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  • Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Smart
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 69 of 194
  • Height: 10.5-12.5 inches
  • Weight: 30-38 pounds (male), 25-34 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Herding Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi standing facing left
Cardigan Welsh Corgi sitting in three-quarter view looking up
Cardigan Welsh Corgi lying in three-quarter view
Cardigan Welsh Corgi coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Low set with moderately heavy bone and deep chest. Overall silhouette long in proportion to height, culminating in a low tail set and fox-like brush. General Impression–A handsome, powerful, small dog, capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdily built but not coarse.

HEAD

The head should be refined in accordance with the sex and substance of the dog. It should never appear so large and heavy nor so small and fine as to be out of balance with the rest of the dog. Expression alert and gentle, watchful, yet friendly. Eyes medium to large, not bulging, with dark rims and distinct corners. Widely set. Clear and dark in harmony with coat color. Blue eyes (including partially blue eyes), or one dark and one blue eye permissible in blue merles, and in any other coat color than blue merle are a disqualification.

BODY

Neck moderately long and muscular without throatiness. Well developed, especially in males, and in proportion to the dog’s build. Neck well set on; fits into strong, well shaped shoulders. Topline level. Body long and strong.Chest moderately broad with prominent breastbone. Deep brisket, with well sprung ribs to allow for good lungs. Ribs extending well back. Loin- short, strong, moderately tucked up. Waist well defined. Croup-Slight downward slope to the tail set.

COAT

Medium length but dense as it is double. Outer hairs slightly harsh in texture; never wiry, curly or silky. Lies relatively smooth and is weather resistant. The insulating undercoat is short, soft and thick. A correct coat has short hair on ears, head, the legs; medium hair on body; and slightly longer, thicker hair in ruff, on the backs of the thighs to form “pants,” and on the underside of the tail. The coat should not be so exaggerated as to appear fluffy. This breed has a shedding coat, and seasonal lack of undercoat should not be too severely penalized, providing the hair is healthy. Trimming is not allowed except to tidy feet and, if desired, remove whiskers. Soft guard hairs, uniform length, wiry, curly, silky, overly short and/or flat coats are not desired. A distinctly long or fluffy coat is an extremely serious fault.

EARS

Large and prominent in proportion to size of dog. Slightly rounded at the tip, and of good strong leather. Moderately wide at the base, carried erect and sloping slightly forward when alert. When erect, tips are slightly wide of a straight line drawn from the tip of the nose through the center of the eye. Small and/or pointed ears are serious faults. Drop ears are a disqualification.

HINDQUARTERS

Well muscled and strong, but slightly less wide than shoulders. Hipbone (pelvis) slopes downward with the croup, forming a right angle with the femur at the hip socket. There should be moderate angulation at stifle and hock. Hocks well let down. Metatarsi perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Dewclaws removed.Feet point straight ahead and are slightly smaller and more oval than front. Toes arched. Pads well filled.

FOREQUARTERS

The moderately broad chest tapers to a deep brisket, well let down between the forelegs. Shoulders slope downward and outward from the withers sufficiently to accommodate desired rib-spring. Shoulder blade (scapula) long and well laid back, meeting upper arm (humerus) at close to a right angle. Humerus nearly as long as scapula. Elbows should fit close, being neither loose nor tied. The forearms (ulna and radius) should be curved to fit spring of ribs. The curve in the forearm makes the wrists (carpal joints) somewhat closer together than the elbows. The pasterns are strong and flexible. Dewclaws removed.

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Cardigan Welsh Corgi

About the Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Long, low-set dogs with sturdy bone, short legs, and a deep chest, Cardigans are powerful workers of deceptive speed and grace. Cardis can weigh anywhere from 25 to 34 pounds, with females at the lower end of the scale. They come in several coat colors, from red to the popular blue-merle pattern. The quickest way to distinguish Cardis from their cousins, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, is to check out the hindquarters: Cardigans have tails; Pembrokes do not.

Cardis are trainable, faithful, and vigilant guardians with a “big dog” bark. Well-socialized Cardis are especially fond of kids and agreeable with other pets. These athletic, rugged herders have a love for the outdoors, and they thrive on mental stimulation and physical activity.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Find a Puppy: Cardigan Welsh Corgi

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Care

NUTRITION

Cardigans are known to become overweight very easily. Careful monitoring of their weight is essential. It is vital that one feeds a high-quality dog food based on the Cardigan’s activity level and nutritional needs. Two smaller meals a day rather than one large one will make for a better digestive process. In addition, don’t overdo giving treats. Yes, Cardigans can hear a cheese wrapper from 50 yards—but that doesn’t mean you give them an entire piece. Feel the ribs, and if you can’t feel them easily with your fingertips, then your dog in most likely overweight.

GROOMING

A good brushing at least once a week should keep the Cardigan’s coat healthy and looking its best. Keeping the hair trimmed on the bottom of the feet helps to reduce the amount of dirt that an animal can bring into the house every day. The nails should be kept trimmed as well. Some pet owners mistakenly feel they should have their dog trimmed short for the summer. When the coat of the Cardigan is correct for the breed, this isn’t necessary. The correct coat has the essential characteristics to maintain proper body temperature, as long as conditions are normal. It should be noted, however, that a black dog will absorb more heat on a sunny day, and care should be taken to avoid overexposure during hot weather.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

The Cardigan is noted for being a very adaptable dog. If you want to hike and go on adventures, they are all for that. Or if you want to watch TV and eat popcorn, no problem—the Cardigan is there for you. Cardigans thrive on regular socialization, so going for walks in the neighborhood is important for many reasons. It provides fun for both you and the dog, as well as much-needed exercise. When your Cardigan unexpectedly starts to do “power runs” through the house and over the couch, it is his way of saying, “Hey, mom, I really need to burn off some fun—let’s go play ball!” And, yes, most Cardigans are “ball-o-holics.” Use that to your advantage. Remember to avoid jumping and stairs, which can cause back injury.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

It cannot be stressed enough that early and regular socialization is of the utmost importance in the developing a happy, healthy Cardigan. Gently expose the pup to a wide range of people, places, and situations. This process goes on for a lifetime, but the rewards of a well-socialized dog are wonderful. Go to training classes, and let all members of the family participate. Don’t tolerate inappropriate behavior, and don’t hesitate to seek the help of a qualified trainer or behaviorist if there’s a problem you can’t correct. A little effort early on will reward you with a dog whom you and all who meet him will love.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

The Cardigan is in general a very healthy breed, and responsible breeders will screen their stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and degenerative myelopathy. And as with any “long and low” canine, one must be cognizant of potential back issues. Avoid letting the Cardigan jump down off the bed or couch, and stairs can also be a hazard. At the first sign of any distress or discomfort, see the vet right away. The sooner a problem is caught, the quicker the recovery.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Degenerative Myelopathy DNA Test
  • PRA Genetic Test or Clearance Via Parentage (see CWCCA website)

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh Corgi

History

The handsome but hard-as-nails Cardigan Welsh Corgi was named for the medieval kingdom of Cardiganshire, Wales, and is the older of the AKC’s two corgi breeds. In fact, they’re among the oldest of all British breeds. The word “corgi,” originally “kergie,” is ancient Celtic for “dog,” and historians surmise that ancient corgis were brought from Central Europe to Wales by the Celts during their mass migrations to Britain some 3,000 years ago. We can say with some certainty, however, that corgis were driving Welsh herds 1,000 years ago.

Cardigans are built low to the ground to best nip at the heels of cattle and avoid being kicked. (Dogs who drive herds to pasture or market in this heel-nipping style are called heelers.) The adaptable Cardigan did double duty on long cattle drives, moving the herd by day and serving as a flock guardian at night. During the breed’s long history, Cardigans have at various times worked as an all-around farm dog, hunting partner, family protector, and athlete. Cardigans were long associated with Britain’s crofters (tenant farmers) who depended on their dogs to help scratch a meager living out of the pasture land permitted them by the crown.

Cardigans and Pembrokes were at one time freely interbred, and until as late as 1934 they were considered a single breed in the United Kingdom. The first pair of breeding Cardigans arrived in the United States in June 1931. The AKC granted full recognition to the breed four years later.

Did You Know?

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, unlike the Pembroke, possesses a tail.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, as its name implies, originated in the British Isles.
The Cardigan springs from the same line of dogs as the Dachshund.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is the older of the two Corgi breeds and is a separate and distinct breed from the Pembroke.
The Cardigan first came to the Cardiganshire (its place of origin) with the Celts, migrating to Wales in 1200 BC, meaning that the Corgi has been known in its namesake land for more than 3000 years
The purpose of the Corgi was to nip the heels of cattle and drive them, clearing his owner's ground of neighboring cattle, before fences were used.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Low set with moderately heavy bone and deep chest. Overall silhouette long in proportion to height, culminating in a low tail set and fox-like brush. General Impression–A handsome, powerful, small dog, capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdily built but not coarse.

HEAD

The head should be refined in accordance with the sex and substance of the dog. It should never appear so large and heavy nor so small and fine as to be out of balance with the rest of the dog. Expression alert and gentle, watchful, yet friendly. Eyes medium to large, not bulging, with dark rims and distinct corners. Widely set. Clear and dark in harmony with coat color. Blue eyes (including partially blue eyes), or one dark and one blue eye permissible in blue merles, and in any other coat color than blue merle are a disqualification.

BODY

Neck moderately long and muscular without throatiness. Well developed, especially in males, and in proportion to the dog’s build. Neck well set on; fits into strong, well shaped shoulders. Topline level. Body long and strong.Chest moderately broad with prominent breastbone. Deep brisket, with well sprung ribs to allow for good lungs. Ribs extending well back. Loin- short, strong, moderately tucked up. Waist well defined. Croup-Slight downward slope to the tail set.

COAT

Medium length but dense as it is double. Outer hairs slightly harsh in texture; never wiry, curly or silky. Lies relatively smooth and is weather resistant. The insulating undercoat is short, soft and thick. A correct coat has short hair on ears, head, the legs; medium hair on body; and slightly longer, thicker hair in ruff, on the backs of the thighs to form “pants,” and on the underside of the tail. The coat should not be so exaggerated as to appear fluffy. This breed has a shedding coat, and seasonal lack of undercoat should not be too severely penalized, providing the hair is healthy. Trimming is not allowed except to tidy feet and, if desired, remove whiskers. Soft guard hairs, uniform length, wiry, curly, silky, overly short and/or flat coats are not desired. A distinctly long or fluffy coat is an extremely serious fault.

EARS

Large and prominent in proportion to size of dog. Slightly rounded at the tip, and of good strong leather. Moderately wide at the base, carried erect and sloping slightly forward when alert. When erect, tips are slightly wide of a straight line drawn from the tip of the nose through the center of the eye. Small and/or pointed ears are serious faults. Drop ears are a disqualification.

HINDQUARTERS

Well muscled and strong, but slightly less wide than shoulders. Hipbone (pelvis) slopes downward with the croup, forming a right angle with the femur at the hip socket. There should be moderate angulation at stifle and hock. Hocks well let down. Metatarsi perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Dewclaws removed.Feet point straight ahead and are slightly smaller and more oval than front. Toes arched. Pads well filled.

FOREQUARTERS

The moderately broad chest tapers to a deep brisket, well let down between the forelegs. Shoulders slope downward and outward from the withers sufficiently to accommodate desired rib-spring. Shoulder blade (scapula) long and well laid back, meeting upper arm (humerus) at close to a right angle. Humerus nearly as long as scapula. Elbows should fit close, being neither loose nor tied. The forearms (ulna and radius) should be curved to fit spring of ribs. The curve in the forearm makes the wrists (carpal joints) somewhat closer together than the elbows. The pasterns are strong and flexible. Dewclaws removed.

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Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK & WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 019
BLUE MERLE & WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 051
BRINDLE & WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 059
RED & WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 146
SABLE & WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 165
BRINDLE MERLE & WHITE 329
GRAY & WHITE 105
LIVER & WHITE 125
RED MERLE & WHITE 330
SABLE MERLE & WHITE 277
WHITE MERLE 311

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
BLACK MASK Check Mark For Standard Mark 004
BLACK MASK & TICKED Check Mark For Standard Mark 047
BRINDLE POINTS Check Mark For Standard Mark 046
BRINDLE POINTS & TICKED Check Mark For Standard Mark 048
TAN POINTS Check Mark For Standard Mark 029
TAN POINTS & TICKED Check Mark For Standard Mark 049
TICKED Check Mark For Standard Mark 013

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