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February 3, 2012 at 8:17 AMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgi

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Purebred Star Blog Series

Corgis are charming, short, sturdy little dogs with a spirited disposition and an eager work ethic. With their perky ears and wide, grinning smile, Corgi turn heads wherever they go!

According to legend, the Corgi was originally a gift from the forest fairies, and the breed's distinct markings were supposedly left by the fairies' harnesses and saddles. However, the fact of the matter is that the Corgi originated in Wales. There are two types: the Pembroke Welsh Corgi (being the more popular of the two) and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. They are very similar with the primary difference being their size.

They Take Their Job Seriously!

The Corgi was bred to herd cattle and geese by nipping at their heels, as opposed to running circles around them like some other herding breeds. In fact, if charged at, they quickly respond with a nip at the livestock's nose to get them back on track with the group! While you might think their short stature would be a handicap, it actually helps them avoid being kicked when they're hard at work. As such, this breed is known to try herding children and can be extremely nippy with them. If you have young children (under age 10) or other small animals, a Corgi might not be a good match for your family.

I have had a few wonderful opportunities to work with Corgis. They truly live up to their genetic reputation as herding dogs! They NEED a way to exert their abundant energy and use their clever, herding mind, or they can become neurotic. Also - as a herding breed, they enjoy a good game of chase with small children or cats, so extra care of proper socialization is important from a young age. 

Size May Vary

The Pembroke height ranges from 10 to 12 inches and they can weigh from 25 to 30 pounds. The Cardigan is a little larger with an average height between 10.5 to 12.5 inches and a weight between 25 and 38 pounds. They are a hardy and sturdy small to medium size breed!

The most striking thing about a Corgi is their build, which is long and sits low to the ground. However, if that didn't give them away already, you can easily spot a Corgi by their large erect ears! Sometimes their tail can be long and busy; other times it is docked. This is typically dependent on where they come from. Tail-docking has been banned in some countries. As a result, breeders are attempting to breed the short tail characteristic into the breed. Corgis have a soft double-coat that can be medium to long in length and comes in a variety of colors and patterns, such as brindle, red, sable, blue merle, black, fawn, and tan, with or without white markings.

Little Dog, Big Heart

The Corgi is truly a BIG Dog in a small package!! They can be trained easily, and have been described as a fun-loving dog that typically gets along with everyone. Like many small dogs, they CAN have a stubborn streak about them, but overall, they are a very hardworking breed. They're a lot of fun, extremely clever, and exceptionally fast learners.

Little Balls of Energy

The Corgis are considered to have a moderate activity level. They're generally pretty busy-bodied and will require an active family - at least one to two walks a day for about 30 minutes or a good jog for 45 minutes. While walking, the breed can exert their inborn need to herd children on bikes, scooters, and skateboards, so proper training will need to be administered at a very young age. They are a very intelligent breed - not terribly happy to lie around all day. Given this temperament, if left to their own devices, Corgis will find a way to entertain themselves, which can sometimes be destructive. That said, if you're interested in a dog for herding competitions, agility, or flyball, the Corgi would be an excellent choice!

Health Concerns

Health issues to be aware of include Progressive Retinal Atrophy (aka PRA; Vision Loss/Blindness), Canine Hip Dysplasia, Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (Progressive Spinal Cord Disease), Intervertebral Disc Disease (Chronic Back Pain), and Epilepsy. The typical Corgi lifespan is between 12 and 14 years.

Adopt First

As you begin looking for a Corgi, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!

At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.

On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!

Because of their small size, Corgis are great travel companions and a wonderful addition to any adventuresome family.

Does this sound like the dog for you?

Photo Credits:


Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005

More from Health Coach Victoria Swanson Others Are Reading


  • Yes, I have fallen for the charms of this cute breed. :) I told my husband that we HAVE to get this kind of dog once we get to a place that allows pets...then I spent about 5 minutes showing him google images of what this breed looks like. :P

    It's good to know that they are herding dogs, which means I'd really have to devote a lot of time to making sure they get exercise or have a big yard for them to run and play in. That was something I didn't know before reading this blog.

    Thanks for another wonderful purebred star blog, Victoria!

  • Thanks Bri, you won't be disappointed with this breed, they are very lively and fun! And cute to boot too!

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