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Will a Corgi Be Good with My Cats? Training & Socialization Tips

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Kristin Hitchcock

Will a Corgi Be Good with My Cats? Training & Socialization Tips

Corgis can be good with cats if they are properly socialized together. However, this match can be a bit challenging, as Corgis have herding instincts. They were originally bred as herding dogs; that’s why they have small legs. Their smaller legs prevented them from being kicked by cattle, while their stout bodies still made them plenty sturdy. However, when kept as a companion animal, they can try to herd everything—including cats.

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Corgis Are Herding Dogs

Like many herding animals, a Corgi’s primary method of herding is to stare intently at whatever animal they’re herding. Of course, if it tries this with your cat, your feline is going to feel quite uncomfortable and probably not react the same way a cow would. Secondly, when the cat doesn’t react as expected, the Corgi may snap at them in an attempt to move them in the “correct direction.”

The cat will likely respond negatively to this behavior, as you’d imagine. In many cases, the cat will run, which may lead to the Corgi chasing it. In other cases, a fight may ensue, especially if your cat is larger. Corgis aren’t that large, and many cats may think that they can take them.

Sadly, herding instincts are innate to a Corgi and cannot be trained out. Corgis will always attempt to herd small, moving targets, which can include cats and children. Luckily, their instincts aren’t as strong as some other herding dogs, so they can sometimes live alongside cats without much of a problem.

In the end, it varies from dog to dog and requires significant socialization. If you’re starting with a puppy, you’re much more likely to end up with a peaceful cat-and-dog relationship. However, if your dog is older and not properly socialized with cats, you’ll likely have a harder time. Luckily, socialization can occur with even older dogs, but you must start slowly and carefully.

welsh corgi dogs and british longhair cat on sofa at home
Image By: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Are Corgis Safe with Cats?

Corgis can be safe with cats. However, it depends a lot on their socialization. Working-line Corgis tend to have stronger instincts, as they are bred for their herding instincts alone. On the other hand, show-line Corgis aren’t typically used for herding in real-world situations, so they tend to have watered-down instincts. If you want a companion Corgi, a show-line Corgi may seem like a good idea, but you do have to be cautious about health issues.

Because show-line dogs are bred for aesthetic traits, health issues can become more common. Ranchers don’t want a Corgi with any sort of health issue, but health problems are much easier to ignore when the dog is kept in a home (so much so that they may go unnoticed for generations). The difference between different lines isn’t so obvious with Corgis, but it does exist.

You should introduce your Corgi to your cat as early as possible. You want your Corgi puppy around cats regularly if you expect them to behave properly. If the dog grows up understanding the cat as a family member, they may be less likely to herd the cat later (though this is by no means fool-proof).

You should never leave your Corgi and cat alone unattended. You never know when one of them is going to get fed up with the other, and minor irritations can flare into huge problems. If you’re watching, you can intervene before things get out of hand.

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How Do I Stop My Corgi from Chasing the Cat?

Sadly, dogs chasing cats isn’t all that uncommon. When faced with opposition, most cats’ first instinct is to run and hide. When dogs see a small animal moving, their first instinct (usually) is to chase it. This pair of instincts just don’t mesh well when you’re trying to have a peaceful household.

However, Corgis are pretty smart and can be trained not to chase cats in most situations.

Socialization

Socialization is the first step to this. The dog needs to be used to cats to some extent. If your dog locks eyes with a cat every time one enters the room, they likely haven’t been around cats enough and a slower introduction needs to happen. If the cat is too “new,” your dog will focus very intently on the cat, which will make the cat feel uncomfortable.

Of course, when the cat is uncomfortable, they will probably run and attempt to hide. This only kicks the dog’s instinct to chase in, especially since they are already focused intently on the cat.

For this reason, it is vital to get your dog well-socialized with your cat. You can do this very slowly by introducing the dog to the cat while on a leash. The cat should have their own room where they feel safe. Once a day or so, put your dog on a leash and slowly open the door. Open it a tiny crack at first and wait until your dog breaks their attention away from the cat (or even just the door, if the cat cannot be seen yet). When they do so, give them a treat.

Continue with this process by opening the door more and more as your dog quits paying attention to the cat. Eventually, you can move the dog into the room. Provide treats whenever your dog stops paying attention to the cat. At some point, your dog will learn that the cat isn’t all that interesting.

corgi looking at the two cats
Image By: JumpStory

Training

Many dogs will continue to chase cats even when they are properly socialized. Luckily, there are many ways to interrupt this behavior and prevent potential injuries.

The easiest way to accomplish this task is to teach your dog the “leave it” command. Some owners teach this command with food, but you can use it on any object you don’t want your dog paying attention to.

First, put your dog in a sitting position. Then, place a treat in your hand and clearly show it to your dog. Close your fist around the treat and put it next to your face. Wait for your dog to look from the treat-filled hand and to your eyes; then, say “leave it” and reward your dog with a different treat. Once you go over this a few times, you can begin saying “leave it” and rewarding your dog when they look away from the treat.

Once your dog gets pretty good at the command, make the challenge more difficult by moving your hand further and further away from your face. Next, use an open hand instead of a closed fist. Finally, you want to work on dropping food on the ground. Once your dog can successfully ignore dropped food on command, they should be able to stop chasing the cat on command.

Of course, this does mean you can’t leave your cat and dog unsupervised. We don’t recommend doing this anyway, even for dogs that never chase cats. Dogs of all sorts have a prey drive, which may kick in at any minute. Therefore, it isn’t safe to leave these two pets alone together. Your dog needs someone there to give them the “leave it” command when necessary.

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Conclusion

Corgis can get along with cats in some situations, but they aren’t the best dog breed for households with existing cats. Corgis have herding instincts that often apply to any small animal (or even a child). Therefore, your Corgi may try to herd your cat, which often leads to chasing.

These instincts don’t mean that your Corgi cannot be kept with a cat at all. However, you should expect to socialize the dog properly and provide some training. Often, getting a puppy with an existing cat is easier, as it allows for easier socialization. Plus, you can get the dog properly trained before they’re large enough to hurt the cat.


Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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