Cardigan Welsh Corgi Guide

Herding Dog Breeds

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The Cardigan is a low-set dog, approximately 1.8 times longer than it is tall, with moderately heavy bone. It is small but powerful — capable of the agility, speed and endurance necessary to drive cattle for extended periods. Its small size allowed it to duck under the cattle's hooves should they kick at it. Its gait is free, smooth, effortless and ground-covering. Its double coat consists of a soft thick undercoat and slightly harsh outer coat of medium length. Its expression is alert, gentle and watchful, yet friendly.

Fun-loving and high-spirited, yet easygoing, the Cardigan is a devoted and amusing companion. This is a hardy breed, capable of a day dodging kicks, so it is agile and tireless. At home it is well-mannered but inclined to bark. It tends to be reserved with strangers and can be scrappy with other dogs.


FAMILY livestock, herding


DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times

ORIGINAL FUNCTION cattle driving

TODAY'S FUNCTION cattle driving, herding trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 10.5-12.5 Weight: 30-38

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 10.5-12.5 Weight: 25-34


Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Low

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Friendly

Ease of training Hard to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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The Cardigan needs a surprising amount of exercise for its size. Its needs can best be met with a herding session, but a moderate walk or vigorous play session will also suffice. It can live outside in temperate to cool weather, but it is a very good house dog and best when it is allowed access to both house and yard. Its coat needs brushing once a week to remove dead hair.
• Major concerns: CHD
• Minor concerns: PRA
• Occasionally seen: urolithiasis, PRA
• Suggested tests: hip, (eye), (DNA test for PRA)
• Life span: 10 – 12 years
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One of the earliest breeds to come to the British Isles, the Cardigan Welsh corgi was brought from central Europe to Cardiganshire, South Wales, centuries ago. Its derivation is unknown, though it may have been influenced by the extinct English turn-spit dog, a short-legged, low-bodied dog used to turn spits in kitchens. Initially used as a family protector and even a helper in the hunt, it was only later that the corgi found its true forte. In a time when the land available to tenant farmers was determined by how much acreage their cattle occupied, it was to the farmer's advantage to have scattered, far-ranging stock. Thus, a dog that would drive, rather than herd, the cattle was an invaluable aid, and the corgi stepped right into this role, nipping at the cattle's heels and ducking their kicks. In fact the word corgi is probably derived from cor (to gather) and gi (dog). The original corgis were supposed to measure a Welsh yard (slightly longer than an English yard) from nose to tail tip, and in parts of Cardiganshire the breed was called the yard-long dog or ci-llathed. When the Crown lands were later divided, sold and fenced, the need for drovers was lost, and the corgi lost its job. Kept by some as a guard and companion, nonetheless, it became a luxury that few could afford, and it became perilously close to extinction. Crosses with other breeds had been tried, but most were not particularly successful. The exception was the cross with the brindle herder — present-day Cardigans are the products of this slight herder influence. The first Cardigans were shown around 1925. Until 1934, the Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh corgis were considered one breed, and interbreeding between the two was common. The first Cardigans came to America in 1931, and the AKC recognized the breed in 1935. For some unknown reason, the Cardigan has never enjoyed the popularity of the Pembroke corgi and remains only modestly popular.
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