The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest breeds in the British Isles. The Cardigan is a sturdy dog of great versatility, meant to work in the harsh environment of the Welsh highlands herding cattle and sheep and as an all-purpose farm dog adept as a watch dog, ratter, hunting dog, and loyal hearth dog. An Intelligent and Independent thinker, the Cardigan can also be quite a comedian, and we can still see the breed’s Hound origins in the Cardigans of today.
Long and low-set, but balanced, the Cardigan has moderately heavy round bone and a deep chest which is framed by the characteristic wrap-around front. The Cardigan is a handsome, powerful, small dog that is capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdily built but not coarse. The head has a moderately wide, flat skull, eyes are medium to large and widely set, and the ear is large in proportion to the dog, rounded, and erect. The expression is gentle and alert, watchful but friendly.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America (CWCCA) maintains the official Breed Standard and the CWCCA is the Cardigan parent club in the American Kennel Club (AKC). Follow the links to the CWCCA Website for additional information on the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and to view or download the official Breed Standard.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi takes its name from Cardiganshire (or Cardigan County) in Wales where it had its historical origin. It is believed that one of the earliest references to the Corgi was in the 12th century in the Laws of Howell the Good (archived at the National Library of Wales). Unlike the tailless Pembroke Corgi, Cardigans are thought to descend from Teckel type dogs (dachshunds) brought to the UK by the Celts. Cardigans worked alongside the farmer as a highly valued companion, driver of cattle, guard dog, & general farm worker. In fact, their talents were so vital to the family’s financial well-being that ancient Welsh law placed severe penalties upon anyone who would harm or steal one.
In 1931, Mrs. B.P. Bole of Boston imported the first pair of Cardigans to the U.S. Finally, in 1935, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America was founded that same year. The Cardigan is now part of the AKC’s Herding Group.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a long, low dog with large, upright ears, a bushy tail, moderate bone, and front legs slightly bowed around a deep chest. Their appearance should conform as closely as possible to the AKC standard, which states, “…a small, sturdy but powerful dog capable of endurance and speed.” The average size is approximately 12 inches at the shoulder with females ideally ranging from 25-34 pounds and males from 30-38 pounds. The Cardigan comes in a variety of colors: brindle, red, sable, black, and blue merle, all with white flashings. Both black and blue merle Cardigans will have either tan or brindle points (color on face, ears, legs and tail). See the illustration below for the colors.
Copyright © The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America, Inc.-The Illustrated Standard of the Cardigan. Used with Permission.
As a recognized AKC breed, the Cardigan can compete in all AKC events including conformation. If dog shows are not your interest, the intelligent and active Cardigan can excel in obedience, tracking, agility, rally, scent work, barn hunts, Fast CAT and, of course, herding. Cardigans are also excellent therapy dogs.
A Cardigan is personality plus!. A short big dog makes him an adaptable and outstanding companion. Cardigans are happy living in the country or in a 12th floor apartment. Their family is their pack and they are happier when they are all together. True to their herding dog heritage, the Cardigan is an alert watchdog and may be reserved toward strangers until they decide all is well. Expect them to bark a warning at the sight, scent, or sound of anything unusual. They are intelligent and will find ways to train their people to do things THEIR way. They have a great sense of humor and will shower their family with devotion & affection.
Buying a Puppy
A puppy is a long-term, emotion-filled investment and should be purchased carefully. With needs including proper health care and socialization, a puppy should NOT be purchased from a pet shop. Using a responsible and knowledgeable breeder is important. Look for our breeders in Breeders’ Directories found on the Bluebonnet Club Website and the National Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club website.
Care & Grooming
With reasonable care, the average lifespan of a Cardigan Welsh Corgi is around 12-15 years, with 16 and 17 not unheard of. All Cardigans deserve good care, which includes a secure place, a good diet and water, exercise, veterinary visits and vaccinations, socialization, training, and love. If not show quality, they should be neutered or spayed; a litter requires many considerations including genetics, time, effort (!) and expense.
Cardigans are companion dogs; they want to be with you. They can go on long walks, romp around the house, or watch TV. Some daily exercise is important, but does not require more than they get around the house and yard. Cardigan puppies are active. Because their skeletal development is not yet complete, avoid letting them jump off & on furniture or run down stairs. Always pick up a Cardigan by placing one hand under the chest behind the front legs & the other hand supporting the hindquarters.
The Cardigan has an all-weather double coat that is generally clean and odorless. They shed heavily roughly twice a year & moderately the rest of the time. Regular brushing will help keep shedding under control. The coat should never be trimmed. However, keep the hair trimmed on the bottom of the feet. Other routine basic grooming tasks include nails, teeth, & ears.