What to Know About Cardigan Welsh Corgis

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on May 01, 2022

Cardigan Welsh corgis make great pets due to their friendly nature and the fact that they can be easily trained. It’s one of the oldest dog breeds, going back thousands of years. Known for its short legs and big ears, the Cardigan Welsh corgi has a big personality in a small package. If you’re looking for an energetic, well-tempered dog, this might be the perfect breed for you!

When it comes to the Cardigan Welsh corgi size, this is a small breed that has short legs and a compact body. The word corgi is believed to come from the Celtic words cor (dwarf) and gi (dog), giving it the name dwarf dog because of its appearance. It has also been called the yard dog (ci latharid in Celtic) since it measures about one Celtic yard from nose to tail. This is about 40 inches or 102 centimeters.

Cardigan Welsh corgis have fox-like heads and large, erect ears that are rounded at the top. They also have a long tail. The tail and ears are some of the key differences between the Cardigan and the Pembroke Welsh corgi, the breed that is favored by Queen Elizabeth II. The Pembroke Welsh corgi has a short, stubby tail and pointier ears. Both breeds weigh between 25 and 38 pounds (11 to 17 kilograms) and stand at about 10 to 12 inches in height at the shoulder.

This breed has a medium-length double coat, bushy tail, and a thick bib of hair in the front, under the neck. It can have several colors: red, black, brown, blue merle, or tricolor. However, its front bib is usually white, no matter what color the rest of the coat is.

Some Cardigan Welsh corgi traits are that it is a very intelligent breed and easy to train. This dog has a big personality and is known for its loyalty and sense of humor, making it an ideal pet. The Cardigan Welsh corgi temperament is quite even since it can adapt to different environments and situations. As they are herding dogs, this breed is alert, protective, and a good watchdog.

One thing to note is that this breed needs a lot of activity and stimulation to avoid boredom. Cardigan Welsh corgis are working dogs, so they are used to a good amount of exercise and may get into trouble if left alone for long periods. With this dog, you need to show it that you’re the leader, otherwise, it may act stubborn and headstrong. And while Cardigan Welsh corgis are extremely loyal and friendly with their families, they can be standoffish when they are around strangers.

Cardigan Welsh corgis have a good life expectancy compared to other breeds. On average, the Cardigan Welsh corgi's lifespan is between 12 and 15 years.

When it comes to grooming, your Cardigan Welsh corgi will need a good brushing at least once a week to keep its coat looking healthy. This breed sheds its coat twice a year, so during periods of heavy shedding, you should aim to give your dog a daily brushing. You should also keep the hair around the feet neatly trimmed to avoid tracking dirt and debris into the home.

A common misconception is that a Cardigan Welsh corgi coat needs to be trimmed short in the summer to keep cool. This breed has the right coat to maintain a normal body temperature under normal conditions. Note that corgis with black coats will absorb more heat on hot, sunny days, so you will want to be sure that your dog avoids the sunniest hours of the day during hot months.

Dental disease is a common problem that 80% of dogs experience by the age of two. It starts as a build-up of plaque on the teeth and eventually causes the gums and roots of the teeth to become infected. Cardigan Welsh corgis are more susceptible to dental problems than other breeds, so it’s important to brush their teeth on a daily basis, and have them professionally cleaned regularly to avoid losing teeth or other health problems.

Cardigan Welsh corgis have a lot of energy and enjoy exercise, so it’s important to take your dog out for daily walks. This keeps them healthy and stimulated. This breed is prone to boredom without regular exercise and mental stimulation and can sometimes act naughty as a result. Corgis can adapt to living in apartments or small homes as long as they get in some walking time each day. Even though they are quite active, they love attention and will be quite happy to curl up on the couch with you and relax.

Cardigan Welsh corgis have a tendency to easily become overweight, so their diet and nutrition are very important. Feed your dog high-quality dog food and avoid giving them people food or too many snacks. The amount you feed your dog can vary depending on their activity level, but two small meals a day is better than one large one. This is easier for your dog to digest and you can evaluate their hunger needs. To monitor your Corgi’s weight, see if you can find their ribs with your fingers. If you have difficulty finding them, your dog might be overweight.

In general, the Cardigan Welsh corgi is a very healthy breed, but it is genetically predisposed to some health problems more than other breeds. As mentioned, corgis can become overweight quite easily without enough exercise. Carrying around too much extra weight can lead to several problems in Cardigan Welsh corgis, including:

  • Joint problems
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Digestive disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Back pain

If your dog begs for food or treats, take them for a walk or play with them instead. This breed loves to play, especially games like fetch or ball.

Due to its body shape, the Cardigan Welsh corgi can have possible back problems. Their short legs and long, low bodies can make simple situations, like jumping or using stairs, potentially dangerous to their health. Dogs with this body type have the chance of developing intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), a disease that causes the cushioning between one or more of the vertebrae to slip or rupture. The disc then puts pressure on the spinal cord, resulting in back pain.

If you notice that your Cardigan Welsh corgi is having trouble using the stairs or making small jumps, these could be signs of back pain. Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • A hunched back
  • Yelping 
  • Reluctance to move too much
  • Reluctance to eat or go to the bathroom
  • Dragging the back feet

Should you observe these signs, don’t wait to contact your vet. Severe cases of back issues could result in paralysis. If your doctor diagnoses your dog with IVDD, the ruptured discs can be removed in serious cases, or rest and medication can be prescribed in milder cases.

Corgis may also be at risk for hip and elbow dysplasia. This is a genetically inherited condition that causes the joints to develop improperly and can eventually cause arthritis. As your corgi gets older, you may notice stiffness in the joints. Overweight corgis are more likely to develop arthritis than trimmer ones.

Cardigan Welsh corgis love attention and are highly social. They love spending time with people and get along really well with children. This breed is highly intelligent, friendly, and affectionate. It has a wonderful personality, making it a great family pet.

As a herding dog, Cardigan Welsh corgis love having work or a task to do. This breed is really smart and needs obedience training, which it learns quickly. Since corgis were bred to nip and herd cattle, you might notice that your dog might use these same habits on people.

Cardigan Welsh corgis are hard workers and would love advanced obedience training or agility training. They love to do any task that you put them to. While Corgis are very friendly with children and pets in their home, they can be territorial with other cats and dogs outside.

The Cardigan Welsh corgi is one of the oldest breeds in the British Isles. This dog was brought to Cardiganshire in Wales by Celtic tribes around 1200 B.C. Cardiganshire is a rough, rocky area located in southwest Wales. The dogs were raised to be farmworkers and herd animals, as well as be a family pet.

Cardigan Welsh corgis were important for other tasks around the farm, like keeping watch over the house. To this day, this breed is still territorial and makes for a good watchdog. Corgis also hunted rats and other small animals around the farm.

This breed comes from the German Teckel line, like Dachshunds. The Pembroke Welsh corgi didn’t arrive in Wales until Viking times, around 1000 A.D., and is from the Nordic Spitz line. While Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh corgis look very similar, they were never interbred until the 1930s. Today, the American Kennel Club considers Pembrokes and Cardigans two distinct breeds.

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Photo Credits:

1. Alexakshas / Getty Images


American Kennel Club: “Cardigan Welsh Corgi.”, “Meet Two Similar Yet Different Breeds: The Cardigan Welsh Corgi and The Pembroke Welsh Corgi.”

Animal Corner: “Cardigan Welsh Corgi.”

Britannica: “Cardigan Welsh Corgi.”

Countryside Veterinary Clinic: “Check Out the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.”

The Kennel Club: “Welsh Corgi (Cardigan).”

Westminster Kennel Club: “Cardigan Welsh Corgi.”

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