Original Purpose: Sheepdog
Nowadays: herding dog, companion dog
Lifespan: Long-lived, usually 11-14 years
Energy level: medium-high
The cardigan Welsh corgi is one of two "corgi" breeds. They became two distinct breeds in 1934 when the English Kennel Club approved their breed standards. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi are the oldest breeds in the British Isles. According to legend, they are bewitched dogs. Along the green hills of Wales, they carried food to the fairies and witches, tended their animals, were horses for the little fairies. Even now, a sharp person sees a "magic saddle" on his back. Cor means dwarf and gi means dog. As the Welsh peasants were poor and did not have the strength/possibility to keep different dogs, corgis were used as herding dogs, as farm guard dogs and as companions. Ancient Welsh law provided penalties for injuring or stealing corgis, as the owner's well-being depended on the skill of these little dogs. Corgis are descended from Welsh crested and dachshund and Viking breeds mixed with Cardiganshire hounds. Schipperke and Pomeranian are considered their relatives. Later, however, corgis became home to the counties of Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire in Wales. Originally, corgis were very stout, golden or blue merle in color, often with drooping ears. Corgi shorts are the result of centuries of breeding. A low strong dog is well suited for herding cows on uneven pasture. Short legs give the dog speed and allow it to avoid kicks from cows.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a friendly dog that is rather more active and needs an average level of handling. He certainly does not always run up to every stranger with a happy greeting, rather he can observe from a distance and thus decide what is more expedient for him. He is easy to train, faithful and loyal to his family. However, it must be taken into account that inside a small body is a dog with a very big soul that needs training.
The ideal size for a Welsh corgi cardigan is 30 centimeters (measured from the withers). The dog's weight is 14-16 kg for females, 16-18 kg for males. The breed's recent trend is for the dogs to be noticeably larger and heavier, but this is not something to strive for. It must be remembered that this dog is a herding dog that must be able to do work without injuring itself.
Below is the FCI breed standard with our own explanatory notes in italics.
FCI, Group 1, sheep and herding dogs.
Strong, stocky, mobile and durable. Long compared to the height at the withers. The fox-like tail is in line with the body.
The ratio of muzzle length to skull length is 3:5.
NB! The length of the muzzle and skull is measured in parts as follows: from the tip of the dog's nose to the inner corners of the eyes (there should be 3 parts), from the inner corners of the eyes to the tip of the skull (it should be 5 parts). This is illustrated very well by the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Association of America photos on their website
Behavior and character
Alert, active and intelligent. Balanced, neither timid nor aggressive.
NB! All FCI standards say that dogs must not be timid or aggressive. An aggressive or shy sweater is not common nowadays and therefore it is extremely necessary to avoid it in the future (judge accordingly at shows, not use in breeding). Cardigan must be a dog with a stable temperament.
The head is similar in shape and general impression to that of a fox.
Skull region: The head is wide and flat between the ears. Eyebrows that taper towards the eyes are curved.
Transition from forehead to muzzle: Moderate.
Nose mirror: Black, slightly protruding and by no means blunt.
NB! The nose must always be black. A blue merle can have a "butterfly nose" in a young dog where the nose is not fully colored and has a small pink patch. Mostly they turn black with time, sometimes they don't. A brown/grey nose is not allowed, in this case the dog's coat color is also wrong.
Muzzle : Moderately tapering towards the tip of the nose.
Jaws/teeth: Strong teeth. A correct scissor bite, which means that the upper teeth extend slightly over the lower teeth and come straight out of the jaw. The lower jaw is well defined. Strong but not overwhelming.
Eyes: Medium size, clear. With a friendly, lively and bright expression. Quite wide, the corners of the eyes are clearly defined. Preferably dark or matching coat color. The edges of the sentence are dark. Blue-merle dogs can have light blue, blue or mottled eyes, one eye or both.
NB! The corners of the Cardigan's eyes must be clearly visible, which gives them expression and confirms that they are not round (round eyes can be in Pembrokes).
Ears: Peculiar, quite large compared to the size of the dog. The tip of the ear is quite rounded, the ear stem is moderately wide. The width between the ears is about 8 cm (3.5 inches). The tips of the ears are held on either side of an imaginary straight line drawn from the tip of the nose through the center between the eyes, and the ears are set well back, continuing the flat line of the neck.
NB! Cardigan's ears are always larger than Pembroke's and are also rounded at the tips. Their stance is wider than that of the Pembroke, see how the line drawn in the mind runs from the tip of the nose to the ears in the illustrated standard.
Neck: Muscular, well developed, well proportioned to the dog's constitution. Places on sloping shoulders.
Body: Fairly long and strong.
Waist: With a clearly defined waist.
Chest: Moderately broad, with prominent sternum. The chest is deep and the ribs are well sprung.
Tail: A fox-like tail of medium length forms a natural continuation of the topline. The tail is of moderate length (reaches to the ground or almost to the ground). When standing, the tail is set low, but when moving, it may rise slightly higher. Never bends over the back.
NB! Some more dominant dogs raise their tails when they move, especially when other dogs are around. It should certainly never roll onto its back, but should follow the position of the tail in the normal state of the dog.
With a strong skeleton. The legs are short, still leaving enough space between the body and the ground.
Shoulders: Set well back, forming an angle of about 90 degrees with the upper arm. Muscular.
Elbows: kept close to the body.
Forearms: Slightly curved, following the round shape of the chest.
Front paws: Round, with close toes, rather large and well padded. Slightly turned outwards.
Hind limbs: Strong, with good angles. Thighs and calves are muscular. Strong bones down to the paws. The legs are short. Big toes (heel joints): straight, upright in side and rear view.
Hind feet: Round, fairly large, with close toes and good pads.
NB! It is always known that the front legs of the shirt are turned outwards. Ideally, it would actually be 11 and 1 if you look at the clock. This requires the dog to have a proper ribcage so that the paws are around the ribcage (imagine a chicken egg with the pointed end down).
Gait / Movement: Free and active. Elbows are placed close to the body. Not loose and not too tight. The movement of the forelimbs is extensive, but the legs are not raised too high. The forelimbs move in one rhythm with the strong push of the hind legs.
Coat: Short to medium length, coarse textured coat. Weather resistant, with good undercoat. Preferably straight.
NB! However, it is important to observe the structure of the coat - it must be such that the dog can work in the herd without catching a cold due to the wet coat. Long-haired or fluffy is considered a fault. As a breeder, you can already see it in the puppy mill, and today there are DNA tests for dogs to determine this status.
Color: Allowed colors are blue merle, brindle, red, sable, tricolor with brindle marking and tricolor with red marking. All with or without the above typical white markings on head, neck, chest, "underpants", legs and paws, tip of tail. White should not dominate the body or head, where it should never surround the eye. The nose and eyelids must be black. Liver and "diluted" colors are extremely undesirable.
NB! Allowed colors were introduced into the cardigan standard only with the last standard change. Previously, all colors were allowed as long as the nose was black. Although color is not listed under disqualifying faults in the standard, FCI regulations allow it (also exclude use in breeding).
Size and weight: Ideal height at the withers: 30 cm. The weight must be proportional to the height at the withers. A balanced physique is considered more important in the assessment.
NB! It is important to observe the size of the cardigan. Although the standard does not list the permissible kilograms, a "healthy" weight for a male sweater is probably 16-18 kg, for a female sweater 14-16 kg. You always have to consider that this is a herding dog that should be able to run briskly, jump/turn at high speed all day - without injuring itself. Those who have seen cardigans play vigorous games with each other understand the importance of this.
All deviations from the above requirements must be considered errors, and their assessment must take into account the extent of the specific deviation and its impact on the dog's health, well-being and ability to perform normal work.
- Aggression or excessive timidity.
- All dogs with physical and behavioral disorders will be disqualified.
- Male dogs must have two normally developed testicles fully descended into the scrotum.