The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is renowned for his adaptability, athleticism and hardiness. Bred for work in the hills of Cardiganshire, Wales, the Cardigan’s chest was developed deep for large heart and lung capacities. His legs were developed short, but don’t misjudge him: He’s tough, capable and (surprise!) speedy.
Ancestors of the Cardigan migrated to Wales with Celt warriors thousands of years ago. Cardigans needed great strength in temperament as well as physicality to control livestock.
Originally a genetic mutation, the Cardigan’s dwarfism is called chondrodysplasia. As a herding dog, his short legs became an asset. His low height allowed him to dodge and avoid cattle kicks.
Early Cardigans moved the owner’s cattle to grazing land and kept trespassing cattle off the owner’s property. Farmers also used Cardigans for companionship, general farm work, protection and vermin hunting.
Still busy today
These days, only a few Cardigans are employed moving livestock, but they all thrive keeping busy. Intelligent and biddable (albeit sometimes independent thinkers!), they take honors in dog sports such as obedience, tracking, herding, rally, agility and barn hunt. At home, daily walks, focused training sessions and activities such as ball chasing keep the Cardigan healthy and satisfied. The Cardigan adapts well to urban settings and apartment living, as long as he’s exercised regularly.
Cardigans show reserve with strangers outside the home. Around their own property, Cardigans enthusiastically wear the watchdog cap. The breed, ever vigilant, has no interest in topping any Quiet Dog list. Yes, he tends to bark alarms!
Cardigans do well with animals in their own household, but they may push strange animals around. After all, the Cardigan’s ancestors were taught specifically to chase stray animals off the property. And let’s not mince words: Herding breeds are characteristically bossy!