Corgis are believed to have been around for over 3,000 years and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is considered to be the older of the two popular corgi breeds. This particular breed of corgi has a long distinguished tail and worked by driving cattle to market for the local farmers.
This particular breed of dog is a very affectionate and fun-loving dog that gets along well with all members of the family. Especially children.
The word corgi comes from the Welsh words “cor gi” which means dwarf dog. And the name is particularly fitting for this type of dog as it has a place in the folklore of the land.
As the fairy tale story for this dog goes, fairies used to ride these dogs at night during the moonlight hunt. Humans, after hearing about these dogs, obtained them for themselves. And that is how we have corgis today. At least according to the fairy tale.
For centuries the Corgi was considered to be a single breed. Then in 1934 the breed was divided into two distinct types of corgis—the Cardigan and the Pembroke—each with its own distinct characteristics and histories.
The Cardigan itself is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Herding Dog class and is also recognized by the United Kennel Club.
The Cardigan has a distinguished, long tail than does the Pembroke. They also have a slightly larger body size which is longer and it has a bigger, heavier head with larger ears than the Pembroke variety. They also weigh slightly more and a typical male will weigh between 30 to 38 pounds and a female around 25 to 34 pounds.
Cardigans are very alert, watchful animals with a friendly expression. They have a very dense double coat that can create a big problem for owners during the shedding season around mid-spring. They can be found in varying shades of brindle, sable, and red, but they can also be found in black, blue merle, and occasionally tan. White may also be found on the legs, chest, muzzle, neck, tail tip, and belly. Sometimes they may even have a blaze on the head, usually in white.
Before getting a Cardigan Welsh Corgi you should be aware that these dogs tend to:
- Be very vocal barking at everything they see.
- Be very stubborn on occasion preferring to do what they want to do instead of listening to you.
- Have a very strong herding instinct which can cause them to nip the heels of people that they play with.
- Overeat. They seem to have a bottomless pit for a stomach and will definitely overeat if given the chance.
- Be extremely energetic so they need at least an hour a day of very vigorous exercise. Preferably just before bedding down for the night.
History of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Cardigan, Dachshund, and Basset Hound all have a common ancestral descendant. And the ancestors of the Cardigan are believed to have been introduced into Wales over 3,000 years ago by Celtic people who migrated from central Europe. The early Cardigan was a mix between a Teckel and a Spitz. Later on, the original Spitz-type dogs were again crossed with the original Corgi to produce the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
The Cardigan was a very hard-working dog. They helped their farmer masters to herd cattle and sheep as well as to keep the livestock safe from predators. These dogs were highly prized at that time in Wales. Sometimes to the point where local laws were introduced that punished anyone who would bring any harm to these animals or even harm them. Because of this the dogs enjoyed great stature and farmers were considered wealthy if they owned one.
Their entry into the dog show arena is believed to have come around 1919 at an English dog show. Soon after the English Cardigan Welsh Corgi Association was formed in 1926. However, this association believed that the Cardigan and the Pembroke were the same type of dog and allowed them to be interbred. This created much confusion for the original Cardigan Welsh Corgi breeders.
The biggest influence to this breed didn’t come until the late 1920s when a red and white dog was used to develop a standard for the breed. Bob Llwyd, the standardization dog’s name, sired the breed’s first official champion, Golden Arrow, who maintained his championship until 1931.
1931 is also the year in which the first pair of Cardigans were imported into the United States by a Mrs. B.P. Bole. One of these dogs was a female named Cassie who became the general founder of the Cardigans found in the United States. She had even produced many high quality Cardigans in England.
Cassie, a white Cardigan with brindle markings, gave birth to one offspring which eventually became the founding champion of the breed. That pup’s name was Megan and it is here namesake that has pioneered the annual US contest for champions only called the Megan Competition. This competition is held by the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America annually.
It wasn’t until 1934 when the British Kennel Club declared the Cardigan and the Pembroke to be different types of corgis with a common ancestry. Once this declaration was made it put an end to the interbreeding of the Cardigan and Pembroke thus allowing each line to develop into a cleaner breed each with their own specific characteristics.
In 1935, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America was founded. Through the commitment of this club in preventing the commercialization of the breed, the Cardigan is not as well-known as the Pembroke breed of Welsh Corgis.
Today it is the work of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America that maintains the standards for this particular breed.
Size of the Cardigan
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is not a large dog. It is actually what would be called a large, small breed and has a height range of 10.5 to 12.5 inches. And usually the males of this breed weigh between 30 and 38 pounds while the females weigh between 25 to 34 pounds.
Because of their small size they tend to make excellent lap dogs.
Cardigan Personality Traits
Although the Cardigan is no longer used as a herding dog the instinct to herd is still very present in them. Nowadays you will find the Cardigan Welsh Corgi to be a family companion dog although he remains a favorite among horse owners who appreciate his ability to get the horses into a trailer.
The Cardigan is not a social as the Pembroke and is much more territorial. Both his territorial and herding instincts make this dog an excellent watchdog. Always alert to strangers and unwanted guests he will defend his territory with a viciousness not seen in many dogs.
Cardigans do make excellent family companions. They are quite attentive around children but must be watched. When they play with children they tend to nip at the heels because of their herding ancestry. If not trained to be gentle with children you may find all the children in the neighborhood corralled into the yard one day and a very happy Cardigan sitting there watching them.
These dogs do very well with early socialization training. They need exposure to many different types of people as well as different sights, sounds, and experiences. Without this type of training they tend to become wary of people and may even distrust them to the point of chasing everybody off the property and away from the family. So to have a well-rounded dog it is suggested that early socialization begin around three months of age.
Generally, Cardigan Welsh Corgis are very healthy animals. But, like all dog breeds, they do tend to suffer from certain conditions. And if you get your corgi from a reputable breeder, your dog will lead a very healthy and normal life.
Before purchasing a Cardigan you should check with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals that its score for hip dysplasia is listed as fair to above average. Another thing that you should check for is that the dog has a certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation stating that the eyes are normal and there is no genetic condition which may impair the animals in later years. These are both American organizations so if you live in a country other than the US you should check with your local Cardigan Welsh Corgi association for the equivalent organization in your country.
For the Cardigan, the following two conditions are of greater concern:
- Intervertebral Disk Disease: Because of their long backs, Cardigans are prone to ruptures in a spinal disc. Signs include unsteadiness, difficulty going up or down stairs or on and off furniture, knuckling over of limbs, weakness, and paralysis.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
To help in the prevention and early diagnosis of these two conditions, it is strongly recommended that the Cardigan undergo regular veterinary visits. Every six months is recommended here.
Care of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi
These dogs are very active. Because of this they will need at least one hour per day of vigorous activity. This activity can come in the form of daily walks or, preferably, through agility training. If they get the exercise they need on a daily basis they can thrive in any environment from apartment to mansion.
Cardigan pups have very short legs and a long back. It is important that when they are this young you do not let them jump up and down on the furniture. Letting them do this type of activity can cause irreversible spinal injuries. It is also important that when picking them up that both the front and hind legs be supported at the same time.
Even though the Cardigan has a thick and durable coat he is not an outside dog. These dogs need a warm place to stay during bad weather and in the winter. He also needs to be constantly around people as he is a people-oriented dog.
As mentioned earlier the Cardigan tends to overeat. Because of this it is strongly recommended that you do not feed them more than is necessary. As a recommended daily amount you should feed your Cardigan between 1 and 1.5 cups of very high-quality dry dog food per day. This amount should be divided into two feedings. One in the morning and another at night when their daily activity has ended.
The real amount of food that the dog will need with depend on their level of activity and their metabolism. More active dogs will need more dry food than dogs of lesser activity. Also, the better the quality of food that is given will also result in less food being required by the dog.
Because these dogs will over-indulge they should never be allowed to be self-feeders. Two meals per day is plenty for these animals and better for them as well.
General Care of the Corgi
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a double-coated dog with a short undercoat and a longer, thicker topcoat. Because of this they are very prone to constant shedding with two very heavy shedding periods per year. That is why Cardigans need constant brushing. This will not only remove the loose hair but will prevent knots and tangles from forming which will require the animal to be shaved when it gets bad.
From head to tail, the length of the dog’s coat will vary. It should also have a slightly rough texture to it as the softer coats do not protect the animal from the elements as well.
Cardigans tend to develop tartar buildup on their teeth and develop bad breath because of this. It is recommended that the dog has his teeth brushed at least twice a week to help keep them clean and in good condition. This will also help to prevent cavities. I recommend that the animals have their teeth brushed daily. A mild toothpaste made for dogs should be used.
The nails need to be constantly trimmed to prevent the dog from going lame with overgrown nails. As the dog ages the nails tend to grow at a quicker pace because their level of activity diminishes at the same time. But for younger animals you may probably need to trim the nail once every four to six weeks as they will be constantly ground down through their daily activity. The rule to follow here is that if you can hear the nails click on the floor, then it is time to trim them.
Also, because of the amount of hair around the ears you should check them at least once a week. Any sign of redness or a bad smell should be investigated by a veterinarian. Both of these signs could show an infection and if not treated quickly could result in deafness in the animal. You only need to clean the outer ear canal with a dampened cotton ball. Never insert a cotton swab into the ear canal of an animal. They have short ear canals and you could puncture the ear drum. Also adding a couple drops of pH-balanced ear drops will help to prevent infections and keep the inner canal clean from wax buildup.
Also keep an eye out for hidden sores on the animal’s skin when you brush your pet. Scaly sores or very dry skin could show mange and should be checked by your veterinarian who will do a skin scraping to help diagnose the problem.
And don’t forget to check the eyes, nose, and mouth for any type of discharge or sores. Early detection in these dogs will go a long way in preventing hard-to-treat ailments.
Care with Children
Corgis love children. However, their herding instincts tend to cause them to nip at the feet and ankles of children. But being attentive animals they can be easily trained that this is not acceptable behavior.
But just like any other breed of dog, they should be constantly watched while they are around children. Children should also be taught how to interact with dogs so that they don’t pull on the ears or tug at the tail. But for the most part, corgis will play all day with children if they have the chance.
Corgis and Other Dogs
Corgis are very social animals. However, they still need to be trained and socialized with other dogs. If not, because of their territorial nature, they will defend their property and master when another dog approaches. But with the proper training and socialization they can get along quite well with other dogs. This is a good reason to have another dog in the house for your corgi to play with.
If you would like more information on the Cardigan Welsh Corgi you can contact the Cardigan Welsh Corgi National Rescue Trust.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Puppy Pics
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Puppy Pics