Cardigan Welsh Corgi

AKC Herding Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

There are several theories about the origins of the Welsh Corgi. Both Corgi varieties may be descended from the Swedish Vallhund brought to Wales by Vikings in the 800s. Or it could be that the Cardigan is the older variety, brought to Wales by the Celts in about 1200 BC. The name Corgi probably comes from the Celtic word for dog, “corgi.” The breed was mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086). Developed in Cardiganshire, Wales, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is an excellent cattle drover, vermin hunter and farm guard. The Corgi drove cattle by barking and nipping at the animals’ heels. His low stature helped him roll out of the way when a cow kicked. Corgis still maintain that habit when chasing each other. The Pembroke and Cardigan varieties were freely interbred until the 1930s, after which time breeders tried to accentuate their differences. Today, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is primarily a companion dog.


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a long, low dog (36 to 43 in. long, all the way from the nose to the tip of the tail) with large, erect ears, a broad, flat skull, and a long, low-set tail with a fox-like brush (the Pembroke variety has no tail). The length-to-height ratio should be approximately 1.8 to 1. The Cardigan tends to be a bit heavier-boned than the Pembroke. The Cardigan’s erect ears are larger than the Pembroke’s, and the feet are more round. The Cardigan has a straight topline and a deep chest with prominent breastbone. The front feet turn outward slightly. The front assembly should be relatively heavy-boned, but not coarse. Dewclaws should be removed. The Cardigan has dark eyes that harmonize with the color of the coat. Blue eyes are allowed only in blue merle dogs. The head is broad between the ears and tapers to the eyes. The occiput is not at all pronounced. The rounded, tapered muzzle is shorter from nose to stop than the skull’s length from stop to occiput in a proportion of approximately 3:5. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite.

The Cardigan’s double coat consists of a harsh, medium-length outer coat lined with a short, soft, dense undercoat. Hair is more abundant at the ruff, back of the legs, and on the underside of the tail. Hair on the ears, head, and front of the legs is short. Colors are red, sable and brindle, black, black and tan, black and brindle, and blue merle, often with white trim on the chest, collar, tail tip, legs, and muzzle. Predominantly white dogs are not allowed to compete in AKC conformation shows.

Key Facts

  • Height: 10-1/2 to 12-1/2 in.
  • Size: Medium (but short)
  • Weight: 30 to 38 lbs. (male); 25 to 34 lbs. (female)
  • Availability: Difficult to find
  • Talents: Tracking, herding, watchdog, guarding, and agility


Tends to want to herd people. Very protective of their territory. Males can be aggressive with other males, particularly if a bitch in heat is in the vicinity. A good alarm barker; some lines bark a lot. Some are prone to PRA and glaucoma. Buy only from stock with current CERF or OFA eye clearances. There are many poorly bred Corsos for sale, and it can be difficult to find a high-quality dog. Be very careful, ask about the lineage, and spend time with the breeder, sire, and dam if at all possible.


Highly intelligent, obedient, protective, and robust. Steady. Loyal and loving. Willing to please. Cardigans tend to be less sociable and more territorial than Pembrokes. Good with other non-canine animals and with other Corgis, but can be combative with other dogs.


  • Children: Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness: Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability: Easy to train
  • Independence: Not particularly dependent or independent
  • Dominance: Moderate
  • Other Pets: Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood
  • Combativeness: Can be a bit dog-aggressive
  • Noise: Average barker
  • Indoors: Very active indoors
  • Owner: Good for novice owners


  • Grooming: A little grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat: Medium coat
  • Shedding: Seasonally heavy shedder
  • Exercise: Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging: Small, but a fair jogging companion
  • Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space: Does all right without a yard
  • Climate: Does well in most climates
  • Longevity: Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Standard

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Gifts