Cardigan Welsh corgis can be extremely loyal family dogs. They are able to live in a variety of settings, from apartments to farms. For their size, however, they need a surprising amount of daily physical and mental stimulation. Cardigans are a very versatile breed and a wonderful family companion.
Pembrokes and Cardigans first appeared together in dog shows in 1925 when they were shown under the rules of The Kennel Club in Britain. The Corgi Club was founded in December, 1925 in Carmarthen in South Wales. It is reported that the local members favored the Pembroke breed, so a club for Cardigan enthusiasts was founded a year later (1926). Both groups have worked hard to ensure the appearance and type of breed are standardized through careful selective breeding. Pembrokes and Cardigans were officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1928 and were lumped together under the heading Welsh Corgis. In 1934, the two breeds were recognized individually and shown separately.
Cardigans are said to originate from the Teckel family of dogs, which also produced Dachshunds. They are among the oldest of all herding breeds, believed to have been in existence in Wales for over 3,000 years.
There is an old folktale that says that Queen Victoria was traveling down a country road one day until her carriage came up on a fallen tree branch. While wondering how she would get across, a fairy came out of nowhere and, in order to assist the queen, produced two corgis out of thin air. One was the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the other the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The two Corgis moved the tree for the queen, and they say that is why the breed is currently prized by the Queen of England.
Another old folktale features a Cardigan Welsh Corgi battling an ancient dragon.
Cardigans have never had the same popularity as Pembrokes, probably due to the influence of the Royal family. However they have found their own place in many parts of the world. Cardigan Welsh corgis can compete in dog sports also known as dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events.
Originally used only as a farm guardian, they eventually took on the traits of a cattle drover, herder, and many more. They are still highly valued for their herding, working, and guarding skills, as well as their companionship.
In terms of breeding, a litter usually contains 4 to 6 pups. Litter size can vary though, from much smaller, to much larger.
The Cardigan is a long, low dog with upright ears and a fox brush tail. The old American Kennel Club standard called it an "Alsatian on short legs". The Cardigan's tail is long (unlike the Pembroke Welsh corgi, whose tail may be long,naturally bobbed or docked). Cardigans come in a variety of colors including any shade of red, sable, or brindle, as well as black, with or without tan, brindle or blue merle, with or without tan or brindle points. Other unofficial colors can occur, such as red merle, but these colors are not considered acceptable per the Cardigan standard. They usually have white on the neck, chest, legs, muzzle, underneath, tip of the tail and as a blaze on the head, known as the "Irish pattern." Other markings include ticking on the legs and muzzle, smutty muzzles and monk's hoods, especially on sables (a pattern of darker tipped hairs over a basic red coat color.. An average Cardigan is around 10.5 to 13 inches (260 to 315 mm) tall at the withers and weighs from 30 to 38 lb. (13.6 to 17.2 kg) for the male and 25 to 34 lb. (11.3 to 15.4 kg) for the female.
Originally bred for farm work, including herding sheep and cattle. Cardigan Welsh corgis were bred long and low to make sure that any kicks by cattle would travel safely over the dogs' heads without touching them. Known as "a big dog in a small package,"
Cardigans are highly intelligent, active, athletic dogs.
Housepet They have proven themselves as excellent companion animals, Cardigans are affectionate, devoted companions that can also be alert and responsible guardians. If socialized at a young age, they can be nice with other dogs and housepets. Some Cardigan corgis are 'one-man dogs'.
Guard Dogs Cardigans are typically excellent watchdogs, as they are highly alert to the approach of strangers to their territory, and will be very vocal until they and/or their owner are assured that the stranger poses no threat. They tend to be wary of strangers and to reserve their affection for a select few with whom they are familiar.
Use as working dogs
Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Corgis exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.
UK Kennel Club survey puts the average life span of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi at 11.7 years. The most common causes of death for the breed were cancer (28.3%), old age (24.6%), and neurological disorders (15.2%).
^Hytönen et al (2008), "Ancestral T-Box mutation is present in many, but not all, short-tailed dog breeds", Journal of Heredity, Advance Access published online on October 14, 2008, doi:10.1093/jhered/esn085