet.
Cormans are especially friendly with kids and other pets. However, this trait should be nurtured from the very start. If the Corman puppy is not socialized early on, you’ll find its confident nature to be quite a handful as it can throw its weight around others. It also has the tendency to bark, but this has been somehow tamed by the GSD in the Corman. Regardless, puppy kindergarten classes should help.
Aside from the regular brushing of the teeth and clipping of the nails, the Corman will require frequent daily brushing as its dense double coat tends to shed. It is especially prone to tangling and matting so daily brushing is needed. Also, the Corman is not a really good pet for those with allergies to pet dander.
Both parents of the Corman shepherd are prone to hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy. They are also very prone to bloat as well as its most serious complication, gastric torsion which typically requires emergency surgery. Corman shepherds, as sturdy and well-built as they may be, are not immune to allergies, eye problems, and even cardiovascular and immune-mediated problems. You should always check the parents of the Corman you want to buy for a clean bill of health.
Generally, a Corman shepherd will be ideal for the following individuals.
- Those who have a basic understanding of the importance of early dog obedience training
- Those who can devote at least an hour every day for exercise and playtime
- Pet parents who lead an otherwise healthy and active lifestyle
- Folks who require a very alert and curious dog
- Individuals who don’t mind brushing the coat every day
Conversely, the Corman is definitely not for the following folks.
- Those with pet dander allergies or who have family members who are allergic to pet dander
- Those who barely have the time to take their dogs for a walk, much less exercise
- Those who absolutely hate puppy training and early socialization
- Those who despise grooming especially daily brushing
The loyalty of a Corman is unquestionable. Train it as a puppy and you’ll be gifted with a hound that will forever stay by your side and protect your family at all cost. It loves the attention that its human masters give it, especially when given the chance to play out their herding and working instincts. After all, both the corgi and the GSD are designed specifically to work and help out their human masters.
That being said, failure to train them or to show them the way can spell a lot of behavioral problems. They’re bred to work, despite their size. If this energy is not used in a very constructive manner, the Corman can easily bring destruction to any home. Pet parents learn early enough that the Corman is never to be messed with. It needs direction for its high intelligence. Otherwise, it will show you just who the boss in the house is.
The Corman is the result of crossbreeding two of the planet’s best herding dogs. And while its parents may have found separate callings, the Corman shepherd remains true to its genetic link to the northern wolfdog: sturdy, intelligent, charming, and a workaholic.