The Cardigan Welsh Corgi temperament makes dogs of this breed playful and devoted family dogs. This is a small dog with a big personality that’s fun to live with.
The Cardigan is one of two breeds of Welsh Corgis. (The other is the more popular Pembroke Welsh Corgi.)
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi (often called the Cardigan or Cardi) is flexible in the role you want him to play. He can be a watchdog if you need him to be, but he can also be a loving family dog.
He is not without his challenges, though. The Cardigan can also be a territorial dog who needs constant socialization to get over his initial distrust of other people and animals.
He also needs firm and early training due to his sometimes-bossy, herding-dog nature.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Temperament and Personality
This intelligence makes him easy to train, though you will need to start early and be prepared to work on some behaviors throughout your Cardi’s life.
This breed has worked independently herding livestock for centuries. Their natural instinct is to make decisions on their own and to have other creatures obey them (not the other way around!).
So they can be stubborn, like most herding dogs. You’ll want to tackle this issue early in your Cardi’s training.
Cardigans may be suspicious of you at first, but once they get to know you, they’ll love you like the family you are. The Cardi is a devoted dog who will reward you with unconditional loyalty.
He is also very affectionate and likes to express that to his human family members.
Because he's so companionable, the Cardigan makes a perfect house pet. He is a cheerful dog who loves kids (though he needs to be supervised with very young ones, as we’ll see). He also gets along well with other pets in his home.
The Cardigan forms very strong bonds with his family members. He wants to be with his people all the time. He hates to be left alone and is prone to separation anxiety.
The Cardigan temperament makes for a great watchdog. He is always alert to what is going on in his environment. He will bark whenever he senses a stranger or anything that he considers a threat to his family.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi has a playful temperament. They are great playmates for kids and will also interact happily with cats and dogs they are raised with.
This playfulness is at the heart of the Cardigan’s big personality. They will even act clownish at times to get their humans’ attention. The Cardi wants to be noticed!
Originally bred for farm work, this dog loves to be busy. Ideally, he would have a regular job to do.
The Cardigan is a fast, agile dog. His deep chest gives him lots of lung power, which he needs as a cattle-herding dog. He is also graceful and fast—much faster than he appears. This breed does very well in agility and other canine sports.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi temperament can be downright bossy. After all, they were bred to order livestock around. For that job, they needed to be tough and in charge.
Good training can help to minimize this behavior. You will need to establish early that you are the boss, or your Corgi will assume that responsibility by default. He’s smart enough to know that someone needs to be in charge.
Though most Cardis will get along well with other pets they’ve grown up with, they may not do so well with unfamiliar animals. Their guardian instinct leads them to see a stray animal as a threat, so they’re likely to challenge them and try to chase them away.
A Cardigan is equally content to live on a farm or in a small apartment, as long he gets enough exercise and attention.
He is easy to get along with, no matter what you want to do. He’s just as happy playing ball in the yard or watching television with you in the house. Again, if his exercise needs are met, he’s happy to follow your lead.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi vs. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Cardigan Corgi is an older breed than the Pembroke. Both breeds have the long back and short legs that Corgis are known for.
But the Cardigan is larger-boned and a little larger overall than the Pembroke. The Cardigan is sometimes called “the Corgi with a tail” because the Pembroke usually doesn’t have one.
The Cardigan’s ears are also a little larger than the Pembroke’s, and they are set wider apart. They also can have rounded tips, where the Pembroke’s are more pointed.
Both types have double coats that are weather-resistant, but they come in different colors.
The people of Wales have always loved their Corgis (which were considered one breed until recently in their history). To them, the Corgi is a magical creature. There is a delightful Welsh myth that the Corgi is “the enchanted dog of the fay [fairies].”
According to the legend, elves and fairies used Corgis to pull their carriages and rode on them into battle. Those with a kind heart were said to be able to see the faint fairy saddle on their backs and the harness straps on their shoulders.
Another legend has it that the first pair of Corgis was given as a gift from the woodland fairies to two human children.
As for the more earthbound, some say the name Corgi means “dwarf dog” (or “dog of the dwarves”) in Welsh. Others believe it means “cur dog,” which in that earlier time meant a working dog kept by the common people as opposed to the lapdogs the nobility enjoyed.
Historians aren’t sure how the Corgi came to Wales, but all of the theories are colorful: by Celts (in 1200-1100 BC), Vikings (in the 800s), or Flemish weavers from Belgium (in the 1100s).
Any of these origins would make the Corgi one of the oldest breeds in the UK.
Again, for most of its long history, the Welsh Corgi was considered to be one breed. The Cardigan first emerged in 1925 with his cousin, the Pembroke, at a British dog show. Later that year, an organization calling itself The Corgi Club formed in South Wales.
When local members showed a preference for the Pembroke, Cardigan enthusiasts created their own club the following year to advocate for the breed.
In 1928, the English Kennel Club grouped both breeds together under the more general label of Welsh Corgi.
In 1934, the English Kennel Club gave the breeds back their individuality by recognizing them as separate breeds once again.
The first pair of Cardis was brought to America in 1931 by Mrs. Benjamin Patterson Bole of Ohio. Beginning with that initial pair of Cardigans, named Cadno and Cassie, she became the first known Cardigan Welsh Corgi breeder in the US.
In 1935, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Corgi as two separate breeds.
The History of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Cardi was named after the region of Wales called Cardiganshire. The Cardi is the older of the two Corgi breeds, though both breeds have similar histories.
Dog historians believe that the Cardigan Welsh Corgi came from the Terkel family of dogs, the same family that the Dachshund belongs to. This explains the short legs and long back of the Cardi.
Some also believe that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi may have been created through early cross-breeding of these Spitz types with the Cardigan.
The working history of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is pretty impressive. Over the centuries, they have worked as cattle, pig, and goose drivers and herders; livestock guardian dogs; gundogs for furred and feathered animals; ratters; and family guard dogs.
Initially, cattle owners used the Corgi to lead the cattle to market, so they worked in front of the herds.
At some point, the cattle owners realized that the Corgi was even better suited to herding. His long, low body made it possible for him to nip at the heels of the livestock to direct them while avoiding kicks from the cows.
He’s also fast, agile, and self-confident (also known as bossy!), all traits that an excellent herding dog must-have.
Cardis also made great all-around farm dogs. UK tenant farmers found them extremely valuable at a time when the Crown owned the majority of the land and farmers were allowed to farm small pieces of it.
Today the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is still used as herding dogs in some places. But he is now much more likely to be a family companion dog.
In recent years, the UK’s Kennel Club has added the Cardigan Welsh Corgi to its list of vulnerable breeds. This means that the breed has had fewer than 300 registered dogs per year.
The Cardi has been on this list for at least the past nine years. In 2017, a total of 141 Cardis were registered, and in 2018 there were only 147.
How to Train the Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is easy to train. He’s intelligent and eager to please. There are a few training challenges, though, with the Cardi.
The cardigan is known to bark excessively, but this is not nuisance barking. He tends to take his protective instincts very seriously. He can be hyperalert as to what’s going on in his environment and will sound the alarm at the smallest disturbance.
Training him to understand the appropriate times to bark will calm him down so that he doesn't think everything is a threat. But this is an ingrained behavior for a herding dog, so you may never eliminate it completely.
The Cardigan does well with large or small animals and older children, so long as you raise them together.
However, he has a herding instinct, so he may try to herd animals and small children. If you bring your Corgi to the beach or a pool party, don’t be surprised if he gets agitated and runs back and forth, barking loudly as he tries to herd the humans out of the water.
You need to teach him that while herding is good for farm living, it's not necessary for the home (or at the beach!). And some Corgis may not be great choices for families with very small children because of his herding behavior of nipping at heels.
Also due to the herding instinct, some Cardigans may act more stubborn and independent. This is because their ancestors had to stand up for themselves against the large animals they were trying to herd.
This is another bad habit that you can train out of him, and not every Cardigan does it.
The Cardigan also likes to get his master's attention, whether by clowning around or doing things to put him in the spotlight.
Sometimes this results in bad behavior like, “Look at me! I have your slipper!” Gently scold him when he acts up and reward him with praise and a treat when he does well.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
We can’t stress enough the importance of frequent socialization of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi at an early age.
In fact, of the two Welsh Corgis, the Pembroke is the socialite; the Cardigan needs more convincing.
Socialize him early and often, and continue to socialize him over the course of his lifetime. This will make him a consistently happy dog.
Take him anywhere and everywhere you are able: parks, around the neighborhood, to pet-friendly stores and beaches, wherever.
You must continue to socialize him over the course of his life to keep up his good habits.
If you find he's standoffish, or that he doesn't take well to socialization, seek a professional trainer for assistance.
Don't just let bad behavior go by excusing it. Correcting it early on will give you a well-adjusted dog for life.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Appearance
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a muscular, sturdy-looking dog. He looks a bit like a fox with his large, erect ears and long, bushy tail. His double coat is coarse and medium in length.
He has a deep chest and very short legs that are a little bowed. He has the long back that gives away his relationship to the Dachshund.
His other most distinguishing feature is his large ears. They stand erect and are set wide apart. The Cardigan’s ears are pointed at the tips.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Size
The average weight for male Cardigan Welsh Corgis is 30 to 38 pounds; for females from 25 to 34 pounds.
Cardigan height is usually from 10-1/2 to 12-1/2 inches for both males and females.
Their overall proportions are important to their work as herders, so the AKC breed standard specifies that they should be nearly twice as long as they are tall.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Colors
There is lot of variety in Cardigan coat colors and patterns. They can be brindle, sable, blue merle (which is actually black or gray marbling), red (which can be golden or brown), or sable. Most will have white markings.
Fluffies and Glamourcoats
Did you know there was such a thing as a “fluffy Corgi?” Every once in a while a Corgi litter will have one or more “fluffies,” which are long-haired Corgis.
This is a recessive gene that both parents have to carry in order to produce a fluffy, so they’re not all that common. It is thought that the gene originally came from the Welsh Collie, which may have interbred with Corgis in their homeland.
Because the fluffy coat is considered less weather-resistant for a working Corgi, the AKC considers it a fault. Even so, there are plenty of fluffy Corgi fans who are not interested in showing their Corgis.
The same is true of another variation in Corgi coats, the so-called Glamourcoats. These are Corgis with coats that are a bit longer and more profuse than the regular coat but still fit within the breed standard. A “glamour coat” is not considered a fault by the AKC.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Health Issues You Should Know About
Cardigan Welsh Corgi dogs tend to be a healthy breed. But there are a few conditions to watch for with Cardigans. They are:
- Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) – a spinal condition that tends to affect small dogs. Corgis are especially vulnerable to this condition because of their long backs.
- Degenerative myelopathy – a degenerative muscular condition that leads to paralysis. Cardigans have been found to carry the gene for this. This disease appears to affect only older Cardis, according to the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America.
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – an eye condition that affects the retina and can lead to blindness. This is also not a Cardigan-specific disease but one that the AKC recommends breeders test for on most breeds.
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Life Expectancy
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi lifespan is, on average, between 12 and 15 years.
Caring for Your Cardigan Welsh Corgi
How to Groom a Cardigan Welsh Corgi?
Cardigans have medium-thick double coats that shed quite a lot. They need to be brushed at least once a week. They do “blow” their coats twice a year and will need to be brushed daily during that time.
Keeping the hair on the bottoms of their feet trimmed neatly will also reduce the amount of dirt they bring inside.
Some Cardigan owners feel they need to have their dogs' coats trimmed for the summer. However, this isn't necessary for most Cardis, as they can regulate their own temperature quite well.
Prolonged exposure to the sun in the hot summer months, however, can have an effect on a dog with a black coat. So Cardigan Welsh Corgi colors may matter. If your dog is mostly black, don't let him stay in the hot sun for too long.
You can find good Do It Yourself (DIY) Grooming Tips Here.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi temperament is adaptable to any level of exercise you want to give him.
Want to go for a long walk or run? He's up for it. Prefer to have a quiet day in, noshing on junk food while lounging on the couch? He's up for that, too! (But the junk food’s for you—not for him!)
You do have to walk him at least once in a while, though. He feels happiest when he is regularly socialized with the neighbors.
You can tell he's getting cabin fever when he does the “zoomies” around the house (which Corgi fans call “frapping”) to burn off energy.
Keep in mind that exercise helps avert potential bad behaviors as well.
If you're not up for a walk one day, playing ball with him is a great substitute.
Just stay away from activities that involve climbing stairs or jumping. These have the potential to cause the Cardigan serious back injuries. Your Cardi should not be allowed on the furniture for the same reason.
Mental Stimulation for your Cardi
Because of his high intelligence and active working dog history, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi needs to be challenged mentally. He gets bored easily, and a bored dog is a destructive dog.
Your Cardi can also have psychological issues as a result of inadequate mental stimulation. Cardigans have been known to shed excessively or develop other illnesses from distress at not getting the attention, activity, or mental challenges that an intelligent dog needs.
The best thing you could do to keep your Cardigan’s mind sharp is to give him a job to do. If you don’t live on a farm, you may want to investigate canine sports. Corgis excel at herding trials (naturally!), agility, obedience, and rally.
Even regularly scheduled games of fetch or Frisbee would help to keep your Cardi’s mind and body exercised and healthy. He would have something to look forward to every day. Trust us—he won’t need an alarm to let you know when it’s time for his game!
Cardi Diet: What to Feed You Cardi?
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is very food-motivated. This is great for training but not so great for your Cardi’s health. Cardigans are known to be prone to obesity.
You will need to be mindful of your Cardigan’s weight throughout his life. He should be fed a good-quality food formulated for his activity level and stage of life.
It’s best to feed your Cardi his daily allotment divided into two meals per day. It’s also important that you limit treats. If your dog will go along with it, try to use kibble from his measured daily meals as training treats.
But if your Cardigan won’t work for his regular food, then be sure to take the calories of his treats into consideration in the amount you feed him daily.
If you’re concerned about your Cardi’s weight, feel his ribs. If you can’t feel them easily with your fingertips, then your dog is most likely overweight.
Because there’s a fine line between healthy weight and obesity in dogs of this size, always check with your vet before making any changes to your Cardigan’s diet.
Finding the Perfect Cardigan Welsh Corgi
So you've decided you'd like to make the Cardigan Welsh Corgi a member of your family. Let’s make it happen!
You can choose to purchase a Cardigan Welsh Corgi for sale from a reputable breeder. Or you can research Cardigan Welsh Corgis for adoption in your local area.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Puppies for Sale
The average Cardigan Welsh Corgi price is anywhere from $600 for a pet-quality Cardigan to $2000 for a pup with championship blood lines and an AKC pedigree.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Rescue and Adoption
If you would like to adopt a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, your first step is to research local rescue organizations and adoption centers.
You will find that the costs involved in adopting from a shelter are significantly less than when you purchase a dog from a breeder.
However, this also means that you are less likely to get a purebred dog and more likely to find a Cardigan Welsh Corgi mix.
There is nothing wrong with a mix. However, it may be difficult to obtain the dog's history if the shelter is unsure of what's in his mix.
This may prove problematic when trying to determine the potential health concerns to be aware of.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breeders
It is so important when choosing a breeder that you do your research ahead of time. You want to be sure you're dealing with a licensed breeder who gives you all the paperwork you need.
If a breeder ever hesitates to answer one of your questions or refuses to let you see the dog's living space, move on.
A good resource to consult is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America. On their website, they list everything from breeders to rescue organizations they recommend.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Cross Breeds
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi has such a unique look that it is often used to develop mixed-breed hybrids. Some of these crosses create very surreal-looking dogs! (Can you picture a German Shepherd with the legs of a Corgi?)
We’ll get you started with a few interesting examples here. A simple Internet search will turn up photos of these and many other Cardigan crosses.
Corgi Pit: Cardigan and American Pit Bull Terrier mix.
Corgi Basset: Cardigan and Basenji mix.
Beagi: Cardigan and Beagle mix.
Cardigan Corman Shepherd: Cardigan and German Shepherd mix.
Borgi: Cardigan and Border Collie mix.
Corgiranian: Cardigan and Pomeranian mix.
A Final Word about the Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi can make a wonderful family dog, but there are some challenging Cardigan Welsh Corgi traits you’ll have to deal with.
Firm obedience training, appropriate exercise, and lifelong socialization are the keys to making the Cardigan Welsh Corgi work for your family.
Luckily, the Cardigan is a very intelligent breed that learns quickly and easily once he decides you’re worthy of having the upper hand.
If you’re willing to be the firm and consistent trainer this breed needs and to provide lifelong socialization opportunities, the playful and devoted Cardigan Welsh Corgi temperament will offer your family years of unconditional love (and just plain fun!) in return.
Kailyn has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2012, and during that time she has written about nearly every dog breed imaginable. Her mother loved Collies, and so Kailyn grew up with three of them throughout her childhood – including a blonde one who was half-blind! Now her home belongs to her first official dog, Macho, a Dogo Argentino rescue.