Cardigan Welsh Corgi Dog

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Dog

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Introduction

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, also known as the Cardi, the Kergi, the Cardigan, the Corgi and the CWC, is the older of the two Welsh Corgi breeds and is the one with a tail and slightly larger, rounder and wider-set ears. The other, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, is naturally tail-less. The word "corgi" is Celtic for "dog." The Cardigan is a powerful, handsome and intelligent dog capable of both speed and stamina. It is even-tempered, loyal, affectionate and highly adaptable. Cardigans make terrific family dogs, watch and guard dogs and can get along well with children and other animals if well-socialized from an early age. Corgis are not naturally aggressive but can be wary of strangers. They tend to bond most closely with their primary owner and may be considered a one-person companion. Cardis are extremely energetic, muscular and strong and need continual mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom. These agile dogs love learning new tricks and excel at all types of canine competition.
The average Cardigan Welsh Corgi should stand between 10½ and 12½ inches at the withers when standing naturally. The ideal length-to-height ratio is 1.8 to 1, measured from the point of the breast bone to the rear of the hip, and from the ground to the point of the withers. Males should weigh between 30 and 38 pounds; bitches from 25 to 34 pounds. Overall balance is considered paramount, with dogs oversized or undersized being seriously faulted. Their dense double coat can come in almost any color and is slightly harsh in texture, but should never be wiry, curly or silky.

History & Health

History

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest dog breeds from the British Isles. It reportedly came to the Welsh high country now known as Cardiganshire with the warrior Celts from central Europe in about 1200 B.C. The village of Bronant in Mid-Cardiganshire became a stronghold of those early Celts, who prized their dogs for their vigilance, intelligence, guarding ability and companionability. Corgis also were especially adept at flushing out game. The most highly valued occupation of this stout breed came hundreds of years later, but still hundreds of years ago, when the British Crown owned virtually all land and poor tenant farmers were only allowed to fence off a few acres surrounding their home for personal use. The rest of the land was "common," where farmers could graze their cattle – the primary source of their income – on such pasture as they could secure. Competition for farmland was fierce. The little Cardigan Welsh Corgi was trained to do exactly the opposite of what herding dogs do: it was taught to nip at the heels of its owner's cattle and drive them far afield. It also would drive neighboring cattle off of land its owners wanted to graze. Either way, the Corgi's tasks was the same: a whistle from its owner would send the dog off to find and nip at cattle, regardless of who they belonged to, and it would persist in the chase endlessly, as long as he heard that whistle. The Cardigan's low-slung body type, with disproportionately short legs and a long body, made it particularly skilled at darting between and avoiding the well-aimed kicks of angry cattle, classifying it as a "heeler." When the task was accomplished to the owner's satisfaction, he would give a shrill, long whistle of a different tone, and the dog would reliably return.
Despite the absence of official stud books, the Celts and then their early Welsh descendants bred their dogs with meticulous care. No breeding was consummated without focused and selective consideration of the attributes of both sire and dam, to ensure that the offspring would be proficient workers. Once the crown lands were divided and sold to the tenant farmers, fences were put up surrounding large properties, and the need for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi as a cattle-nipper waned. Some of the hill farmers still kept Corgis as guardians and companions, but that was a luxury few could afford. The original Corgis of Mid-Cardiganshire became exceedingly rare and were replaced by the red herder and the brindle herder. Eventually, the remaining Corgis were crossed with the red herder, which proved an unsuccessful cross. However, the cross of the Corgi and the brindle herder was successful in retaining the structure and stamina of the Corgi but adding the color and slightly finer coat of the brindle herder. Today's Cardigan Welsh Corgi descends from the old Bronant Corgi with the slight infusion of brindle herder blood. Today's heelers descend from that original cross, which was then crossed with the Collie.
In England, the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis were considered one breed divided into two types and were allowed to interbreed until 1927, when the Crufts Kennel Club listed them as two distinct types. In 1934, they were fully recognized as two separate breeds. Mrs. Robert Bole, of Boston, Massachusetts, imported the first pair of Cardigan Welsh Corgis to the United States in June 1931. The breed was admitted to American Kennel Club registration in 1935 as a member of the Herding Group. Corgi's are described as being tough-as-nails and a big dog in a little dog's body.

Health

The breed has an average life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years. Breed health concerns may include glaucoma, intervertebral disk disease, progressive retinal atrophy and obesity. This is a particularly hearty breed.

Temperament & Personality

Personality

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi my be small, but they pack a lot of dog into a little body. Originally used to herd cattle and hunt rodents in Cardiganshire, Wales; Corgiw were strong working dogs that took their jobs seriously. They would nip the heels of the cattle, and their small bodies enabled them to avoid being kicked. Today, the Corgi is still used on farms and ranches, but is also an energetic family companion. They are good with other pets, make reliable watchdogs, and are trustworthy around children. Corgis have a mind of their own but still have a desire to please people. They pack a large personality, which varies from clownish and attention seeking, to thoughtful and introspective.

Activity Requirements

Despite their high energy level, Cardigan Welsh Corgis only need a moderate amount of exercise to keep them happy. They are adaptable, and can happily dwell on a ranch, in a home with a yard, in an apartment or condominium. They should be walked daily, and if they don't have a yard to play in at home, should be allowed to run in a park at least once a week.
Despite their need for moderate exercise, Cardigans need a lot of mental stimulation. As with other breeds who have roots as farm dogs, they like to stay busy. They excel in agility training and advanced obedience. If not properly exercised physically and mentally, Corgis can become anxious and destructive when left alone.

Trainability

Cardigans are strong willed – they like to be in charge and will resist a hard-nosed trainer. They prefer to do things on their own time, so a lot of patience is required when training this breed. Positive reinforcement and lots of treats will ensure a responsive Cardigan. Once consistent leadership is established, Cardigans take well to training and enjoy learning new tasks.
After beginning obedience training is complete, Cardigans should graduate to advanced training and if possible, involved in tracking and agility classes. This is one "old dog" that likes to learn new tricks, and training should continue throughout their lives.

Behavioral Traits

Cardigans, like other farm dogs, are excellent watchdogs. They sound the alarm that uninvited people or animals are on the horizon, which can get out of hand if not nipped in the bud at an early age. Proper socialization is important, so that the Cardigan Welsh Corgi doesn't become mistrustful of all strangers. They will also bark if left alone for long periods of time, so apartment and condo dwellers should take this into consideration before adopting a Cardigan.
While they get along fine with children, Cardigans can exhibit dominance over small children, and they have been known to attempt to herd groups of kids. Because their herding behavior involves the nipping of heels, playtime should always be supervised.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
Low set with moderately heavy bone and deep chest. Overall silhouette long in proportion to height, culminating in a low tail set and fox-like brush. General Impression--A handsome, powerful, small dog, capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdily built but not coarse.

Size, Proportion, Substance
Overall balance is more important than absolute size. Dogs and bitches should be from 10.5 to 12.5 inches at the withers when standing naturally. The ideal length/height ratio is 1.8:1 when measuring from the point of the breast bone (prosternum) to the rear of the hip (ischial tuberosity) and measuring from the ground to the point of the withers. Ideally, dogs should be from 30 to 38 pounds; bitches from 25 to 34 pounds. Lack of overall balance, oversized or undersized are serious faults.

Head
The head should be refined in accordance with the sex and substance of the dog. It should never appear so large and heavy nor so small and fine as to be out of balance with the rest of the dog. Expression alert and gentle, watchful, yet friendly. Eyes medium to large, not bulging, with dark rims and distinct corners. Widely set. Clear and dark in harmony with coat color. Blue eyes (including partially blue eyes), or one dark and one blue eye permissible in blue merles, and in any other coat color than blue merle are a disqualification. Ears large and prominent in proportion to size of dog. Slightly rounded at the tip, and of good strong leather. Moderately wide at the base, carried erect and sloping slightly forward when alert. When erect, tips are slightly wide of a straight line drawn from the tip of the nose through the center of the eye. Small and/or pointed ears are serious faults. Drop ears are a disqualification.

Skull--Top moderately wide and flat between the ears, showing no prominence of occiput, tapering towards the eyes. Slight depression between the eyes. Cheeks flat with some chiseling where the cheek meets the foreface and under the eye. There should be no prominence of cheekbone. Muzzle from the tip of the nose to the base of the stop should be shorter than the length of the skull from the base of the stop to the high point of the occiput, the proportion being about three parts muzzle to five parts skull; rounded but not blunt; tapered but not pointed. In profile the plane of the muzzle should parallel that of the skull, but on a lower level due to a definite but moderate stop.

Nose black, except in blue merles where black noses are preferred but butterfly noses are tolerated. A nose other than solid black in any other color is a disqualification. Lips fit cleanly and evenly together all around. Jaws strong and clean. Underjaw moderately deep and well formed, reaching to the base of the nose and rounded at the chin. Teeth strong and regular. Scissors bite preferred; i.e., inner side of upper incisors fitting closely over outer side of lower incisors. Overshot, undershot, or wry bite are serious faults.

Neck, Topline, Body
Neck moderately long and muscular without throatiness. Well developed, especially in males, and in proportion to the dog's build. Neck well set on; fits into strong, well shaped shoulders. Topline level. Body long and strong. Chest moderately broad with prominent breastbone. Deep brisket, with well sprung ribs to allow for good lungs. Ribs extending well back. Loin- short, strong, moderately tucked up. Waist well defined. Croup-Slight downward slope to the tail set.
Tail- set fairly low on body line and reaching well below hock. Carried low when standing or moving slowly, streaming out parallel to ground when at a dead run, lifted when excited, but never curled over the back. High tail set is a serious fault.

Forequarters
The moderately broad chest tapers to a deep brisket, well let down between the forelegs. Shoulders slope downward and outward from the withers sufficiently to accommodate desired rib-spring. Shoulder blade (scapula) long and well laid back, meeting upper arm (humerus) at close to a right angle. Humerus nearly as long as scapula. Elbows should fit close, being neither loose nor tied. The forearms (ulna and radius) should be curved to fit spring of ribs. The curve in the forearm makes the wrists (carpal joints) somewhat closer together than the elbows. The pasterns are strong and flexible. Dewclaws removed.
The feet are relatively large and rounded, with well filled pads. They point slightly outward from a straight-ahead position to balance the width of the shoulders. This outward point is not to be more than 30 degrees from center line when viewed from above. The toes should not be splayed.
The correct Cardigan front is neither straight nor so crooked as to appear unsound. Overall, the bone should be heavy for a dog of this size, but not so heavy as to appear coarse or reduce agility. Knuckling over, straight front, fiddle front are serious faults.

Hindquarters
Well muscled and strong, but slightly less wide than shoulders. Hipbone (pelvis) slopes downward with the croup, forming a right angle with the femur at the hip socket. There should be moderate angulation at stifle and hock. Hocks well let down. Metatarsi perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Dewclaws removed. Feet point straight ahead and are slightly smaller and more oval than front. Toes arched. Pads well filled.
Overall, the hindquarters must denote sufficient power to propel this low, relatively heavy herding dog efficiently over rough terrain.

Coat
Medium length but dense as it is double. Outer hairs slightly harsh in texture; never wiry, curly or silky. Lies relatively smooth and is weather resistant. The insulating undercoat is short, soft and thick. A correct coat has short hair on ears, head, the legs; medium hair on body; and slightly longer, thicker hair in ruff, on the backs of the thighs to form "pants," and on the underside of the tail. The coat should not be so exaggerated as to appear fluffy. This breed has a shedding coat, and seasonal lack of undercoat should not be too severely penalized, providing the hair is healthy. Trimming is not allowed except to tidy feet and, if desired, remove whiskers. Soft guard hairs, uniform length, wiry, curly, silky, overly short and/or flat coats are not desired. A distinctly long or fluffy coat is an extremely serious fault.

Color
All shades of red, sable and brindle. Black with or without tan or brindle points. Blue merle (black and gray; marbled) with or without tan or brindle points. There is no color preference. White flashings are usual on the neck (either in part or as a collar), chest, legs, muzzle, underparts, tip of tail and as a blaze on head. White on the head should not predominate and should never surround the eyes. Any color other than specified and/or body color predominantly white are disqualifications.

Gait
Free and smooth. Effortless. Viewed from the side, forelegs should reach well forward when moving at a trot, without much lift, in unison with driving action of hind legs. The correct shoulder assembly and well fitted elbows allow for a long free stride in front. Viewed from the front, legs do not move in exact parallel planes, but incline slightly inward to compensate for shortness of leg and width of chest. Hind legs, when trotting, should reach well under body, move on a line with the forelegs, with the hocks turning neither in nor out, and in one continuous motion drive powerfully behind, well beyond the set of the tail. Feet must travel parallel to the line of motion with no tendency to swing out, cross over, or interfere with each other. Short choppy movement, rolling or high-stepping gait, close or overly wide coming or going, are incorrect. This is a herding dog which must have the agility, freedom of movement, and endurance to do the work for which he was developed.

Temperament
Even-tempered, loyal, affectionate, and adaptable. Never shy nor vicious.

Disqualifications
Blue eyes, or partially blue eyes, in any coat color other than blue merle.
Drop ears.
Nose other than solid black except in blue merles.
Any color other than specified.
Body color predominantly white.

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