Cardigan Welsh Corgi

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Step into the whimsical world of Cardigan Welsh Corgis, where short legs, perky ears, and fox-like expressions create an irresistible charm! These captivating canines boast a unique appearance and a spirited personality that sets them apart from other breeds.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is an excellent choice for a wide range of dog enthusiasts, from families and singles to seniors and first-time dog owners. With their friendly nature, intelligence, and adaptability, these spirited canines thrive in various living situations, including apartments and large homes with yards.


OFFICIAL NAMECardigan Welsh Corgi
OTHER NAMESCardigan, Cardi, CWC
BREED GROUPHerding Group
HEIGHT10.5-12.5 inches
WEIGHT25-38 lbs
LIFESPAN12-15 years
cardigan welsh corgi standing in an open field
Photo: Kurt Pas/Getty Images


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a small yet sturdy dog breed, renowned for its unique physical characteristics that make it instantly recognizable. These charming canines typically stand between 10.5 and 12.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 25 to 38 pounds, with males being slightly larger than females.

One of the most striking features of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is its long body, which is supported by short, powerful legs. This distinctive build is designed for agility and endurance, making them highly skilled herding dogs. Despite their seemingly disproportionate bodies, these canines are well-balanced, strong, and athletic.

The tails of Cardigan Welsh Corgis are another notable feature. Unlike their Pembroke cousins, Cardigans have long, bushy tails that often curl upwards slightly, giving them an appealing look. Their heads are characterized by a broad, flat skull and a moderately defined stop, which is the point where the muzzle meets the forehead.

One of the most endearing aspects of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s appearance is their fox-like expression. With their intelligent eyes, perky ears, and mischievous grin, they exude a sense of playfulness and charm that is simply irresistible.

Cardigans have large, prominent ears that stand erect and are slightly rounded at the tips. The ears are set wide apart, giving them excellent hearing and contributing to their alert and intelligent expression.

Their eyes are medium in size, oval-shaped, and come in various shades of brown, blue, or one of each (known as heterochromia). The Cardigan’s gaze is gentle yet keen, showcasing their observant and curious nature.

The coat of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is another distinguishing factor. These dogs have a dense, medium-length, water-resistant double coat that provides them with excellent protection against harsh weather conditions. The outer coat is slightly harsh in texture, while the undercoat is soft and insulating.

Cardigan coats come in a variety of colors and patterns, including brindle, black, blue merle, red, and sable, often accompanied by white markings on the neck, chest, legs, muzzle, and the signature “fairy saddle” across their shoulders.

Overall, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a compact, strong, and agile dog breed with a unique and captivating appearance. Their combination of physical attributes not only makes them excellent working dogs but also adds to their undeniable appeal as lovable and loyal companions.

cardigan welsh corgi lying on green grass
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The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, with its charming looks and quirky demeanor, is a breed that’s sure to steal your heart. Picture a four-legged comedian, always ready to entertain and bring smiles to those around them. This pint-sized pooch possesses a personality as unique as their appearance.

With its expressive eyes and big ears, the Cardigan is a master of communication. It’s like having a little chatterbox in the family! This breed loves to “talk” to its human companions, using an array of barks, yips, and grumbles to convey its thoughts and emotions. It’s almost as if they’re sharing stories from the day’s adventures.

Beneath that talkative exterior, the Cardigan is a bundle of intelligence and wit. This breed’s cleverness is unparalleled, always finding creative solutions to any puzzle thrown their way. They thrive on mental stimulation and are quick learners, making training a breeze for those who understand their quirks.

When compared to their close relatives, the Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Cardigans often come across as the more laid-back of the two. They’re less likely to be the life of the party and more apt to enjoy quiet moments with their loved ones. Behind those twinkling eyes lies a deep affection for their family circle. Their smiles, wide and inviting, are a testament to their sweet and friendly nature.

Cardigans are affectionate and devoted to their families. They form deep bonds with their humans, eager to be by their side at all times. Whether it’s snuggling on the couch or following you around the house, this loyal companion’s presence is sure to warm your heart.

But don’t let their affectionate nature fool you – the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a courageous and alert watchdog. They take their guarding duties seriously, ready to protect their loved ones from any potential threats. Their bravery and quick reflexes make them an excellent choice for a furry guardian.

Cardigans may be small in size, but they have big personalities. They are known for their assertiveness and confidence. With their regal demeanor, they carry themselves like dignified little kings and queens, always aware of their importance in the family hierarchy.

As social butterflies, Cardigans love making new friends – both human and canine. Their friendly and outgoing nature makes them the life of any social gathering. They are the ones initiating playdates at the dog park and organizing puppy parties with a wagging tail and a happy smile.

Their herding heritage is evident in their instincts, as they may try to “herd” their family members or other pets. This endearing habit harks back to their history as skilled cattle drivers in Wales. It’s as if they see their loved ones as their flock, and they must ensure everyone stays together and safe.

cardigan welsh corgis playing with a ball
Photo: John Banks / 500px/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a highly adaptable breed that can thrive in various environments, making them suitable for different types of living situations and pet parents. However, there are specific factors to consider when creating an ideal environment for this charming canine companion.

Physical Environment

In terms of physical environment, Cardigans can comfortably reside in both urban apartments and rural homes with spacious yards. Despite their small size, they are an active and energetic breed that requires regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.

As such, it’s crucial to provide them with ample opportunities for physical activity, mental stimulation, and socialization, regardless of the living space. A securely fenced yard or nearby dog park can be beneficial for off-leash play and exercise.

Climate Adaptability

Regarding climate adaptability, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s dense double coat offers protection against cold weather conditions, allowing them to enjoy outdoor activities during winter months. However, it’s crucial to monitor them closely, as extreme cold can still pose risks to their health and well-being.

On the other hand, Cardigans may be more sensitive to hot climates due to their thick coats. In warmer temperatures, it’s essential to provide them with adequate shade, fresh water, and opportunities to cool down. Schedule exercise and outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to prevent overheating.

Ideal Owner

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is well-suited for various types of pet parents, including families, singles, seniors, and first-time dog owners. Their friendly and affectionate nature makes them excellent companions for those seeking a loving and devoted pet.

Potential owners should be prepared to dedicate time and effort to ensure proper socialization, training, and care, which are essential for the breed’s overall well-being.

Other Pets

When it comes to cohabitating with other pets, Cardigans generally get along well with other dogs and cats, especially if raised together. However, due to their herding instincts, they may sometimes attempt to herd other animals or even people. It’s essential to manage this behavior through consistent training and provide appropriate outlets for their herding drive.

cardigan welsh corgi in a park
Photo: volofin/Getty Images


Proper grooming is essential for maintaining the health and well-being of your Cardigan Welsh Corgi. While they are not considered high-maintenance in terms of grooming, there are specific practices to follow to ensure they look and feel their best.

Coat Care

Cardigans have a dense, medium-length double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it clean and tangle-free. Their outer coat is slightly harsh, while their undercoat is soft and insulating.

To maintain a healthy coat, it’s essential to brush your Cardigan at least once or twice a week using a slicker brush, pin brush, or a stainless-steel comb. These tools will help remove loose hair, dirt, and debris, and prevent matting.

During shedding seasons, which typically occur in spring and fall, Cardigans tend to lose more hair than usual as they “blow” their undercoat. During these periods, daily brushing may be necessary to minimize shedding and keep their coat in good condition. A de-shedding tool, such as a Furminator, can be particularly helpful for removing loose undercoat efficiently.

Bathing your Cardigan Welsh Corgi should be done every 6-8 weeks, or as needed based on their activity level and environment. Be sure to use a gentle, dog-specific shampoo to avoid irritating their skin. After bathing, thoroughly dry your Cardigan’s coat with a towel or a hairdryer set on a low heat setting.

Dental Care

Good dental hygiene is crucial for preventing dental issues such as plaque buildup, tartar, and gum disease. It’s recommended to brush your Cardigan’s teeth at least two to three times a week using a soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste. Regular dental check-ups with your veterinarian are also essential for maintaining optimal dental health.

In addition to brushing, you can provide dental chews, toys, or treats designed to help clean your dog’s teeth and promote good oral health. However, these should not replace regular tooth brushing.

Nail Trimming

Cardigan Welsh Corgis, like all dog breeds, require regular nail trimming to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. Overly long nails can cause pain, difficulty walking, and even lead to joint issues over time. It’s advised to trim your Cardigan’s nails every 3-4 weeks or as needed, depending on their activity level and how quickly their nails grow.

You can use a guillotine-style or scissor-type nail clipper specifically designed for dogs. If you’re unsure about trimming your dog’s nails yourself, consult your veterinarian or a professional groomer for guidance and assistance.

Ear Care

Regular ear cleaning is essential for preventing infections and maintaining overall ear health. Check your Cardigan’s ears weekly for signs of redness, foul odor, or excessive wax buildup. To clean their ears, use a gentle ear-cleaning solution and cotton balls or gauze. Avoid using cotton swabs, as they can damage the delicate structures within the ear canal.

Additional Grooming Tips

In addition to coat, dental, nail, and ear care, it’s essential to regularly check your Cardigan Welsh Corgi for any signs of skin irritation, lumps, or other health concerns during grooming sessions. This proactive approach will help ensure that any potential issues are addressed promptly.

By adhering to these grooming practices, you will not only keep your Cardigan Welsh Corgi looking and feeling their best but also contribute to their overall health and well-being. Regular grooming sessions can also strengthen the bond between you and your canine companion, making it an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both of you.

cardigan welsh corgi walking on grass
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The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is an energetic and active breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Providing them with sufficient exercise not only keeps them fit and healthy but also helps prevent unwanted behaviors stemming from boredom or pent-up energy.

Exercise Amount & Types

On average, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi needs at least 45 minutes to an hour of daily exercise. This can be divided into multiple shorter walks or play sessions throughout the day. In addition to regular walks, it’s essential to engage your Cardigan in various types of physical activities to keep them stimulated and challenged.

Fetching games, such as playing with a ball or Frisbee, can be a fun and enjoyable way for your Cardigan to expend energy. These games also tap into their natural instincts to chase and retrieve, providing both physical and mental stimulation.

Cardigans can also benefit from off-leash play in a securely fenced area, where they can run and explore freely. However, always ensure your dog has reliable recall skills before allowing them off-leash in an open space.

Dog Sports

Another excellent option for exercising your Cardigan is to enroll them in canine sports or activities. Sports like agility, obedience, rally, flyball, and herding trials are well-suited for this intelligent and agile breed. Participating in these events not only provides an outlet for their energy but also strengthens the bond between you and your dog.

Exercise Precautions

When planning exercise routines for your Cardigan, it’s important to consider their unique physical attributes.

Due to their long bodies and short legs, they may be more prone to back issues. Avoid activities that involve excessive jumping or climbing, which can put undue stress on their spine. Regularly monitor your dog during exercise to ensure they are not overexerting themselves or showing signs of discomfort.

cardigan welsh corgi jumping in a garden
Photo: Kurt Pas/Getty Images


Training a Cardigan Welsh Corgi can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, as they are known for their intelligence, eagerness to learn, and desire to please their owners. However, it’s essential to approach training with patience, consistency, and an understanding of the breed’s unique characteristics.

What to Expect

Cardigans are highly trainable dogs that can quickly grasp new commands and concepts. Their herding background has equipped them with keen problem-solving abilities and a strong work ethic, which make them well-suited for various types of training, from basic obedience to advanced canine sports.

That being said, like any breed, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi can display a certain level of independence and stubbornness at times. This trait may require pet owners to be persistent and creative in their training methods to keep their Cardigan engaged and motivated.

Positive Reinforcement

When training your Cardigan, it’s crucial to use positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise, treats, or toys, to reward desired behaviors. This approach not only encourages your dog to repeat the behavior but also fosters a stronger bond between you and your canine companion.


Socialization plays a significant role in the overall training process. Early exposure to various people, animals, and environments is essential for shaping a well-rounded and confident adult Cardigan. Proper socialization helps prevent potential issues related to fear or aggression and enables your dog to become a well-behaved member of your family and community.

Consistency in Training

Consistency is another critical factor when training your Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Ensure that all family members are on the same page regarding commands, expectations, and boundaries to avoid confusion and facilitate a smooth learning process.

cardigan welsh corgi playing outdoors
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Diet & Nutrition 

Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining the overall health and well-being of your Cardigan Welsh Corgi. It’s important to choose a high-quality food that meets their specific nutritional needs at various life stages, from puppyhood to adulthood and into their senior years.

What to Feed & How Much

When selecting dog food, look for products that follow the guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which ensure that the food contains all the necessary nutrients for your dog’s optimal health. Options may include dry kibble, wet food, or a raw diet, depending on your preferences and your dog’s individual requirements.

The amount of food you feed your Cardigan will depend on their age, weight, activity level, and overall health. As a general guideline, puppies should be fed three to four times a day, as they require more frequent meals to support their growth and development. Once they reach adulthood, you can transition to feeding them two meals per day.

To determine the appropriate portion sizes, consult the feeding recommendations on the dog food packaging and adjust accordingly for your dog’s specific needs. It’s essential to monitor your Cardigan’s weight and body condition regularly, as these dogs can be prone to obesity, which can lead to various health issues. If you’re unsure about the correct portion sizes, consult your veterinarian for guidance.


Treats can be a helpful tool for training and rewarding good behavior, but it’s crucial not to overdo it. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your Cardigan’s daily caloric intake to prevent weight gain. Opt for healthy, low-calorie treats, such as pieces of fresh fruits or vegetables, and avoid feeding table scraps or human food that may be harmful to your dog.


Always provide your Cardigan Welsh Corgi with access to clean, fresh water. Ensuring proper hydration is vital for their overall health, especially during periods of increased activity or hot weather.

cardigan welsh corgi with a stick in his mouth
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The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is generally a healthy and robust breed, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years. However, like all dog breeds, they may be predisposed to certain health issues. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care are essential for maintaining your Cardigan’s overall well-being and detecting potential health concerns early.

Here are common health issues associated with the Cardigan Welsh Corgi breed:

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): Due to their long bodies and short legs, Cardigans are more prone to IVDD, a condition in which the discs between the vertebrae in the spinal column deteriorate or herniate. This can cause pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding activities that put excessive strain on the spine can help reduce the risk of IVDD.

Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit correctly into the hip socket, leading to arthritis and mobility issues over time. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and providing joint supplements can help manage this condition. Responsible breeding practices can also minimize the chances of passing on the gene for hip dysplasia.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an inherited eye disease that causes gradual degeneration of the retina, potentially leading to blindness. Regular eye exams by a veterinary ophthalmologist can help detect PRA early, and responsible breeding practices can reduce the prevalence of the condition in the breed.

Degenerative Myelopathy: This is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord, resulting in weakness and loss of coordination in the hind limbs. There is currently no cure for degenerative myelopathy, but supportive care and physical therapy can help manage the symptoms and maintain the quality of life for affected dogs.

Obesity: Cardigan Welsh Corgis can be prone to weight gain, which can contribute to various health issues such as joint problems, diabetes, and heart disease. Maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and monitoring your dog’s weight are essential for preventing obesity and its associated health risks.

While these health issues may be more common in the Cardigan Welsh Corgi breed, it’s important to remember that not all Cardigans will develop these conditions.

By providing regular veterinary care, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and working with responsible breeders, you can support your Cardigan’s overall health and well-being throughout their life.

cardigan welsh corgi sitting on a road
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The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is an ancient breed with a rich history dating back thousands of years. Believed to be one of the oldest herding breeds, the Cardigan’s origins can be traced to the Teckel family of dogs, which also includes the Dachshund. It is thought that the Cardigan Welsh Corgi descended from dogs brought to Wales by the Celts around 1200 BC.

The name “Corgi” is derived from the Welsh words “cor,” meaning dwarf, and “ci,” meaning dog, which aptly describes the breed’s short stature.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi was primarily bred for its herding abilities, working alongside farmers to manage cattle, sheep, and other livestock in the rugged terrain of southwestern Wales. Their low-to-the-ground build enabled them to nip at the heels of cattle to move them along while avoiding kicks.

Over time, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi developed into a distinct breed separate from its close relative, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. While both breeds share similarities in appearance and function, there are noticeable differences, such as the Cardigan’s larger size, longer body, and more rounded ears. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi also boasts a wider range of coat colors compared to the Pembroke.

The Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis were initially classified as one breed by the Kennel Club in the UK in 1925. However, it wasn’t until 1934 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Cardigan Welsh Corgi as a separate breed, with the first Cardigan registered being named “Captain William Lewis.”

In popular culture, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi has not been as prominent as the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, which gained fame as the favored breed of Queen Elizabeth II. Nonetheless, the Cardigan has made its mark in various artistic mediums. Notably, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi named “Ein” appeared as a main character in the popular anime series “Cowboy Bebop,” showcasing the breed’s intelligence and agility.

The breed’s popularity has fluctuated over the years, and at one point, the Cardigan was considered one of the most endangered dog breeds in the UK. However, dedicated breed enthusiasts and responsible breeders have worked to preserve the breed and promote its many attributes.

Today, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi continues to be cherished for its versatility, intelligence, and affectionate nature. While they may no longer be as prevalent in herding roles, they have found success in various canine sports and has endeared themselves to pet owners worldwide as a loyal and loving companion.

Parent Club

The official parent club for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi in the United States is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America (CWCCA). Founded in 1945, the CWCCA is dedicated to promoting the well-being and breed standard of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi through education, responsible breeding practices, and various breed-related events.

You can visit the club’s webpage to find valuable information on the breed, upcoming events, and resources for Cardigan enthusiasts.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

cardigan welsh corgi puppy lying on grass
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Thinking about introducing a Cardigan Welsh Corgi to your family? Kickstart with gathering a comfy bed, balanced diet, fun toys, grooming tools for their dense coat, and locating a reliable vet.

If your mind is set on buying, it’s crucial to go with a reputable breeder for a healthy, well-socialized pup. But why not consider rescue? Many Cardigans in shelters are eager to share their playful, devoted nature with a loving home. The American Kennel Club and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America can help guide you through this fulfilling process.

Whether you adopt or buy, you’re inviting more than just a pet. You’re welcoming a lively, loyal friend into your life. With a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, every day is an adventure filled with activity, companionship, and the joy of having a dog that’s as protective as it is affectionate!


What is the difference between the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi?

The main differences between the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi include size, body shape, ear shape, and tail. Cardigans are generally larger, have a longer body, more rounded ears, and a long, bushy tail. Pembrokes are smaller, have a shorter body, more pointed ears, and a naturally short or docked tail.

Are Cardigan Welsh Corgis expensive?

The cost of a Cardigan Welsh Corgi can vary depending on factors such as the breeder’s reputation, location, and the puppy’s lineage. On average, the price for a well-bred Cardigan Welsh Corgi from a reputable breeder ranges from $1,000 to $2,500.

Are Cardigan Welsh Corgis cuddly?

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are known for their affectionate and loving nature. They enjoy spending time with their family members and often form strong bonds with their owners. While they may not be as demanding of physical affection as some other breeds, they do enjoy cuddling and being close to their loved ones.

How smart are Cardigan Welsh Corgis?

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are highly intelligent dogs, known for their quick learning abilities and problem-solving skills. This intelligence, combined with their strong work ethic and eagerness to please, makes them highly trainable and well-suited for various canine sports and activities.

How much exercise do Cardigan Welsh Corgis need?

Cardigan Welsh Corgis require at least 45 minutes to an hour of daily exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. This can include walks, play sessions, and engaging in canine sports such as agility, obedience, rally, or herding trials.

Are Cardigan Welsh Corgis good with children?

Cardigan Welsh Corgis typically get along well with children, provided they are socialized and introduced to them early on. They are known for their patience, loyalty, and affectionate nature, making them suitable companions for families. However, it’s important to teach children how to interact appropriately with dogs and always supervise interactions between dogs and young children.

Do Cardigan Welsh Corgis shed a lot?

Cardigan Welsh Corgis have a double coat that sheds moderately throughout the year, with heavier shedding occurring during seasonal changes. Regular brushing can help minimize shedding and keep their coat healthy. It’s essential to be prepared for some level of shedding if you decide to welcome a Cardigan Welsh Corgi into your home.

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